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Through collaboration and teamwork, we tried to fulfill the needs of refugees coming into the country. We created a temporary society (urban plan) through the use of IKEA shelters in order to better the everyday lives of refugees who are in limbo waiting for approval in the country they landed. We hope the plan will spark a sense of community, contribution, and improve the mental health of the society residing there.

Nexus Maximus IV

The Challenge: Innovation for Refugees and Displaced Populations

One of the great challenges of our time is how to help refugees and displaced populations, and how to prevent the causes in the first place. Every minute, 24 people around the world are forced to flee their homes. That’s 34,000 people a day who leave everything behind in the hope of finding safety and a better tomorrow. The impact of war, political, racial and religious conflict, and environmental crises of famine and climate change, have caused great suffering and there is a great opportunity to do better.

The issues these populations and the countries who receive them face are diverse and complex. They include public health, housing/built environment, cultural integration, public safety, employment/economic and more.

How can innovation address these challenges? How do we create the social systems and products to support a healthy, safe and integrated program for refugees? How do we address the physical, emotional, and social needs of refugees to restore hope and opportunity? The solutions may be as far ranging as the challenges, exploring the acute needs during a crisis, as well as the chronic needs of the permanently displaced; looking at immigration and adjustments to new cultures. We encourage participants to draw upon all disciplines, from health professions to architecture, engineering to design, ethics, communication and every way of thinking we have, to find better ways to innovate on physical solutions, processes, policies, systems, and more.

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Refugees, housing, urban plan, temporary society, community, Nexus Maximus, Thomas Jefferson University


Medicine and Health Sciences

Document Type


It Takes a Village