Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CUBETTO Report Summary

Project ID: 729438

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CUBETTO (New CUBic shElter concepT TO foster living responses)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Problem - According to the UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide reached 65.3 million at the end of 2015, the highest level since World War II, with a more than 50% increase taking place since 2011, and more than 12.4 million individuals were forced to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere. In Europe, the migrant crisis dramatically exploded in 2015, when a growing number of refugees and migrants fled to the European Union (EU) to seek asylum, travelling across the Mediterranean Sea or through Southeast Europe. According to Eurostat, EU member states received over 1.2 million first time asylum applications in 2015, a number more than double that of the previous year. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), sadly reports that up to 3,770 people died or disappeared in 2015 in the Mediterranean while trying to migrate to Europe, and overall estimates are that over 25,000 migrants died between 2000 and 2015. Under the revised European Agenda on Migration, since 1999 the EU has been working to create a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and several legislative measures harmonising common minimum standards for asylum were adopted between 1999 and 2005 (first stage of the Common European Asylum System). Among them, the Recast Reception Conditions Directive 2013/33/EU (2013) ensures human material reception conditions (such as housing) for asylum seekers across the EU and that the fundamental rights of the concerned persons are fully respected. But even if the EU has spent years building the CEAS, many EU states have yet to properly implement the minimum standards and procedures set out for processing and assessing asylum applications, and for the treatment of both asylum seekers and those who are granted refugee status. The European answers to the problem of the migrants influx demonstrates that large differences exist with regard to the type of facilities and actors involved in the provision of reception. Whereas the majority of EU States accommodate applicants in collective facilities, some accommodate applicants in both collective and private facilities. Most EU States also make use of initial/transit facilities to house applicants during admissibility procedures, and many EU States also involve third parties in the management of reception facilities (e.g. NGOs and private sector companies). Some of the EU states, which represent our target contractors, draw clear institutional distinctions between the framework of “first reception” as hosting of new arrivals, on one hand, and second-line reception as accommodation of persons who have entered the asylum procedure on the other. In practice, what exists is a patchwork of 28 asylum systems producing uneven results, which produces an unstable system with regard to the procedures homogeneity and the reception conditions of the migrant flows.
Impact on European Society - According to international and regional laws, EU states have a responsibility to respect and ensure the human rights of everyone on their territory, and must provide adequate reception conditions in line with standards fixed in Europe in the above-mentioned Recast Reception Conditions Directive 2013/33/EU, but countries have differing interpretations of minimum standards and conditions. UNHCR continuously monitors the standard of living and quality of services of reception facilities, considering factors such as the time period asylum-seekers spend in detention, general living conditions in the various facilities (basic hygiene, quality and diversity of meals, availability of sports and recreational opportunities, and access to designated areas for praying), the qualifications of staff and interpreters in these places, the quality of education provided to school-aged children, and the quality of medical care. The effects of migration have important social consequences in Europe and in origin countries, and should be managed with an holistic approach comprising economic (work and resources management), social (education, health and culture issues) and political effects (inclusion and contrast to discrimination) on both side of the migration patterns (source/destination and migrant/caregivers).
Our overall objective - With arrivals of asylum seekers to the European Union occurring on a huge scale, Member States face overwhelming technical and political challenges. The resources and institutional capacity of some Member States have been stressed, leaving people homeless or in overcrowded and otherwise precarious shelter and livelihood conditions. The crisis situation that exploded in 2015 highlights the central importance of well-functioning reception systems for asylum seekers in EU. In this context, our project is clearly conceived and designed to reach the overall objectives that underlie the operations of a successful reception system, as emerged by the large amount of documents and reports carried out by the public and private entities in charge of migrants reception, and by national and international authorities involved in the monitoring and guarantee of asylum seekers rights. Hence, our CUBETTO technical solution set in the broader context of the reception centre models, aiming to provide the material basis for the creation of a dwelling structure able to guarantee decent living conditions and a stimulus to the retake of beneficiaries. Starting from our technical model, we have established a partnership with a Cooperative Company that in the context of northern Italy is accredited to migrants reception management, in order to realize a pilot reception model whose objective is not only the installation of a reception infrastructure respecting the highest reception standards, but also adaptable to be transformed from a second-level reception facility into a social housing system structure.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"During this Feasibility Study we have developed the technical features of our solution, which concerns the construction of a prefabricated dry type to build housing modules, logistic facilities, schools and hospitals, focusing on the needs of building structures related to humanitarian emergencies and degraded living situations, but also suitable for social housing projects and affordable construction in general. CUBETTO - New Cubic Shelter Concept to foster living responses is the first specific project developed and directed to provide a sustainable response to the phenomenon of the migration flows and the housing emergencies. The most important features of our proposed construction system are summarized in the ease, speed, affordability, housing performance and total recycling of the elements used. The project, in fact, does not pursue the objective of building a low cost emergency and temporary accommodation, more or less isolated containers or wood bungalow, but rather to build living units that are as close as possible to the current concept of home, considering all the social, cultural and technical performances aspects that this sensitive issue brings intrinsically with it. The result so far achieved