At the heart of a municipal waste centre, home to 400 Burmese migrants, lies an island of green and a site where space, power and identity collide. Faced with decades of structural inequality which have denied them access to social and economic opportunities, the migrants in this community have sought refuge in Mae Sot, Thailand where they collect plastic for a nominal profit. For two years, Estudio Cavernas has trained members of this community, utilizing a holistic approach to capacity development in which workers are trained in sustainable construction techniques sourcing local materials for the development of their own communities. Located at the core of the settlement, the Green Island provides a centrally located, accessible, and safe space where children can learn and play together. Premised on the formative power of physical space, the Island is designed to create multiple opportunities to fulfil children’s social, physical, and cognitive needs. At the focal point of the island is a community centre that doubles as a classroom.
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