In Transit – and the role of built environment professionals in crisis contexts

Architect Håvard Breivik, Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)

Urbanization is growing and so are risks. Increasingly, humanitarians, development actors and peacekeepers are responding to crises in urban settings but are poorly equipped to understand and respond to cities’ complex dynamics – opportunities to mobilize local actors and collaborate with built environment experts are often missed. What are the reasons for this and how can this be improved? The talk will focus on the In Transit Studio – as one example of a strategic multisectoral partnership established to educate future built environment professionals, ready to take on the challenges of our times.
In Transit Studio is a hub for architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism students from all over the world who devote their skills and ideas to collaborative knowledge production about displacement, urbanization and space. The Studio is dedicated to exploring the subject of mobility and migration in the age of urbanization, and to propose local, spatial and site-specific solutions to global challenges. In Transit Studio is a master level course in architecture and urbanism at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design’s (AHO) Institute of Urbanism and Landscape in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)/NORCAP, a global and independent humanitarian organization helping people forced to flee. The Studio was created in 2016.

Håvard Breivik is an architect, assistant professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), and member of the Norwegian Refugee Council’s emergency standby roster, NORCAP. With a decade of experience from crisis response, humanitarian relief, and development efforts, Håvard has been deployed to United Nations agencies in Haiti, Nepal, North Macedonia, Hungary, and New York. Håvard is currently the Coordinator of Academia and the Built Environment for the Global Alliance for Urban Crises in New York, while being responsible for the MA course ‘In Transit Studio’ at the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape at AHO. He has studied in Paris and Shanghai, as a part of his MA degree in Architecture from AHO’s Institute of Urbanism and Landscape.