Cite as: Voulgaris, D. & G. Meli, 2018, 'Spatial structures and the future of refugee camps in Lesvos (Greece)'. Paper presentet at 11th International Conference of the Hellenic Geographical Society, Lavrio (Greece), 12-15 April 2018.
The last years, the island of Lesvos has become the main entrance to Europe for many refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and African countries. This ongoing humanitarian crisis has changed the socio-spatial landscape of the island, challenging the local and national authorities as well as the EU. Looking back on the island's modern history, refugees from the Minor Asia arrived after the Catastrophe of Smyrna (Izmir) and some of them eventually settled in. Their adjustment to the environment and their integration with the existing population has changed the urban and socioeconomic landscape creating a new era for the island. This paper questions the urban future of refugee camps in Lesvos through interviews. The key informants, somehow involved in the humanitarian response, are asked to analyse the situation and to reflect on the future of Moria and Kara Tepe camps. Conceptualising the camp as a spatial structure, the interviewees are asked to elaborate on whether or not refugees and migrants will be part of the island within the next 20 years as it happened approximately a century ago with the first wave of refugees. We take into account the differences in terms of customs, traditions and culture and the new policies implemented in Greece. We conclude reflecting on the "urban futures" for Moria and Kara Tepe camps.