The Spatial Extensions of the Right to Seek Asylum

The Eastern Mediterranean Refugee Route


  • Melina Philippou MIT




The spatial extensions of the right to seek asylum is a project to investigate the first response of the European mainland to the humanitarian refugee crisis of 2015 through critical mapping. The site of exploration is the Eastern Mediterranean Route (EMR), a passage expanding from Greece to Germany through the Balkans, used for many years as an entry path into Europe. During the first quarter of 2015, the European Union temporarily formalised the EMR. It was the first time after the Second World War that Europe addressed statelessness in its territory. This essay discusses the spatial articulations of the EMR political reality through the analytical frame of the ethics of admissions. It unfolds its institutional geography, infrastructure, programme, and strategies and unveils the EMR territory as a transnational space of exception with its own rules and principles.


Syrian Refugee Crisis, Eastern Mediterranean Route, Ethics of Admissions, Critical Cartography, Border Management, Camp

Author Biography

Melina Philippou, MIT

Melina Philippou is an urban designer and researcher whose work explores the agency of spatial practices in the context of forced displacement. She is the programme director of the Future Heritage Lab (FHL) at the School of Architecture and Planning of MIT. She holds a degree in architecture from the National Technical University of Athens and a Master of Science in Urbanism from MIT as a Fulbright scholar.


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