In the next three decades, up to 150 million people are projected to have to relocate due to natural hazards accelerated by climate change. “Living together” will often mean “moving together.” The world has witnessed desperate migrations, forced displacements, and failed resettlement plans. These processes of moving together are unplanned, unfair, uncompensated, and reactive. In response, we ask:


How can communities move together—peacefully, justly, and productively with self-governance— and what can be the agency of design and planning in this process? This case study by MIT LCAU, the design firm KVA Matx and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, presents community relocation as a gradient of implementation options, choices and actions. Beginning with the tools and skills of the villagers and their deep knowledge of their land, we design a sequence of tasks that builds over time to address community needs. Strategic and actionable, this approach offers a flexible, scalable and replicable means for communities that face similar needs to live and move together.

Date: 2020-
Status: Ongoing
Client: Aga Khan Development Network
Location: High Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
Design Team:


James L.Wescoat Jr., Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Geography

WorkshopParticipants: CharlotteD’Acierno, Melika Konjicanin, Clarence Yi Hsien Lee, Joude El-Mabsout, JitskeSwagemakers, Jaehun Woo

TeachingAssistants: DorothyTang, Lily Bui

MIT ExhibitDesign: Zhicheng Xu


KVA Matx

Sheila Kennedy,FAIA | Principal: KVA matx | MIT: Professor of Architecture

Ben Widger, AIA| Senior Associate: KVA Matx

KVA DesignResearch Team: XioAlvarez, Karaghen Hudson, Will Qian, Patrick Weber

KVA ExhibitDesign: Nick Johnson,Kevin Marblestone, Greta Wong


This projectwas made possible with funding from the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat.

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Moving Together