Place And Displacement A Marketplace In Refugee Settlements


In light of the current surge of refugees in the international arena, refugee livelihoods in transitional settlements have become a crucial topic in contemporary geopolitical relations.

Most inhabitants in refugee settlements rely on humanitarian aid and cannot fully exercise their agency and skillsets. A marketplace can become an embodiment of dignity and resilience that respects refugee inhabitants’ autonomy, creativity and capability. Through trading activities, refugee inhabitants can connect with the world and a future beyond transient settlements.


As more architects, policy makers and social workers engage in the discourse surrounding refugee livelihoods, we are proposing a competition to formulate an interdisciplinary proposal for a marketplace in refugee settlements. The finalists teams will come to New York City to attend a workshop and present at a symposium, in order to:


1. Achieve collaboration between the field of architecture and public administration in rethinking and designing a marketplace in refugee settlements;

2. Engage with the refugee inhabitants of these settlements through direct or indirect communication, research and experiential learning;

3. Work towards implementing the winning proposal by networking with policy makers, architects, academics, NGOs and refugees, and aiming to attract resources to turn the proposal into reality.



we challenge the innovative minds around the globe to design a marketplace with an operational plan for more than 20 users from a vulnerable population (adolescents, single mothers, people with trauma, etc) in one of the refugee settlements listed in the brief. The marketplace should be able to run as long as possible, and benefit as many people as possible. The overall budget limit for both construction and long-term operation of the entire marketplace is $100,000 or less.



10 Architects + 7 United Nations Representatives and Directors + 7 Scholars + 6 NGO Leaders



Total Prize: $30,000

1 Overall Winning Team $3,000

One overall winning team will be selected at the final symposium and rewarded an additional $3,000.

3 Winning Teams $7,000 Per Team

Each winning team will be awarded a cash prize of $3,000, and round trip flight tickets and accommodation in New York City worth $4,000 per team (maximum 2 people per team). Winning teams will participate in an immersive 24-hour workshop, and present their proposals at a symposium to policy makers, architects, academics, NGOs, and philanthropists.

6 Honorable Mentions $1,000 Per Team


* All awarded proposals will be presented to a group of related humanitarian organizations and philanthropies with credits to participants.

To view the jury, download competition brief and register for the competition:

cash prize award: $ 30,000.00 USD