Building Wellbeing: An Ethnography of Temporary Refugee Housing in Berlin and Brandenburg
Communal refugee accomodations in Berlin were planned for short-term living; from their design to the regulations implemented within them, these buildings are structured to reinforce the ‘temporary’ nature of the stay. In the long term, refugees should find themselves a private accommodation. In reality; however, many find the search for private accommodation an impossible mission in Berlin’s overly-subscribed and discriminative rental system. This creates a paradox, on the one hand, many people are desperately seeking to find private accommodation and begin their next chapter in Berlin whilst on the other hand they grow roots in these temporary accommodations creating something that has a sense of permanency and ownership. However, growing roots is not always an easy project in these accommodations as people must navigate rules and regulations which define such intimacies as how someone may sleep. Through studying the everyday embodied and material practices, routines and habits of people within these accommodations, I seek to better understand the ways in which spatial and power structures are navigated and resisted through the body. The project seeks to bring together the body, material culture and homemaking in order to better understand the effects that temporary accommodation has on refugees’ conceptualisations and practices of wellbeing.