The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that by the end of 2016 some 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide--a number not seen since the end of World War II. On average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute last year.  The challenges faced by vast numbers of migrants and refugees uprooted by war, persecution, ecological crises, natural disasters, or even relocating in search of economic opportunity, are often urgent, and, unfortunately, all too familiar.

 

The movement of populations has spurred--and continues to spur--great changes in the cultural landscape in general and design in particular, both positive and problematic. Displacement creates opportunities for cross-cultural dialogues and inspires design solutions, whether they be related to objects used for disaster relief, temporary housing for displaced persons during wartime or following natural disasters, or more substantial and lasting interventions into the landscape, such as the exponential and necessary growth of cities.

 

The conference will examine displacement and attendant issues from a design perspective.