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  1. ITV Report

West Country University leads global refugee project.

A refugee camp in Vagiohori, Greece where people lived in tents made for summer conditions. Photo: PA

Researchers from the University of Bath will today begin a three year project to design housing for refugee camps in extreme climates.

The team is leading a group of international experts who aim to improve living conditions in countries where temperatures range from 45 degrees to minus 10.

Refugees at a camp in Greece where they experience extremes in weather conditions Credit: PA

It's the largest global study into housing displaced people and will hopefully create low-cost and easy-to-constuct housing.

20 possible shelter designs will be looked at- all designed to moderate extremes of temperature and ensure the privacy, comfort and dignity of residents.

The research will be the largest global study into thermal, air quality and social conditions in camps housing displaced people.

Children play at a refugee camp on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border Credit: PA

Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan, the German Jordanian University and Mersin University in Turkey are collaborating in the work.

Those living in the refugee camps, as well as aid agencies, will be asked for their views on how housing and social care can be improved.

I have witnessed first hand the daily struggles of displaced people to lead dignified lives in difficult conditions, and decent housing can make an immense difference.

I am therefore excited to collaborate with colleagues from the fields of architecture and civil engineering in a process of shelter design that meaningfully engages the views and aspirations of refugees themselves.

– Dr Jason Hart, University of Bath
Credit: PA

The researchers will utilise building physics to come up with designs for shelters which naturally stay warm in winter and cool in the summer.

They'll come up with 20 possible designs, six of which will be constructed in the UK and tested at the University's climate chamber.

The most promising of these designs will then be transported to Jordan to test in local conditions, with camp occupants and aid agencies providing feedback.

Refugee camps were originally seen as a short-term solution but many across the world exist for years and even decades.<

The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of human displacement with conflicts such as in Syria leading to the creation of a new generation of refugee camps.

Refugee camp Darul-Aman in Kabul, Afghanistan Credit: PA

The extreme climates experienced by those living in refugee camps inspired me to propose this project which will truly push the boundaries of my research into low-energy building design.

– Professor David Coley, the University of Bath

The project, entitled Healthy Housing for the Displaced, has received £1.5million of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.