Dataset for "Participatory Design in Refugee Camps: Comparison of Different Methods and Visualisation Tools"

Shelters for the displaced can suffer from socio-cultural incompatibility and significant levels of occupant dissatisfaction. Participatory Design (PD) is known to help reduce such issues. This is the first study to investigate the effectiveness of different PD methods at engaging and capturing users’ needs for shelter design in refugee camps. It also aimed to identify which visualisation tools are best at: engaging participants; communicating designs (e.g. concept, size and materials); and facilitating proposing modifications. This is a particularly large study with 16 workshops and 161 participants. Two PD methods were deployed: (i) Design-your-own (where refugees proposed their ideal shelter); (ii) Adapt-a-design (where refugees evaluated and modified pre-existing shelter designs). The shelters in (ii) were presented using three visualisation tools: computer models, physical prototypes and virtual reality.

This dataset includes demographic information of the participants of the workshops, and the participant evaluations of the three visualisation tools tested in the Adapt-a-design workshops.


Cite this dataset as:
Albadra, D., 2020. Dataset for "Participatory Design in Refugee Camps: Comparison of Different Methods and Visualisation Tools". Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


[QR code for this page]


All PD data - published.xlsx
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet (42kB)
Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0

Participants background info and responses to methodology evaluation


Dima Albadra
University of Bath


Kemi Adeyeye
Work Package Leader
University of Bath

University of Bath
Rights Holder


Data collection method:

Four series of workshops were conducted to evaluate the use of traditional and contemporary methods as viable tools for capturing user values and requirements for shelters. These workshops can be categorised under two approaches: a. The first approach termed ‘Design your Own’ focused on giving participants a ‘blank canvas’ – in the form of paper, pens and pencils, plasticine, Lego® and a kit-of-parts. Participants were asked to use any of these mediums to conceptualise and articulate their ‘ideal’ shelter. This first workshop approach was one step further than asking the refugees a series of standard questions in order to capture their shelter needs and requirements and can be used at the early design stages. b. The second approach is termed ‘Adapt a Design’ and it utilised four pre-designed shelter typologies (deployable, modular, assemblage and freeform) presented in three ways: b1. Computer-produced architectural drawings and models in 2D and 3D shown on A2 paper and/or projected on screen (ACM); b2. Physical models or prototypes (PP); and b3. Virtual reality (VR). This approach can be implemented after an initial design has been developed by the humanitarian agencies to gain feedback on the proposed design. The evaluation was based on three activities; design assessment, design modification & method assessment. 161 refugees participated in these workshops. At the end of 'adapt a design' workshops, participants were asked to evaluate the visualisation tool used. This data set provides the participants background and responses on the evaluation sheets.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Healthy Housing for the Displaced

Publication details

Publication date: 24 March 2020
by: University of Bath

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Albadra, D., Elamin, Z., Adeyeye, K., Polychronaki, E., Coley, D. A., Holley, J., and Copping, A., 2020. Participatory design in refugee camps: comparison of different methods and visualization tools. Building Research & Information, 49(2), 248-264. Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Dima Albadra


Faculty of Engineering & Design
Architecture & Civil Engineering

Research Centres & Institutes
Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn)