In her 2017 Complex cities graduation project Céline Janssen investigated spatial strategies supporting the role of self-organisation in integration policies.
Due to the high influx of asylum seekers in Europe in 2015, a large political debate about the arrival of refugees was manifested and still is in most European countries. Since increasing migration is making large cities more socially complex, refugee integration in spatial planning has become more urgent. Refugees often don’t have a starting point – a job, education or a social network – in the society that they arrive to. Integration is perceived as a two-edged process that simultaneously occurs in multiple domains of society: housing, employment, education, language, social connection and cultural knowledge. Approaching those domains in an integral way is desirable when facilitating refugee integration.
Integration policies -‘the planned’- and self-organisation -‘the unplanned’-, are two opposite responses to the arrival of refugees, and both have advantages and disadvantages per domain of integration. Through enlarging the role of self-organisation, integration policies can be enriched with a better understanding of the spatial and local context. Simultaneously, self-organisation can be enhanced with the help of planning for its financial and organisational capacity. Strategic spatial planning has the potential to provide conditions and to support the complementarity between self-organisation and integration policies.
This thesis includes an exploratory case-study analysis of integration policies and self-organised initiatives in the context of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Based on the analysis results, general principles have been designed to enhance the interrelations between self-organisation and integration policies per domain specifically. The principles are illustrated by spatial strategies for Rotterdam that propose organisational and spatial conditions, with the eventual aim to facilitate the integration of refugees in a better way.
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