According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 5 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq since the Syrian Civil War began six years ago. More than half are under the age of 18. The average stay of refugees is 17 years—an entire childhood.
What is the place for childhood in the midst of survival?
What roles can design—and designers—play in the face of such overwhelming challenges?
Refugees, Resilience, and Public Space: The Syria Project aims to address a need for child-focused public space facilities to help improve the quality of life for Syrian refugee families in Lebanon... and now Turkey, too.
The initiative is a collaboration of design professionals and students in Beirut and Boston, in partnership with the Karam Foundation and the Kayany Foundation, organized locally by the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. This second phase of The Syria Project builds on the successful completion of the playground constructed in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon earlier this year (photo above); a result of a collaborative international design initiative launched here in 2016.
These issues are not experienced only overseas: In this second phase, we will also collaborate with a local community-based nonprofit in the design of a new play space to engage immigrant families in a Boston neighborhood.
For more information, visit the BSA Syria Initiative.