kilian kleinschmidt

kilian kleinschmidt

[vienna, austria]

intro’d to Kilian here:


Refugee camps are the “cities of tomorrow”, says humanitarian-aid expert… via @Dezeen

via rt of this from Ben

As @BenRawlence shows us through the eyes of refugees in his fantastic new book City of Thorns @PortobelloBooks…

refugee camps are cities of tomorrow

Kleinschmidt told Dezeen that aid organisations and governments needed to accept that new technologies like 3D printing could enable refugees and migrants to become more self-sufficient.

“With a Fab Lab people could produce anything they need – a house, a car, a bicycle, generating their own energy, whatever,” he said.

His own attempts to set up a Zaatari Fab Lab – a workshop providing access to digital fabrication tools – have been met with opposition.

“That whole concept that you can connect a poor person with something that belongs to the 21st century is very alien to even most aid agencies,” he said. “Intelligence services and so on from government think ‘my god, these are just refugees, so why should they be able to do 3D-printing? Why should they be working on robotics?’ The idea is that if you’re poor, it’s all only about survival.”

“We have to get away from the concept that, because you have that status – migrant, refugee, martian, alien, whatever – you’re not allowed to be like everybody else.”

a nother way

for (blank)’s sake


feb 2015 – Through the eyes of Kilian Kleinschmidt

what we’re seeing is a social world war. the eruption of discrimination.. the rebellion of the people who feel they’re not part of this world.

it’s not the fire fighting we need.. but to address the social injustice… at the bottom line of this..

in our search/competitions over resources…

don’t we have enough already…?

why do we need to search for more..

all anyone wants is that social freedom… access to opportunity

equity.. everyone getting a go. everyday.

on stepping back from intervening

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

it’s not to keep us alive with 2001 calories… water.. but to keep our minds/souls/hopes/dreams alive… that makes the diff between us and everything else…

world can’t be based on war.. we have plentiful resources… it doesn’t help us to send something we also need to receive..

i want to contribute to the solution.. to connect.. to bring in knowledge from one world to the other and make it one world..

4 min – we will be setting up that connecting capacity.. connecting resources

1\ the crazy ideas of the inventors.. connect that with those who sit in the slums and the camps of this world.. the resources we have lying idle.. connect them.. set up that instrument

a mechanism simple enough

imagine if chip ness.. et al

2\ create a sustainable support… events that come from w/in the regions.. connect ideas/spirit of those areas with each other and us… connect this global community in diff way.. through arts/music… anything we can share… beyond the water/calories

5 min – we have to recall that we are one in this world… we will be and have to be together… there cannot be 3/4 of world left behind.. not having access to basics but also not having access to the right to be a human being…


nov 2015 – Refugee housing that’s fit for human beings

what it means to change approach from refugee camps as a threat.. to an opportunity

in the camps.. we try to make it all the same…

forget about being human.. you are now a number.. a registration number…

the desire to get back to what it is to be a human being (unique rather than standard)

idiosyncratic ness – a and a – mechanism for whimsy.

as the day.

took building materials and made own toilets.. (video showing this) – camp that transformed itself into a city

baan – self-organizing ness

on the bad – the need for gershenfeld something else law..

11 min – bringing in control

perhaps blockchain ness… rna ness..  so stigmergy is possible..

12 min – that change – in video – was not more than 15 months..

14 min – we’re talking about burning man cities coming and going… govt somehow accept when it’s the burning man..  but when it comes to refugees they all get nervous…

15 min – every time i used the word city.. jordan would write the un and say… he did it again.. he said it again..  who was i to say i was the mayor..  we have to move/change our ways… to run them professionally… so we brought in experts from city of amsterdam… to look into water/sewer/transportation…

17 min – our experience w/amsterdam wasn’t that great.. because they didn’t understand that we had to move fast.. couldn’t wait till planner finished planning… people in camps… just did things rather than wait.. so a constant balance between a managed process and a self-managed process..

18 min – giving space was one of the keys… also.. put for a moment aside.. why they’re here.. ie: just look at.. they are human beings…

20 min – avg stay is now .. 17 yrs .. so worthwhile to invest in something that is not just an emergency response…

21 min – in most displacement places in the world.. people change and they urbanize.. so much that they wouldn’t be able to live again in little village

22 min – let’s turn the crisis into opportunity…


find/follow Kilian:

link twitter

switxboard – Kilian’s work.. toward a mechanism to help make us one – nationality: human..

