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This site showcases a PhD research developed at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL focused on exploring the influence of the built environment of long-term refugee camps located along the East African Rift on young children's learning. It investigates the potential of architecture and design on improving the learning environments in seven case studies in Southwest Uganda, Northwest Kenya, and Rwanda. Using art, architecture, and Participatory Action Research this PhD investigation aims at involving refugee children, their parents and caregivers, NGO workers, young architects, and crafts-people into creating new information on these largely understudied environments. 

For more information about the author click here.



Click here to access information on existing the physical environment of the long-term camps in the East African Rift, from the regional to the building scales. 

learning environments
This section provides in-depth spatial and project information on each of the different Early Childhood Development initiatives described in the mapping tool.

Click here to read about the research findings on the role of architectural processes in the refugee communities and their historical evolution. 

This research has produced a considerable body of knowledge to which architecture students and artisans from the region, and refugees living in the camps studied have contributed to. These research participants have proposed ways to improve the built environment of the camps and its effects on young children's learning. This research has opened up paths for discussion between interested stakeholders and it is aimed to trigger further research, material change and dialogue.


This research aims to achieve two goals: to highlight how power dynamics are embodied by specific physical elements of refugee camps, and also to analyse the role that their environments play in the development of young refugee children. By exploring an overlooked element of humanitarian relief, the physical environment as it affects the experience of refugees, this research will bridge the gap between reality in the camps and a detached remote approach to spatial management, hoping to inform best practices for future work.


This is a work in progress.

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