Driving Engines Effect on Settlement Patterns and Efficiency of the Settlement Influence at Al-Za’atari Camp

  •  Majd Al-Homoud    
  •  Ola Samarah    


As refugees lose their sense of spatial identity, they try to adapt by recreating their lost community through revival of rituals, religion, defense, lifestyle, prestige, and climate. Population displacement theory deals with settlements as form of socio-cultural action. The study the driving engines behind the shifted emerging patterns and their influence on the efficiency of the settlement at Al-Za'atari Syrian Refugee Camp, in North Jordan, Al-Mafraq. Face-to-face interviews with camp mobilizers explored the driving engines behind the shifted settlement patterns, and its influence on mobilizers' reachability. A cluster stratified random sample was used to collect quantitative data through a structured questionnaire. Outcomes indicated that refugees are gradually transforming the formal public spaces at the cluster level to private ones as an extension to the shelter domain. Such spatial shifts appear to be driven by a combination of physical, social, socio-spatial drivers, and past socio-spatial experience. These spatial shifts from the formal grid are influenced by refugees’ social values and territorial behavior, expressing zones of influence as means of defensive adaptation. Statistical analysis attested the influence of driving engines on settlement patterns and on the efficiency of the settlement. The driving engines behind the spatial shifts are safety concerns, cultural concerns, religious reasons, lifestyle, prestige, ethnicity and origin, improved infrastructure, improved access to services, and micro-climate. Such attributes influence the total efficiency of the settlement. Conclusively, planners should consider socio-cultural values that reflect defensibility, boundaries definition, and interdependence.

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