Building a Bed for the Night: The Parisian “Yellow Bubble” and the Politics of Humanitarian Architecture

New publication!

Scott-Smith, Tom. “Building a Bed for the Night: The Parisian “Yellow Bubble” and the Politics of Humanitarian Architecture.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, vol. 11 no. 3, 2020, p. 317-331. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/hum.2020.0025.

Abstract:

The past decade has seen the expansion of architecture with an explicitly humanitarian purpose. This article examines the politics and functions of this movement by looking in detail at the humanitarian center at Porte de la Chapelle in Paris (the “Yellow Bubble”). Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation during 2017, the article shows how the center provided migrants with a bed for the night while at the same time serving the political imperative to clear informal settlements from the streets of Paris. The design, like many others, therefore replicated both the compassionate discourse of humanitarianism and its deeply political functions.

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