You are a number now


Imagine, you and thousands of others are on the run, leaving the homeland, leaving all your belongings back and seeking shelter in a refugee camp. You come across huge tent cities where every housing looks the same. Luckily, there are food and drink but even that is all the same for all, every day. At the latest, after the official registration, you are only a number out of many – but not just for a few days or weeks but for months or even several years.

Under the motto POST CITY the 2015 Ars Electronica Festival dealt with our future mobility within the framework of its own symposium. It was not just about self-driving cars and robots that we will encounter in the cities of the future but it was also about habitats grown from nothing in just a few weeks that we would have never imagined or planned in that way. But huge refugee camps like Zaatari in northern Jordan with around 79,000 people living there belong to the real habitats of the 21st century. Zaatari with its approximately 14,000 households was built three years ago on behalf of the UNHCR – only ten kilometres away from the Syrian border. Kilian Kleinschmidt, an international networker and humanitarian expert and adviser to the Austrian government for the accommodation of refugees, was head of this settlement and talked in his speech early September 2015 about what refugees actually need to live humanely in these urban environments.