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This article is part of MoMA’s publication: Insecurities, Tracing Displacement and Shelter (Spring 2017)
MoMA: Tracing displacement and Shelter exhibition

For over 60 million persons in the world today, shelter is defined through constant movement or escape. Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter explores the ways in which contemporary architecture and design have addressed notions of shelter in light of global refugee emergencies. From the strengthening of international borders to the logistics of mobile housing systems, how we understand shelter is ultimately defined through an engagement with security. Refugee camps, once considered temporary settlements, have become sites through which to examine how human rights intersect with the making of cities. Bringing together projects by architects, designers, and artists, working in a range of mediums and scales, that respond to the complex circumstances brought about by forced displacement, the exhibition focuses on conditions that disrupt conventional images of the built environment.

Organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

This exhibition is part of Citizens and Borders, a series of discrete projects at MoMA related to works in the collection offering a critical perspective on histories of migration, territory, and displacement.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional support is provided by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.

35.9176° N, 5.3670° W

Multiple territories are affected by transits, whether materially or formally, referencing two extremes of a spectrum that have been historically constitutive: arrival and departure.

Ceuta © He.Lo Architects 2017

This in between is a transformative context for people, the stranded and drifted, the uprooted and hopeful, who also share among these spaces a means to have their voices heard but, too often, not loudly enough.

Places such as Ceuta, adjacent to Morocco in North Africa, and other temporary settlements, refugee camps, and ports of exit, are witnessing migration on an unprecedented scale and are questioning notions of belonging and longing. Fears of the unknown and uncertainty, coupled with the global circulation of people, are not new phenomena, but sadly have reached new, record levels. Open and parallel structures converge along individuals’ paths for moments in time, often initiating an identity for remote places that are defined by temporality and unpredictability. How do we define these places? Connecting the realities of arrival and departure, of rejection and absorption, those structures that overcome geographical and political frontiers may be drawn in by typically unwanted and concealed spaces, while at the same time enhancing their accessibility.

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This article is part of MoMA’s publication: Insecurities, Tracing Displacement and Shelter (Spring 2017)

urbanNext (September 30, 2023) 35.9176° N, 5.3670° W. Retrieved from
35.9176° N, 5.3670° W.” urbanNext – September 30, 2023,
urbanNext March 23, 2017 35.9176° N, 5.3670° W., viewed September 30, 2023,<>
urbanNext – 35.9176° N, 5.3670° W. [Internet]. [Accessed September 30, 2023]. Available from:
35.9176° N, 5.3670° W.” urbanNext – Accessed September 30, 2023.
35.9176° N, 5.3670° W.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: [Accessed: September 30, 2023]

urbanNext | expanding architecture to rethink cities and territories


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