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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


The Sustainable Shelter Group (SSG) is a research and design collaborative that brings together professional design expertise, academic research, and experienced humanitarian practitioners to create integrated, sustainable and relevant sheltering solutions at any scale and in any geography.


The Sustainable Shelter Group (SSG) was established in 2020 to respond to the need for better collaboration between academic researchers, humanitarian practitioners, shelter professionals, and other stakeholders, to help create more evidence-based approaches and improved outcomes in the Shelter and Settlements Sector.

Human shelter is a process that needs to do a lot, with limited resources: provide healthy and practical protection which is enabling, relevant, and sustainable in the broadest sense not only for its inhabitants, but also to its social, political, economic, cultural, environmental and physical contexts – all within an agreed budget and timeline. To create such sustainable shelter requires an integrated approach that understands sheltering as a strategic and interdisciplinary collaborative process. 



We bring together professional design expertise, academic research, and experienced humanitarian practitioners to create integrated, sustainable, and relevant sheltering solutions - from policy, planning, and systems, to physical structures and more.

We undertake independent, collaborative, and commissioned research and design on all aspects of shelter and the sheltering process.

We bring together and manage collaborative teams to create effective sheltering solutions, on time and on budget. 

We promote thoughtful and informed discussion of best practices, approaches, research, and thinking on shelter through a range of public events.

We disseminate our work through public talks, lectures, exhibitions, publications, films, and other media outputs.



Dr Mark E Breeze AIA (Founding SSG Chair) is a Harvard-trained licensed architect and a Cambridge-based academic, who completed his post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre.  His design research, teaching, and creative practice explores the theories and practices of sustainable shelter. He has several years of international professional architectural experience with a particular expertise in integrated sustainability, and he currently also serves as the inaugural UK Sustainability Chair and a Board Director for the American Institute of Architects.  His recent shelter research includes ‘Structures of Protection? Rethinking Refugee Shelter’ (Berghahn, 2020), the award-winning feature documentary 'Shelter Without Shelter' (2020), and contributions to the IWM London exhibition 'Refugees: Forced to Flee' (2020). 

Jennifer Ward George (SSG Co-Chair) is a researcher in Architectural Engineering and Design Fellow for the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.  She researches the processes behind the design of shelter projects in displacement situations, including both natural disasters and conflict scenarios. A key output of her research is The Shelter Schema - a software-enabled tool providing ease of access to information to help direct shelter projects following disaster situations in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration and



Please  to discuss how we can collaborate or undertake commissioned research or design consultancy for you or your organisation.

Follow us on Twitter @ShelterResearch



Shelter Without Shelter (2020) Directed by Mark E Breeze (SSG Co-Chair), wins RIFA Best Research Film of 2020.

- Jennifer George (SSG Co-Chair) has been nominated to attend the 2021 UN Migration Youth Forum, specifically joining the roundtable on Leveraging New Technologies to Empower Migrants. This is officially linked to the XIII Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) chaired by the United Arab Emirates.

As part of “The Shelter Schema” project funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, the Sustainable Shelter Group are working with IOM on their IEC Materials Database. You can see the introduction video here.



Articles + Books

Breeze, M. & Ward-George, J.  (2021) ‘From the Local to the General: The Architecture of Evaluating Emergency Shelter Responses in Asia and the Pacific’, in Lewis, T., & Inanc, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Forced Displacement and NGOs in Asia Pacific. Routledge. [Under Review]

Breeze, M. (2020). Towards Better Shelter: Rethinking Humanitarian Sheltering.  In: Scott-Smith, T. & Breeze, M. (eds.) Structures of Protection? Rethinking Refugee Shelter. Oxford: Berghahn, 287-300.

Scott-Smith, T. & Breeze, M. (eds.) (2020) Structures of Protection? Rethinking Refugee ShelterOxford: Berghahn. 

Ward George, J. & Hodgkin, D. (2020) Invisibility and Virality in Urban Shelter Response.  Forced Migration Review: Cities and Towns. Issue 63, 43-47.


