Urban and architectural adaptive strategies for inclusive cities

A review of international innovation experiments






resilient city, inclusive city, migratory flow, place-based strategies, temporary habitat


The current migration flows toward Europe are having a significant impact on social composition, economy, urban services, and on the physical dimensions of cities. Cities have a key role in developing immigration policies and sustainable accommodation models, that can promote an inclusive society as well as local development. Due to the persistence of migratory flows, these models of integration and development cannot be supported by an emergency condition, but they should be based on systematic strategies. This paper presents a series of accommodation models and urban policies, coming from international experimental projects, that we argue can foster integration and urban development. These strategies show the potentials of immigration in boosting urban transformation and regeneration. Innovative strategies for dealing with immigration are based on flexible tools, typically from temporary habitat (housing modules, light construction systems, customized solutions) that find a place inside the city. Integrated design strategies use the existing city as a frame being filled up by flexible houses, through urban densification or regeneration process. Housing dissemination, temporary and flexible architectural solutions and inclusive process are the drivers for developing a flexible habitat, at the base of a more sustainable and democratic city.




Resilient Cities Report (2016). Global migration, resilient cities at the forefront. Strategic actions to adapt and transform our cities in an age of migration. 100RC network exchange: cities and the global migration crisis. Retrieved from https://medium.com/resilient-cities-at-the-forefront (last access December 2019).

Akcan, E. (2018). Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship, and the Urban Renewal of Berlin- Kreuzberg by IBA 1984/87. Basel, CH: Birkh user.

Anzalone, M. (2008). L’Urbanistica dell’Emergenza. Progettare la flessibilit degli spazi urbani. Firenze, IT: Alinea editrice. Architecture for Refugees, open online platform. Retrieved from http://architectureforrefugees.com/ (last view August 2019).

Balducci, A., Lanzani, A., Tamini, L., Cologna, D. (2006). Milan’s “Chinatown”: an example of functional readaptation of space by a migrant minority in a low-segregation context. In conference proceeding International Conference of Spatial Planning, University of Dortmund, 29-30 September 2006.

Baobab Experience and Consiglio italiano per i rifugiati Report (2017). Rete legale per i migranti in transito. Retrieved from http://www.cir-onlus.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Report-attivit%C3%A0-Rete-legale-migranti-in-transito-Roma_novembre-2017.pdf (last access December 2019).

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2005). Successful integration is no coincidence. Strategies for a local community policy. German Federal Ministry of the Interior (Ed). Retrieved from http://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/BSt/Presse/imported/downloads/xcms_bst_dms_16212_16213_2.pdf (Accessed December 2019).

Castles, S. (2004). Why migration policies fail. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 27(2), pp. 205-227.

Cesareo, V. (2018). The Twenty-Third Italian Report on Migrations 2017. Milan, IT: Fondazione ISMU. Retrieved from http://www.ismu.org/twenty-third-italian-report-on-migration/ (Accessed December 2019).

Cyclopean House project by Ensamble Studio (2015). Retrieved from https://www.ensamble.info/cyclopeanhouse (last view August 2019).

Durmisevic, E. (2019). Design strategies for reversible buildings. BAMB project. E-book.

Fincher, R.; Iveson, K.; Leitner, H.; Preston, V. (2014). Planning in the multicultural city. Celebrating diversity or reinforcing difference? Progress in Planning. 92, pp. 1–55.

Friedman, Y. (2017). MAXXI exhibition in 2017. Rome. Retrieved from https://www.maxxi.art/events/mobile-architecture-yona-friedman/ (Accessed December 2019).

From border to home projects. Start with a roof by Satoshi Ohtaki (2015), Finnish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Retrieved from http://frombordertohome.fi/competition/start-with-a-roof/ (Accessed January 2018).

Frost, N. (2015). Green Curry. Politics and Place-Making on Brick Lane. Food, Culture & Society. 14(2), 225-242.

Habraken, N. J. (1974). Strutture per una Residenza Alternativa. Milano, IT: Il Saggiatore.

Homeshell Projects Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners (2016). Retrieved from https://www.rsh-p.com/projects/homeshell/ (Accessed December 2019).

House RAY 1 project by DMAA studio (2003). Retrieved from https://www.dmaa.at/projekte/detail-page/house-ray1.html (last view October 2019).

In My BackYard project by Quatorze (2016). Retrieved from https://www.imby.fr/ (Accessed August 2019).

Italian National Law n. 39, 2009. Decreto legge n. 39 del 28 aprile 2009: interventi urgenti per il terremoto in Abruzzo del 6 aprile 2009. Capo II, III.

Kaplan, D.H., Le Moigne, Y. (2019). Multicultural Engagements in Lived Spaces: How Cultural Communities Intersect in Belleville, Paris. City & Community. 18(1), pages 392-413.

Las Palmas Parasite project by Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architects (2001). Retrieved from http://www.kortekniestuhlmacher.nl/en/projects/parasite-las-palmas (Accessed October 2019).

Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country, open online platform. Retrieved from http://www.makingheimat.de/en/refugee-housing-projects/database (Accessed October 2019).

Marini, S. (2008). Architettura ‘parassita’. Strategie di riciclaggio per la citt . Macerata, IT: Quodlibet studio.

Melis, L. (ed) (2003). Parasite paradise: a manifesto for temporary architecture and flexible urbanism. Rotterdam, NL: NAi Publishers.

Noguchi, M. (2009). Mass Custom Design for Sustainable Housing Development. In Piller, F.T. & Tseng, M. M. (Ed.), Handbook of Research in Mass Customization and Personalization, pp. 892-910. Singapore, CN: World Scientific.

Okohaus project by Frei Otto (1990). Retrieved from http://www.the-offbeats.com/articles/building-together-the-okohaus-frei-otto-collective-improvisation/ (Accessed October 2019).

Perriccioli, M. (2016). Small scale for large dimension. Micro-architecture systems for the temporary city of Civitanova Marche. TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, 12, pp. 175-181.

Pratt Ewing, K. (2004). Migration, Identity Negotiation, and Self-Experience. In Friedman, J., Randeria, S. (Ed.), Worlds on the Move: Globalization, Migration, and Cultural Security, pp. 117-140. New York, NY: Tauris & Co Ltd. Prefab roof-top projects collection by Fehrenbacher Jill (2006). Retrieved from https://inhabitat.com/prefab-friday-rooftop-prefabs/loftcube-werner-aisslinger-rooftop-prefabs/ (Accessed October 2019).

Rettich, S. (2016). Regulate. Reduce. Accelerate. In Schmal, P. C., Elser, O. & Scheuermann A. (Eds.), Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country, pp. 86-99. Berlin, DE: Hatje Cantz Verlag Gmbh & Co Kg.

Rosol, M. (2015). Social mixing through densification? The struggle over the Little Mountain public housing complex in Vancouver. Die Erde. Volume146(2-3):151-164.

RSA Report (2016). Briefing, Design solution to London’s temporary accommodation system. Retrieved from https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/designing-solutions-to-londons-temporary-accommodation-system-briefing (Accessed December 2019).

Saunders, D. (2010): Arrival city. How the largest migration in history is reshaping our world. New York: Pantheon Books.

Schiller, N. G., Caglar, A. (2011). Locating migration. Rescaling cities and migrants. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Schmal, P. C., Elser, O. & Scheuermann A. (Ed.) (2016). Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country. Berlin, DE: Hatje Cantz Verlag Gmbh & Co Kg.

Shepard, E. A. (2016). The Emerging ‘Immigrant-Friendly’. City: How and why cities frame themselves as welcoming places to immigrants. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8f03/e12d9eaec262c3c1761e25bfe034bc9e158b.pdf?_ga=2.145942580.1841394552.1575297792-266925464.1575297792 (Accessed December 2019).

Siebel, W. (2016). Immigrant Neighborhoods: an essential step towards integration. In Schmal, P.C., Elser O. & Scheuermann A. (Ed.), Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country, pp. 56-70. Berlin, DE: Hatje Cantz Verlag Gmbh & Co Kg.

Startblok project by Centraal Orgaan Opvang Asielzoekers, Vluchtelingenwerk, Kamers met kansen, Municipality of Amsterdam (2015). Retrieved from http://www.startblok.amsterdam/en/about-the-project/what-is-startblok/ (last view January 2018) and retrieved from https://use.metropolis.org/case-studies/startblok-riekerhaven#casestudydetail (Accessed August 2019).

UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (2015a). Emergency handbook. Retrieved from https://emergency.unhcr.org/ (Accessed December 2019).

UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (2015b). Global Trends. Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/unhcrsharedmedia/2016/2016-06-20-global-trends/2016-06-14-Global-Trends-2015.pdf (last access December 2019).

Urban Land Institute Report (2017). Mass migration and real estate in European cities. Retrieved from https://europe.uli.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/127/ULI-Documents/Mass-Migration_FinalJuly2017.pdf (last access December 2019).

Vidler, A. (1992). The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely. Massachusetts, USA: MIT Press.

Werkstatt – Stadt Report (2015). Modernisierung und Nachverdichtung einer Wohnanlage aus den 1950er Jahren. Retrieved from http://www.werkstatt-stadt.de/de/projekte/258 (Accessed December 2019).

Woetzel, J., Madgavkar, A., Rifai, M., Mattern, F., Bughin, J., Manyika, J., Elmasry, T., Di Lodovico A. & Hasyagar, A. (2016). People on the Move: Global Migration’s Impact and Opportunity. New York: McKinsey Global Institute. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/global-migrations-impact-and-opportunity (Accessed December 2019).

World Economic Forum and pwc report (2017). Migration and its Impact on Cities. Retrieved from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Migration_Report_Embargov.pdf Accessed December 2019).a