• Merry-go-round from the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan Merry-go-round from the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan, © Technisches Museum Wien
Exhibition
The urban future

Merry-go-round from the Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan

When a camp becomes a city. Besides eating, sleeping and access to medical care, life also entails having play areas.

With more than 100,000 inhabitants, the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It was established by the UN Refugee Agency in 2012. It has since become a permanent settlement, with market stalls and a main avenue known as the Champs-Élysées. Rather than a temporary camp, Zaatari is gradually turning into a city with its own power supply and Wi-Fi, playgrounds, schools, streets with their own street names, and a population that’s engaged in commerce. Security has improved, and reliable structures create a sense of certainty. All of which are necessary if you’re forced to live there longer than planned.

The people in Zaatari went from being refugees to city dwellers. In Zaatari, life is being reinvented all the time. The extreme desert climate means that everyone is exposed to enormous burdens. Old tents are recycled. And Jordanian engineers are continually working together with the camp’s residents, with the support of the Norwegian Refugee Committee.

Merry-go-round, 2016
NRC – Norwegian Refugee Council



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