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Supervisor: Dr Maximilian Sternberg

Toby Parsloe picture


Research overview:

Toby’s PhD research examines the spatial implications of the ‘camp’ that has manifested in European cities during the so-called ‘European refugee crisis’ of 2015, with a particular focus on Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s historic decision to allow over one million predominantly Syrian refugees to apply for asylum in Germany had radical implications on the institutional forms of accommodation for asylum seekers. Throughout the country municipalities deployed a variety of strategies and structures to process and house the new arrivals. While these interventions posed socio-political challenges everywhere, it was in cities where problems were particularly acute, as significant numbers of arrivals served to exacerbate a pre-existing affordable housing crisis that was already affecting Germans and migrants alike. In Berlin, the state has produced new typologies of refugee accommodation that seeks to facilitate their integration into the city. Using ethnographic interviews with refugees living in these accommodations, the research conceptually explores intertwining literatures on forced migration, governance, and spatiotemporal materiality through an architectural lens to understand the nature of these spaces and how they shape trajectories of arrival for the refugees in the city. 



Toby is a fourth year PhD student based in the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research. He has a BA in History from the University of Bristol and an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies. He has also worked in the UK civil service and for the London Mayor’s office, which support his long-term focus of utilising academic understandings to shape approaches to urbanism in both the public and private sectors. His PhD is supported by the AHRC and Pembroke College.