Refugee tents that collect rainwater and store solar energy: an innovative solution at the service of the rights of present and future generations

Source: “Is architecture a social technology?”- Ref.

I have a vision of communities empowered to cultivate their own wellbeing and dignity; inspiring practical living spaces in symbiosis with nature.”

Abeer Seikaly, the creative thinker that designed the renowned social and sustainable project “Weaving a Home”, is a young Palestinian Jordanian architect working on innovative architecture, design, fine art and cultural production.

These tents for refugees are part of an ongoing project since 2013, conceived to provide shelter to displaced communities while also protecting the environment. Through her work, Abeer explores how architecture can act as an instrument with immediate social effects, offering refugees a home with various comforts under the idea of a dignified contemporary life.

Inspired on the consequences of the Syrian Civil War, Abeer came up with a technological solution that would protect the rights of present and future generations, guaranteeing the right to a dignified home to migrants and their families, producing transgenerational positive effects, at the same time that it integrates those of future generations when protecting the environment with a sustainable engineering approach.

For Abeer, nature, tradition and technology are elements that she finds perpetually linked. Therefore, through a design highly inspired in nature, “Weaving a Home” uses a distinctive structural fabric constituted of high-strength plastic tubing molded into sine-wave curves that can expand and enclose during different weather conditions, and also be broken down facilitating mobility and transport. Tents can also collect rainwater providing basic sanitation, and absorb solar energy, transforming it into electric energy stored in special batteries.

Recently, she also launched a communal program called “Meeting Points” which is a direct outcome of the tent project and an artistic and communal expression of its vision. By this, she opens up the question of how cultural heritage can remain relevant within a globalized society and how to revive traditional knowledge systems to innovate and create new material technologies.

Aligned with the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development, this project not only aims to build a resilient and innovative infrastructure that harnesses renewable energy (contributing to SDG nº7 and nº9), but also contributes to other sustainable goals, which is noteworthy. Therefore, the Normandy Chair for Peace identifies in a summarized table the contribution of this project to the 2030 Agenda as it shows bellow:

SDG 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  • 1.2. House providing would contribute to reduce the proportion of men, women and children living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.
  • 1.4. Tents for refugees would contribute to ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have access to basic services, and ownership and control over other forms of property.
  • 1.5. It would contribute to build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which in this case relates to exposure caused by forced migrations.

SDG 6 Ensure  availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • 6.4. Through rainwater collection, it would contribute to water use efficiency  and  reduction of the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

SDG 7 Ensure  access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

  • 7.1. It would allow universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
  • 7.3.b.  It provides infrastructure and upgrade technologyfor supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all.

SDG 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization
and fo
ster innovation.

  • 9.1. The technology that “Weaving a Home uses” develops quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure with a focus on affordable and equitable access.

SDG 10 Reduce inequality  within and among countries

  • 10.2. It would contribute to empower and promote inclusion for refugees and migrants that doesn’t have a home.
  • 10.7. It may contribute to facilitate migration and mobility of people by guaranteeing safe housing to those in need.

SDG 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

  • 11.1. Tents for refugees may ensure adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services.
  • 11.4 Inspired in nature and cultural production, it may strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

SDG 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

  • 16.1. It may contribute to reduce violence by giving a solution to marginalization of refugees and migrants, which would be incongruous to social cohesion and integration needed in peaceful and inclusive societies.

Surely an inspiring story worth highlighting that fosters sustainable development through alternative solutions to global problems.

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