The Legal


“Innovation often happens at the fringes of society. The challenge to all levels of society is to create change while playing by the rules.” Jaquline van Loon, Director of the Refugee Center, Amsterdam



Chapter 12:       Finding Space for Innovation

This chapter looks at rules and regulations concerning building and spatial planning and concerning migration policies. The regulations on building and construction are an important factor to take into consideration for the realization of temporary settlements. Migration legislation effects a potential group of pioneers in the temporary settlement and forms the background for integration and diversity issues, which is one of the areas to which temporary settlements can contribute solutions.

Laws tend to avoid the unwanted rather than stimulating the wanted. In the case of building regulations this tends to stifle production. In the case of migration regulations almost no attention is given to the question of how to make use of the skills and capacities of the migrants and refugees that despite the legal limitations do enter the country.


Ways out of paradoxical legal settings

In this chapter we develop solutions for bottlenecks and paradoxical realities in these two areas both within the existing regulations as well as by widening their margins. Ways are described how the temporary settlement can fit into the regulatory requirements.


Using existing buildings for the purposes of temporary settlements, that are already licensed but hard to rent out is a way to avoid complicated procedures, wherever such buildings are found. In areas that are to be newly developed and built, we suggest the introduction of temporary licenses as a way to create the flexibility required to implement temporary settlements.

In any case it is recommended to collaborate closely with local authorities as well as neighboring communities from the start to avoid appeals and objections and any lengthy legislative procedures.


Concerning the regulations on migration, the current legislation does not succeed fully in its aim of limiting migration but rather has the effect of making existing migration illegal. This leads to threats to public peace, safety and health by creating homelessness and illegal employment as well as to a filling up of scarce prison space with a non criminal population. We suggest to develop temporary working permits for asylum seekers involved in the procedures of a second appeal. Contrary to opinions often voiced, this can contribute to reducing the existing gap between first and second class employment, and to access a much needed labor force in areas like agriculture and care.

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