The majority of the Syrians that flee the violence end up in neighboring countries such as Jordan, where huge refugee camps in the dry desert areas offer a place of shelter. These refugees could be called ‘desert pioneers’ as they have to start a new life in this barren landscape.
Most camps are initially designed to be a short-term solution to an emergency situation, but the average stay in a refugee camp is now 17 years. When a crisis takes several years, a more durable solution is needed. Seeing the refugee camps as the cities of tomorrow rather then short-term settlements will have many benefits.
On this dry land of scarcity, water management is the key for a more self sustaining, durable future. The water cycle can be restored by adding vegetation which brings more moisture into the air. Greening the city and its surrounding will bring natural, financial and social capital to the desert pioneers. The host country gains an ecosystem as a reminder of its helping hand in times of crisis.
Desert Pioneer is a foldable garden developed for degraded landscapes with nested seeds of pioneer plant species. To give a kickstart to the new ecosystem.
One element of the Desert Pioneer can be unfolded into a cellular structure. Filling the honeycomb structure with soil from the desert, makes it into a solid sandbag-like structure that can function as the wall of an elevation for small communities and creates erosion barriers.