PhD: Design for Self-Reliance in Emergencies


The introduction of alternative energy solutions in
refugee camps is first off an attempt to protect the surrounding area from the
environmental impacts of the camp.
However, the right technology will also offer the possibility of increased safety,
improvement of the relationship between the host and the displaced and could
also improve other “soft values for social responsibility”(Galtung, O’Brien et al. 1980) such as educational oportunities (Lyytinen 2009).

The increased opportunities and capabilities an individual and subsequently a community receive from improved energy access are highly relevant to the designer and are insufficiently explored.

My research will try to find the core of the “Self-Reliance” concept in a refugee camp setting, and how it can be used to choose the most beneficial design process in the emerging field of design for emergencies, with the purpose of a sustainable, long-term development in the region.

This is sought to be done through case studies, field work and qualitative interviews together with literature review.

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About Brita Fladvad Nielsen

I'm a Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My focus is on Smart Energy Communities in urban settings as well as design of energy-devices for emergency settings and design for humanitarian markets, especially for refugee camps in rural areas of Africa. I blog about my research approach Design Thinking on www.designthinkingresearch.wordpress.com and about humanitarian design at www.designforselfreliance.wordpress.com . I am also a mother of a child who is deaf, and I blog about her language development on Aurorasittsprak.wordpress.com
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