Multimedia + Exhibitions

Shelter Without Shelter (2020) [Film] Directed by: Mark E Breeze. UK, Oxford Cambridge Development Films. 

Shelter Inventory (2020) [Website] Created by: Mark E Breeze, Tom Scott-Smith, & Papawarin Pinij. 

Refugees: Forced to Flee (2020) [Exhibition] Imperial War Museum, London, 02 April – 20 November.

Lande: The Calais ‘Jungle’ and Beyond (2019) [Exhibition] Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, 27 April - 29 November.

Infrastructures of Care: Spaces of Refuge and Displacement (2019) [Exhibition] UCL Bartlett, London, 01 February - 31 March.


Lectures + Talks

BBC World Service ‘Weekend’: Shelter Without Shelter (2020) [Radio] Discussion with Mark E Breeze. 14 November. 

Breeze, M.,  Newby, T., Srikanthan, S. & Ward George, J. (2020) The Politics of Emergency Shelter[Talks] Centre for Geopolitics, University of Cambridge, 27 May.

Breeze, M. & Ward George, J. (2020) Could You Shelter-in-place in Only 3.5m2? [Online Forum] Centre for Geopolitics, University of Cambridge.

Ward George, J. (2020) The Shelter Schema: Rationalizing Design Decisions in Shelter Projects. [Lecture]. Scholars Forum, Cambridge, 03 March.

Ward George, J. (2020) Invisibility and Virality in Shelter Projects. [Seminar] Department of Engineering, Cambridge, 28 February.

Breeze, M. (2020) Urgent Questions for Sheltering Refugees in Cities. [Guest Speaker] Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, Cambridge, 25 February.

Breeze, M. (2020) Migration Research Methods: Shelter. [Talk] Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, Cambridge, 13 January.

Breeze, M. & Scott-Smith T. (2019) Shelter Without Shelter. [Talk] Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford, 18 November.

Breeze, M. (2019) Engineering Links, Connecting Industry and Academia. [Talk] Future Infrastructure and the Built Environment Conference, University of Cambridge, 31 October.

Breeze, M., Cole, G., Habash, D., Scott-Smith, T. & Ward George, J. (2019) Finding Shelter, Defining Shelter. [Talk] Festival of Ideas, Cambridge, 16 October.

Breeze, M. & Scott-Smith T. (2019) Meeting MindsShelter Without Shelter. [Talk] University of Oxford, 21 September.

Ward George, J. (2019) The Shelter Schema. [Talk] Peterhouse College, Cambridge, 29 June.

Breeze, M. (2019) Shelter Without Shelter. [Lecture] Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, Cambridge, 08 May.

Breeze, M. (2019) Architecture and Displacement. [Panel] Discussion with Robert Mull (University of Brighton), Tom Newby (CARE), and Jasmin O'Hara (Worldwide Tribe). HdM Gallery, London, 02 April.

Breeze, M. (2018) Refugee Shelter: Design, Building and Engagement. [Talk] Royal Institute of British Architects, 30 April.

Breeze, M. (2018) Flat Design: An Elemental Attitude. [Lecture] Structures of Protection Workshop, University of Oxford, 20 July.

Breeze, M. (2017) Towards a Different Architecture. [Lecture] Chinese Academy of the Arts, Nanjing University, China, 12 November.

Breeze, M. (2017) Ikea, Not Architecture: The Flatpack Refugee Shelter and Its Critics. [Lecture] Image & Object: Architecture Workshop, Centre for Visual Studies, Oxford, 03 March.

Breeze, M. (2017) Building Without Architecture. [Lecture] Beyond Crisis: Rethinking Refugee Studies Conference, University of Oxford, 16 March.

BBC Radio 4 ‘Four Thought’: Building for a New Life (2017) [Radio] Talk given by: Mark E Breeze. London Design Museum, 14 January. 


Seminars + Workshops

Structures of Protection (2018) [Workshop] Convened by Mark E Breeze & Tom Scott-Smith. University of Oxford, 18 - 20 July.

Emergency Shelter and Forced Migration (2016) [Seminar Series] Convened by Mark E Breeze & Tom Scott-Smith. University of Oxford, September – December.