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"AGRIshelter" | Narges Mofarahian | Project Winner of the International Competition "What Design Can Do"

November 3, 2016


From the jury report: “AGRIshelter has something of a hipster movement for refugees, with the very positive side of providing possibilities for gardening and growing food. The plan encourages prospective residents and communities to be involved in creating accommodation re-using locally found materials and in reclaiming and greening the built environment. The jury welcomed the project and its utopian thinking preferring this as a model than all too familiar dystopias. The project is part of a thesis research, that explores urban typologies as well as practical concepts at detail scale.”



AGRIshelter is a proposal for improving reception sites in European cities which are receiving great numbers of refugees. In fact integration of refugees must start from integration of their living spaces to prevent creation of ghettos which leads to numerous social problems. This is an issue which must be looked at in the urban scale .Then creative solutions could hugely turn potential negative impacts of isolation, to positive effect on the hosting cities. Another important issue is the environmental effect of this huge displacement while we all are facing the big challenge of Global warming. Therefore a more comprehensive solution could be more effective.


 The main factors that this proposal includes are:

- Turning the Reception Sites that are often Isolated, to Attractive green urban networks for a better effective integration by bringing regular activites. 
- Constructing shelters with good quality but low environmental impact by using biodegradable materials.
- Involving everyone who wants to join, especially refugees themselves, in the process of construction of the shelters through self build emergency housing.


AGRIshelter is a solution for the shortage of refugee shelters that considers social, urban, environmental and economic factors. It is built of biodegradable, zero-km materials, which are durable, provide good insulation and are readily available in every city. The whole 35-m2 unit can be erected in a few hours by people with minimum skills and it’s also easy to demolish. The prefabricated wooden-frame foundation supports walls made of straw bales and wooden doors and window frames. The roof is made of folded canvas. A cistern on the north side collects water. AGRIshelters can be built on vacant urban sites to prevent the formation of ghettoes on the edges of cities.


- For more info check the Facebook page: "AGRIshelter"


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Our Soil, Our Commons,  Our Future

A new vision for Planetary Citizenship 


“Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel, and our shelter and surround us with beauty.

Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it”


From  Vedas Sanskrit Scripture

1500 BC


November2019 "The Urban Sponge IV", TerraViva  Workshop n°3, PoliMi  +  Earth Service  +  ECòL  + Chì-nà

February 2020 "Tactical Urbanism II", TerraViva Workshop n° 4, PoliMi  + Earth Service  +  Needle 

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