Briana Meier, doctoral student, Environmental Studies
“Emerging Cultures of Belonging: Building the Uncertain Spaces of Germany’s Citizen-Refugee Communities”
This research project, which began with my participation in the UO Portland Urban Architecture Research Lab, investigates German communities that have responded ethically to that country’s ongoing refugee crisis. Forging local, temporary, and informal spaces that link refugees to German citizens is essential to the emergence of communities of solidarity. I plan to study one German community, the small town of Silberstedt, where a unique partnership among citizens, the mayor, and refugee migrants appears to be fostering a culture of belonging. Research methods will include interviews, participant observation, and sound walks, during which collaborators produce audio recordings of their everyday experiences. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how the German case can inform other situations of displacement and disruption around the world.