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Aya abdallah, ryan hansen, yasmine katkhuda

Camp Urbanism

Migration at large - whether forced or voluntary - physically manifests in what one might term camp urbanism. Camps are an inherently ephemeral urban typology, where logics of time and space are collapsed. While camps are meant to act as non-permanent spaces of shelter, they have often grown increasingly permanent or regulated. Camp Urbanism is the formal typological manifestation of “temporal” structures onto the landscape to accommodate an influx of people and associated objects for a “limited” duration of time often dependent on external factors including war, climate, and capital. At the core of this investigation is the logic of mobility and capital invested or averted, and ultimately the footprint ingrained onto the soil in fluid contexts of migration. Questions of refuge, mobility and migrancy consequently manifest in the discourse around access, policing, and enclosure of bodies, space, and resources. Camps often look like cities from the vantage point of a satellite. This specific tool allows for a temporal study of such urban formations, giving the impressions of ephemeral cities which appear, disappear, and/or instead continue - sometimes organically but other times systematically. Because examples of this urbanism are often organized by top-down stakeholders and agencies, they share aspects of an ‘urban’ typology like clear boundaries, grids, and homogeneous urban allotments. While these visual formations are not perfectly similar, and the satellite images do not show how voluntary a set of mobilities may be, they all are manifestations of a flux in capital, resources, people, and time. These moments of flux are conflicts, and their results are start-up urban space.