Refugee Spatial Awareness: Evidence from Za’atari

Wednesday Sep 28   05:00 PM to 07:00 PM (2 hours)
Spatial AwarenessMental MapsRefugees
This research considers the relationship between spatial cognition and situation awareness, or “spatial awareness” in a refugee camp. Specifically, we present some of the first research on spatial awareness using empirical data collected in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Results showed clear spatial awareness differences between male and female in terms of camp infrastructure completeness. This result is likely based on the underlying cultural dynamics of the refugee population. We outline areas for future refugee spatial awareness research such as community asset mapping. A better understanding of how refugees maintain spatial awareness in camp settings can inform GIScience research aimed at (a) identifying new methodologies and educational pathways for supporting spatial awareness in long-term displacement situations, (b) refugee camp design, and (c) space/time representations to ultimately improve the lives of people that are forced to leave their homes and countries due to natural disasters or armed conflicts.
Rochester Institute of Technology

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