Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Participatory design in refugee camps: Ethnographic case studies from Greece

Jaradat, Suha; Beunders, Narda


Narda Beunders


Architectural management and construction practices have not been widely explored in refugee camps which have been growing exponentially around the world. Previous research largely focused on the negativity surrounding living in refugee camps and mostly ignored the input of refugees. This study explores the possibilities of involving refugees in architectural design and construction decisions in the camps.

This research adopts a qualitative interpretive research approach and employs exploratory ethnographic methods. Participatory design (PD) principles are applied to design and construct community place projects in two refugee camps in Greece.

The findings demonstrate that, despite the technical and institutional challenges of employing PD approaches in refugee camps, there are observed positive impacts on the wellbeing of refugees and impacts on the hosting communities.

Practical implications
This paper contests the negativity surrounding refugee camps and has implications on research, practice and society as well as a positive impact on NGO organisations, policy-makers and other stakeholders involved in the governance of refugee camps.

This paper addresses a critical issue concerning how to include refugees in the design, implementation and maintenance of refugee camps to improve their well-being and fight the feeling of “otherness” for both refugees and host communities. This study extends research on refugee camps by collaborating with refugees to improve their lives within the camps. This research contributes to architectural management and construction studies by providing practical recommendations related to PD methods in new contexts.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 3, 2021
Publication Date Apr 4, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 17, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 17, 2021
Journal Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Print ISSN 0969-9988
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 3
Pages 1080-1097
Public URL


Participatory Design In Refugee Camps: Ethnographic Case Studies From Greece (accepted version) (1.3 Mb)

You might also like

Downloadable Citations