A Playground for Refugee Children as Emergency Response
Advocating for a design that questions the definition of a playground in an emergency response.
The Syrian crisis is the world’s largest refugee crisis for almost a century under UNHCR mandate. One in four persons in Lebanon is displaced from Syria, with around 56% of all Syrian refugees are under 18 years old making it largely a crisis of children and youth (UNHCR 2015). Most Syrian refugees live in housing without sufficient space for play and in areas where they do not have a safe space for play in their surrounding. The refugee crisis has highly impacted children’s mental wellbeing. The innovative process behind the design lies within not simply providing playing facilities (swing, slide, etc.) but rather in exploring opportunities that enable these children to design the playground themselves. This makes each playground specific for its context, time and people. The playground is a space where these children can play, rest and feel safe; a space of security in this vulnerable environment. The involvement of the children in all phases gives them a sense of ownership.