Columbia University (USA) / Tutor: Nora Akawi, Ziad Jamaleddin, Petra Kempf, Laura Kurgan, Kate Orff (2017)
Sixty-eight years after the Palestinian exodus following the 1948 Nakba, many of the Palestinian refugee settlements in Jordan, once located in distant rural areas like Al-hussein Camp in Amman, have been bypassed by the ever-growing city development. As time passed, Palestinian refugee camps became multi-story dense neighborhoods and incubators for diverse micro economies while struggling with the dichotomy of the right to return. However, the permanent temporariness of the camp’s typology has been employed to justify the marginalization of this community through an inequitable access to resources, like water and electricity, in a state that struggles to meet the growing water and energy needs of its residents. This situation puts the camp in a fragile situation against a rapidly changing climate, especially in Jordan, the third most water scarce country in the world, where forcibly displaced populations constitutes around one third of its population , and are often blamed for the state’s failures.
Within a regional context of dependency and subordination, The Right To Water project investigates the potential of utilizing the irregularity and extreme density of the refugee camp to empower the local population towards water independency by the implementation of an extended network of decentralized micro water collection and storage units embedded in the built fabric. The dense urban fabric performs like a second topography that can be molded and reshaped through various interventions ranging from the use of elevated light structures that divert the flow of water while providing shade and opportunity for new programs on roof-scapes, to the provision of storage facilities.