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116 | This is Architecture as Well

Rania Qawasma is a Palestinian-American Architect working in the areas of social equity, affordable housing and community-based design projects. As the founder of Architecture for Refugees-USA, and co-founder of Color My Home project, she focuses on refugees’ advocacy. She is the creator of “This is Home”, an award-winning infographic guidebook for refugees.

116 | This is Architecture as Well

Rania holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture engineering and a master’s degree in sustainable design from the Boston Architectural College. She is an active member in the Arab-American community and works with local organizations across a variety of media to assist Syrian and Iraqi refugees resettling in the Seattle area. Her vision is to encourage architects, designers, and thinkers to join the larger movement and engage in offering solutions for the displacement crisis.

Rania is perhaps best known for her book project: “This is Home” (link below). The “This is Home” project is an ever-evolving infographic guide designed to help refugees assimilate into their new homes. The project has met with resounding success and is currently being adapted for new communities all over the world.

Animating these works is the belief that community-based design exists as a powerful tool to help refugees join communities – but only if refugees themselves are partners in that process. Qawasma’s work is a rejection of old ideas where refugees are merely on the receiving end of a designer’s intent. Instead, she advocates a fluid partnership between designer, refugee, community and art.

We were fortunate enough to be joined by Rania on our podcast Social Design Insights, where she shared with us her vision of a world where refugees are welcome.


Our opening theme music for 2019 is "Bang Bang" and our closing theme is "Salvame" both by Eljuri from her album "La Lucha." The break music for this episode is "Arabanta" by Chaz Kkoshi from the compilation album "Rock the Tabla."