is a modular concrete prefabricated system with mounting box way, a protective external case made of reinforced and isolated concrete and an internal living inner shell independent from the external. The prefabricated system can be completely disassembled and re-placed in the ground without any kind of structural legacies; from the foundations made of steel screw piles and high lift made directly by our company Ecobuilding s.r.l., which are screwed into the ground, and that, at the end of the cycle, can be unscrewed; to get to the reticular metal structure bolted, earthquake resistant and created by galvanized steel bolted-bent cold sections, the prefabricated optimized modular walls for an easy handling, even by non-skilled workers, and the detailed finishing, also modular and for high housing performance. Overall our structure, as conceived, is perfectly applicable also in social housing, tourism, residential and other logistics services. From the point of view of the organizational and commercial development of our business idea, we have defined the partner companies and the ways in which their tasks will be divided, as well as the legal form of the partnership. With technical partners, it will be initially constituted the form of "Temporary Business Grouping", with the idea to structure in the second year a "Network Company" for the joint development of the innovative business model. From the point of view of the organizational partners needed for the management of the reception facilities, we came in contact with a cooperative enterprise with relevant experience and expertise in the social and hospitality sectors, that will be in charge of the co-design and management of the first pilot installation of CUBETTO model, adapted for asylum seekers assistance. The idea of first CUBETTO installation as a second-line reception centre has emerged from a detailed analysis of the European problem of migrants and asylum seekers, starting from the Italian context as an access country for migrants' crossing the Mediterranean. We have analyzed the solutions currently used to address the problem of reception, identifying the major sources of financing and the stakeholders involved, in particular by analyzing the needs of the most vulnerable groups (women and children). The complexity of the issues and the several difficulties of the context has pushed immediately to characterize our CUBETTO model as a living solution suitable also to social housing, providing viable alternatives to our deployment strategy. From the analysis of companies that provide alternative solutions, the Freedom To Operate analysis comprising the research of intellectual property rights (patents, designs and trademarks) and the IPR strategy definition, we have concluded that today there are no construction alternatives with the same features of our CUBETTO, which has been protected by the Italian Utility Model Patent request on 21/09/2016 to the Italian Patent Register, with the ID Number: 202016000094617. Finally, the financial projections of the business model, forecasting an accumulated profit in the fifth year amounting to € 14.415.000,00 with a ROI equal to 2.28, and the information gathered on the persistence of migratory crises and their effects in forthcoming years, we have concluded that our business model is completely viable and cost-effective, and worth to continue the development of the idea, by designing and implementing a first pilot installation and further investment plan."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Starting from our technical model, our aim is to realize a pilot reception model whose objective is not only the installation of a reception infrastructure respecting the highest standards, but also adaptable to be transformed from a second-level reception facility into a social housing system structure. The outcome at the fifth year of deployment will be the creation of at least 9.600 places to accommodate migrants and asyum seekers in Europe. To this aim, our pilot application is conceived with the following specific objectives, that will drive us also in the forthcoming years of development of our business model:
Efficient Management of Resources - As reception is the most expensive component of any asylum system, the significant financial, infrastructure and human resource needs of reception organisations are often scrutinised by policymakers and publics alike. For this reason, the reception managers of our pilot model will be trained to secure and use, in the most efficient possible way, all the resources required to meet legal standards and provide for human needs. To this aim, the project consortium will define the methodology and set the organized system to monitor and continuously improve the management of the assets and expertise of the pilot application, proposing to develop the skills of reception professionals.
Flexibility - As the volatility of migrant ad asylum-seekers flows to and within the EU makes it impossible to prepare for all scenarios, our model aims at responding the need to expand the possible uses of a reception infrastructure, for which investment requires to be paid back considering a longer lifetime of the structure. For this reason, our reception model is conceived and designed to be adaptable for future possible use of social housing structure, comprising in this approach not only the technical implementation, but also the management system; indeed the living modules will be customized to be small homes instead simple shelters, and beneficiaries will be assisted and involved in the direct improvement and maintenance of the centre. In this way, our objective is to create a good practice for migrants retake and integration, based on a flexible approach that will consent to replicate our model.
Quality Standards adhered to across the European Union - Being designed by a team of experienced architects and managed by a recognized entity, our model will be implemented in line with demanding European and national legal standards that protect the rights of asylum seekers. The opportunity to build a novel affordable reception system will consent to meet expressively all the required standards, tackling hardship faced by individuals, and trying to contribute to the harmonization of international standards.
As first deployment, in Italy we have already start building a partnership with a Cooperative SME, which from 2011 deals with the reception of migrants in Lombardy, one of the Italian regions which hosts a large number of migrants who try to cross the Italian border headed towards northern Europe. The goal of this strategic partnership is to start a reception model in which the technical solution of our CUBETTO system is the operational support to the organization of functional activities, aimed to emancipation and personal recovery, which will be fundamental both in the process of integration and above all in the prospect of an eventual return to their home countries. For this purpose, the results of our Technical Feasibility Study, integrated into a wider and innovative project for migrants reception, will ensure not only a living space that meets the European standards, but also a spur to employability through the creation of training programs for construction and maintenance of the structures created.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top