Where should they go? 70 million displaced refugees and asylum seekers with no passport, no money, and no worldly goods. In 380 B.C. Plato wrote about the “Ideal City,” but it wasn’t until 1516 AD that Sir Thomas More invented the word, “Utopia,” translated from Greek as “good place,” that is in need of a new, contemporary interpretation.
It is within the framework of utopia that the City of Refugees represents a place that transcends the fate of the refugee and the reason they were torn from their homeland and not given safe haven fleeing their country. It is a concept for a new city that welcomes these optimistic people looking for a place to be free from oppression. The City of Refugees is a soft place to land that believes in the future.
The University of Houston College of Architecture + Design with 135 students is proposing four cities on four continents as prototypes that represent a real Utopia for housing the unprecedented migration of people moving across borders. This UN-sponsored, free economic zone for the four cities can be funded by small fractions of the defense budgets appropriated by the UN. The innovative cities create a platform for a new, multi-ethnic society based upon justice, tolerance, and economically viable with a net zero energy consumption within a sustainable environment. The new three-dimensional cities redefine the concept of streets by no longer needing cars creating a real utopia for those with no voice.