Architecture, Building and Humanitarian Innovation
natural disasters or the immediate aftermath of a severe emergency. Construction in
such circumstances, however, can still be approached in a more bottom-up manner.
Many humanitarian agencies, for example, distribute building materials and train
local communities to ‘build back better’, rather than constructing
complete shelters themselves ( Lyons et
al. , 2010 ).
When it comes to refugees, constructing shelter from scratch can generate even bigger
, 2015 ; Fast, 2017 ; Read et al. , 2016 ).
Digitisation – the collection, conversion, storage and sharing of data and
the use of digital technologies to collect and manage information about individuals
from affected communities – increasingly shapes understandings of need and
the response to emergencies. 2 This
use of digital technologies produces ‘digital bodies’ – images,
information, biometrics and other data stored in digital space – that
German Responses to the June 2019 Mission of the Sea-Watch 3
open, to individuals such as Cédric Herrou – and their supporters. 24 But it also comprises local politicians – in places as diverse as Barcelona ( Augustín and Jørgensen, 2019 ) and Rottenburg – who are convinced that their communities ought to be able to practice hospitality irrespective of quotas for the number of asylum seekers assigned to local communities and irrespective of federal or state laws that determine whether or not an undocumented migrant is entitled to receive free medical care.
There is nothing new about the bordering of Europe and its human
participants, the WhatsApp group became a key platform, which sought to curb the
stream of unsubstantiated rumours. Here, medical-humanitarian organisations
positioned themselves as brokers.
The relations between local humanitarian organisations’ teams and
journalists extended further. The representative stated: ‘We are all FB
[Facebook] friends. It’s a community’ (see also Zimmerman et al. ,
2019 : 23–4 on the ‘symbiotic relationship’ between
However, critics say this phenomenon of iconisation has its flaws. It encourages
a narrative of empowered victim, and is often viewed with suspicion by the
community of the ‘icon’ itself who see in this process of
iconisation a subtle attempt to co-opt its voice to advance their own agenda
( Olesen, 2016 ). Yet others claim
that such iconisation is part of a broader storytelling trend, where personal
stories of ordinary and marginal individuals are
opening for them to do this. It’s a Trojan horse’ (quoted in Priday, 2018 ).
The second priority is securing more stable funding for humanitarian journalism. This
includes, crucially, trustworthy information reaching those communities affected by disaster.
Following the work of organisations including the CDAC Network, Internews and BBC Media Action,
we know that this is a vital form of aid: people need information as they need water, food,
medicine and shelter. Information can save lives, build resilience, support livelihoods and
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian
as the number and variety of self-proclaimed humanitarian actors has grown, the
meaning of the word has become blurred and needs clarification. Claiming to be
‘neutral/impartial/independent’ in this new context amounts to waving
a white flag signalling that one has no enemies – in other words, a symbol
meant to distinguish an organisation from other relief groups with other intentions
(religious, community-based, political, commercial) but nothing more. That is
reasons, including alliances with communities, roots in civil society, recognition
by peers, qualities and characters of members, principles, ethics and commitments
and so on ( Calain, 2012 ). But at its
core, humanitarian legitimacy comes from acting in a humanitarian way – by
doing good, by acting our values. Providing care to people in danger will not
prevent us from being attacked by authoritarian states or populist movements. In
fact, the opposite, as this case shows