Refugee Week: Flat-packed Homes

This week is Refugee Week. It’s a poignant time to consider the meaning of home, knowing that there are millions of refugees around the world who have fled their homes due to war, persecution, poverty or disaster. They leave behind their families, friends and the familiar to find safety and a new home in uncertain territory. In Australia we largely take our security and stability for granted.

Home in a box?

Ikea is the ultimate symbol of, and destination for, mass consumption. However, they have branched into a new area where they can use this power for good – the $1000-per-unit temporary flat-pack house.

Temporary housing is a popular subject for student architects, and there are thousands of innovative, transformative designs for refugee housing – however, this one has a chance to make a significant impact, given the high profile and manufacturing capabilities of its backers.

Ikea flatpack emergency housing

…and yes, it comes with instructions and tools (surely including an allen key). It aims to improve the quality of life for refugees living in temporary housing, a situation which often lasts for years. It may not be even close to ideal, but any improvements to temporary housing are a step up from the often unsafe and unsanitary cobbled-together housing found in refugee camps.

This Refugee Week, it’s worth reflecting on what home means when you live in-between, day-t0-day – if you’re interested, this fascinating pair of articles from the New York Times examines one of the world’s “best” refugee camps, compared to a camp that allows residents unusual freedom to shape it themselves.

Image credits, top to bottom: Flickr user elisafinocchiar, Ikea via Weburbanist 

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