Ennead Partner Don Weinreich's Op-ed in Governing Magazine: “Communities Have More to Offer Migrants Than They Realize”

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Ennead Partner Don Weinreich FAIA authored an op-ed in Governing Magazine with Eliza Montgomery AIA, entitled “Communities Have More to Offer Migrants Than They Realize”, where they discuss how design thinking can be applied to the current crisis of migration in American cities and how the tools of architecture offer ways to assess and optimize community resources to welcome and integrate new populations.

They draw upon lessons learned internationally from Rethinking Refugee Communities, the award-winning collaboration between Ennead Lab, Stanford University, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has explored the process of planning refugee settlements with the goal of nurturing mutually beneficial relationships among refugees and host communities. The project yielded a much-lauded toolkit, which is an adaptable, systematic framework for integrating information, design, technical tools, and the expertise of multiple disciplines to better plan for the spatial needs of displaced peoples.

They share Ennead Lab’s updated toolkit for the American context, which provides a framework for public- and private-sector action across law, public health, education, architecture, engineering, community organizations and migrant populations, and advocate for a holistic, national approach:

The scale of the crisis, and the available time for response under emergency constraints, means that communities cannot come up with solutions in isolation. We need to support these places — big and small — and their leaders with a national approach, complete with tools, shared resources and a catalog of best practices that will help streamline their responses to the complex challenges they face.

Here is where the design community can offer help. As architects, we are imploring our colleagues and those in adjacent industries to step up and lend their collective expertise to this urgent moment. Together, we can apply our skill sets and the benefits of design thinking in service of creating adaptable, locally appropriate solutions that promote dignity and humanity and that add to the cultural and economic betterment of our communities.

Read the op-ed in Governing Magazine here.

Learn more about Ennead Lab’s work with UNHCR here.

Explore the updated toolkit here.