We connect the world’s capacity with the world’s needs


Ben and Kilian interview on why refugee camps don’t work and how to fix them

From Calais to the borders of Syria: Why refugee camps don’t work – and how to fix them. With@BenRawlence+@KilianK…
phrase – refugee camp – misleading… ie: could be temprorary and emergency to a long time city.. best to develop diff strategies for diff situations – b
refugee camp always meant to be a storage facility… camp implies temporary.. but dimension of camps staying for decades is not there when you plan them.. and that’s the problem.. – k
dadaab is in 3rd generation – b
syria is going to last for some time.. so what do they look for.. 1\ return 2\ then (when realize it will be longer term) how to make best of camp –  they set up a city – by themselves – in one year – design/redesign living spaces – ie: received containers for houses.. but individualized them.. didn’t expect to be a bulk pkg – k
they are like cities w/a diff.. more like prisons… yet.. life does not stand still.. they won’t just sit and wait…  – b
problem is aid agencies being only provider… ie: they aren’t city builders nor counterparts to govt – we don’t put the right resources there… depends on who you put in as right provider of expertise.. – k
sound like we need more of people themselves in that role.. via just providing resources they request.. trusting that..
w/o govt coop.. can’t experiment w/any alternatives – and govt’s see camps as a negative.. so mad situation where no one is allowed to work/leave ..  where this could actually be a huge positive.. almost doesn’t consider somalie refugees as human.. mystery to me why more countries aren’t vying over these people to build their econ’s- b
nationality: human ness..
people/refugees sharing stories.. of working non stop.. (from n lebanon)
solution – putting in right level of expertise so govt’s don’t feel threatened..we had major breakthrough when started work w/local sectors, ie: supermarkets.. ie: smart cards.. supermarket chains had no problems to obtain work permits.. aid agencies need to partner up in a diff way..  – k
solution – what kilian attempted in datari – the key here is the politics… would be best if refugees were running everything.. they could spend budget a whole lot more productively… but key dimension is brokering political settlement.. ie: now 3 days to take food.. spending so much on that.. some being skimmed by corrupt middle men.. so offer something of benefit to whole region.. – b
new policy – no camps any more.. unrealistic.. sometimes only option.. the problem is the aid system in itself… we live in another world.. aid money in general is insufficient.. there are much more capacities in private/public sector.. getting the dimension across.. – concept of city of the dabia.. major population and econ center in middle of nowhere.. kenya..  you should seize the opportunity… aid agencies should say – this is really not our job.. they should let go.. need to bring in totally diff set of partners –  k
problem – no real leadership .. ie: kenyan govt wanting camp closed.. but some wanting to hold on .. because of benefits of corruption of it.. there’s no one really with a vision that has a position of leadership… i’m continually be approached by people who want to help… there isn’t really an overall leadership… everyone is wanting to wish problem away.. and refugees have psych problem.. because they’re wishing for a future somewhere else… – b
that’s the point (short term vision)- lots who would like to do something .. but don’t see chance..  we have connectivity in the world today which we’re underutilizing for the moment…. – k
at moment .. the concept is broken .. but i do believe it’s possible to build new camps in imaginative ways.. camps as part of solution.. not only one.. – b

 a nother way

for (blank)’s sake




Turning the world’s largest refugee camp into a ‘big city’…

Business is slow for Nelson Doko. The 27-year-old South Sudanese refugee sells candy, soap, cigarettes and other small items at his shop in Uganda’s Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, behind a stylized sign reading “Welcome to California.”

But there are few customers these days.

“There’s no money,” he complained.

There are more than 1 million South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda, fleeing a nearly four-year civil war that has split backers of

More than one-quarter of the refugees live in Bidi Bidi, which opened in August 2016. With 285,000 residents, it’s now the world’s largest refugee camp — bigger even than the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, which has long held the title and been open since the 1990s.

city of thorns

In the words of the United Nations’ refugee chief, these refugees are likely in for “a long-term exile.”

Bidi Bidi isn’t going away. Instead, over the next decade it will be transformed into “a big city” with factories and shopping centers, predicted Robert Baryamwesiga, the settlement’s government overseer.

“I’m actually more optimistic than ever now,” he said. “Because I see more creative ideas from the refugees themselves. I see them try to engage now in livelihood programs.”

In a decade, Baryamwesiga predicts that Bidi Bidi’s population might double or even quadruple in size.

“It’s possible that that place can host even a million people,” he said. “What we need to fix are social amenities, make sure that there are schools, there are health facilities, and so forth.”

or perhaps.. perfect opp to see if there’s a nother way for us all to live..

Uganda’s refugee system rests on a requirement that all aid groups working with refugees devote 30 percent of their projects to local Ugandans. Locals benefit from the new schools and health centers, and some get high paying jobs with international aid groups. In effect, the policy acts as a sort of development program for Uganda’s impoverished northwest and earns goodwill abroad.

If the policy remains friendly the way it is, the refugees after maybe 10 years [or] 20 years, they’re just totally integrated,” he said.

But money is tight. The UN has received just 29 percent of the $674 million it has requested to respond to the South Sudanese refugee crisis. Locals are starting to complain that there aren’t as many jobs or facilities as they had expected.


from Mike Zuckerman (video from oct 2016)


A brilliant break down of the humanitarian aid situation from Kilian who I had to pleasure of meeting in greece.


This week in Dallas (video from 2016) []

from video

3 min – american aid 25 bn a year.. what we pay to fix our mistakes.. not much has changed.. %’s down but numbers not changed

5 min – me.. the aid worker.. i look at you as numbers.. ie: how much food entitled to.. that’s what we do when we try to excuse ourselves..

7 min – video.. ie’s of how it should not be..

8 min – what we did.. set up a community in months.. instead of years..

9 min – what i found in georgia – people rebelling against what we thought was the right way to help people.. the numbers.. ie: 5 people to tent..  we had forgotten that they actually have human dna.. they’re people..  also aware there’s something else in the world..

11 min – they stole all the stuff.. ie: not happy w tents in rows.. built own toilets/kitchens.. redid electricity..  the place changed into a living space.. away from what we had designed as a storage facility.. what modern people all want.. to have space.. and access..

12 min – once we understood they wanted to shape their own lives.. to live like any one else.. that we were wanting the same thing..  no more fighting..

13 min – they wanted to learn/access knowledge thru the net.. that was the problem

16 min – people had cash to buy the things they actually wanted..

why not go have/need ness.. sans money

17 min – another video – camp in jordan – set up in 2012-13

22 min – bring people considered a liability to work


23 min – 15 yrs to rid poverty.. big.. better get going.. to another way

a nother way [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

24 min – how do we share the knowledge affectively

2 convos

27 min – we can do it.. but requires us to complete change our paradigm

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way