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CLARIN

Refugees And City Planning, An Unlikely Urbanist Opportunity

The global refugee crisis forces us to rethink city planning and housing, with more focus on assuring people's rights and needs. A chance to actually wind up with more human cities.

Refugees And City Planning, An Unlikely Urbanist Opportunity
Fernando Murillo*

-Essay-

BUENOS AIRES — In a world affected by climate change, violent conflicts and forced migration, architecture and city planning have a role, and a duty, to help forge a more peaceful community life. This has been a record year for human migration, with 57 million people displaced from their homes, well beyond the 24 million displaced during World War II. Startling images of people traveling in desperate conditions could prompt us to reconsider the basics of planning, this time with a particular focus on basic humanitarian values.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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