Author

Publications

Disclaimer: This list of publications is only representative of works published in direct collaboration with our lab and may not represent a complete record of an individual’s scholarly works.

Build back safer key message poster
Journal

Prioritising Build Back Safer Messages for Humanitarian Shelter

Humanitarian shelter assistance increasingly employs build back safer messages as a technical assistance tool to disaster-affected communities. We sought to prioritise the importance of key messages for small, light-weight timber shelter using a combination of Delphi and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) methods. A panel of twelve academic and practitioner experts were asked to rank build back safer messages developed in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which have formed the basis for subsequent humanitarian messages in the Asia-Pacific region. Findings revealed three groups of shelter key messages by importance: (1) bracing and joints, (2) foundations, tie-downs, and roofing and (3) shape. However, there was low consensus among panellists in their judgements of these overall comparisons. The individual structural components used in guidance within each message were also ranked with high consensus among panellists. Our results were consistent with the original message ordering, but expert judgements revealed differing relative structural capacities between components. The resulting numerical weightings and rankings offer clearer guidance on the relative importance of different groups of build back safer messages for non-engineered shelter and housing in low- and middle-income countries. Results may help humanitarian agencies create more targeted messaging to support safer and more durable shelter.

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Woman standing in front of business in home
Report

Exploring the Role of Shelter and Livelihoods Recovery

We address the role of shelter and livelihood in humanitarian crises and how stronger livelihoods can support adequate shelter. Their proposed research asks how shelter and livelihood support can be better integrated into humanitarian response, looking at the tools used by humanitarian actors to understand livelihoods, how livelihood security and diversity affect shelter, and how existing inequalities affect shelter and livelihoods.

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Thatch home with open window
Report

Incoporating Local Building Practices in Response

We focus on ways to facilitate acceptance of local, non-engineered building techniques in post-disaster recovery. Local building practices cover a wide range of local knowledge and practices that are absent from building codes and may be overlooked by institutional actors. The research seeks to analysis social and engineering datasets and assist decision making.

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Housing under construction in Nepal
Journal

Adoption of Seismic-Resistant Techniques in Reconstructed Housing in the Aftermath of Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha Earthquake

Earthquake affected households too often insufficiently apply seismic construction knowledge during reconstruction. This study aims to assess to what degree safety guidelines have found their way to practice in Nepal. Differences are explored between communities in the Gorkha and Okhaldhunga districts, which received differing levels of technical assistance following the 2015 earthquakes. Seismic resistance of houses was assessed 3 years after the earthquakes. Findings from 955 houses in 25 communities show high degrees of adoption of earthquake-resistant construction knowledge in all selected communities. Variation in safer construction across communities differs only slightly for different intensities of humanitarian technical assistance. This finding points toward the need to more closely examine the communication methods employed and motivations of households to build back safer.

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Asphalt road with mountain in background
Journal

Mitigating Infrastructure Disaster Losses Through Asset Management Practices in the Middle East and North Africa Region

Despite expanding infrastructure investments in developing countries, maintenance of constructed infrastructure is not keeping pace and there is a growing need to focus on the long-term operational demands of new assets to reduce vulnerability. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, natural hazards and civil conflicts continue to undermine development and disaster risk management. This research sought to examine how infrastructure asset management can reduce the impact of disasters in the MENA region. Twelve interviews were conducted with asset management and disaster risk reduction experts the MENA region and Australia – the latter to identify transferable asset management best practices. Qualitative analysis of interviews identified regional lessons to advance asset management practice as a disaster risk reduction tool. The four main findings were: (1) asset management practice can be a proactive disaster policy; (2) there is need for appropriate levels asset management policy in the MENA region; (3) asset prioritisation improves the effectiveness and decision making in risk management; and (4) whole of life consideration enables effective planning for asset management practices. In alignment with the priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, this research unpacks geopolitical factors affecting disaster risk and provides knowledge to strengthen governance to manage disaster risk in the MENA region. The research further outlines the barriers and challenges that hinder successful asset management policy implementation, as well as proposes recommendations for disaster mitigation strategies using infrastructure asset management.

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Timber framing of house walls and roof
Journal

Defining a Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Research Agenda

Despite the knowledge gained on post-disaster sheltering and housing over the last several decades, there remains a disconnect in the evidence needed by humanitarian practitioners and the learning that the research community is capturing. To determine the research needed by practitioners, we assembled a Delphi panel of experts in humanitarian shelter and settlements. They first identified and then ranked the relative importance of research topics. Ninety-six research needs were identified and ranked by importance in six key areas that included: (1) comparing and evaluating approaches to sheltering, (2) shelter and settlement programming, (3) design and construction of shelter, (4) understanding impacts and outcomes of shelter, (5) disaster risk reduction and the humanitarian-development nexus, and (6) challenging contexts and topics. Top research priorities identified include a need to better understand how to support shelter self-recovery, longitudinal and long-term impacts of shelter, and the transition from response to recovery. The resulting needs provide a research agenda for humanitarian organisations, academic institutions, and donors, aligning with the Global Shelter Cluster’s strategy to invest in evidence-based response.

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Window of house with metal covering
Journal

Knowledge Adoption in Post-Disaster Housing Self-Recovery

The purpose of this study is to explore communication of hazard-resistant construction techniques after disaster in the absence of outside influence. It further aims to unpack the barriers and drivers in the adoption of knowledge processes to identify strategic recommendations to enlarge adoption of safer construction practices by local construction actors. This paper is based on analysis of stakeholder perspectives during post-disaster reconstruction in the Philippines in the province of Busuanga after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Data was collected from six communities that received no external housing assistance, analyzing surveys from 220 households, 13 carpenters, 20 key-actors coordinating reconstruction or recovery efforts, as well as 12 focus group discussions. This research argues for a stronger role of governmental agencies, vocational training schools and engineers. Current communication of typhoon-resistant construction knowledge is ineffective to stimulate awareness, understanding and adoption by local construction actors and self recovering households. The analysis in this study focuses on a small sample of communities in the west of the Philippines that are not frequently affected by typhoons. This is one of the few scholarly works in the Philippines focused on adoption of safer construction practices by community-based construction actors when technical housing assistance is absent.

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Two students sit around computer in office
Briefing Note

An Open Data Approach to Mapping Urban Drainage Infrastructure in Developing Communities

This study seeks to propose a standardized approach and methods for mapping urban drainage systems in developing communities. The research draws on a case study from the Philippines, which sought to conduct rapid elevation surveys and drainage assessments employing open source geographical information system (GIS) tools. We develop a standardized procedure for digitizing drainage systems using OpenStreetMap and Field Papers, as well as discuss applications of this data for drainage design. The results contribute to a methodological framework that can be replicated in other similar developing communities where study of urban drainage is needed for sustainable development and disaster risk reduction efforts.

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Concrete lined drain with flowing water
Journal

An Open Data Approach to Mapping Urban Drainage Infrastructure in Developing Communities

Urban flooding in developing countries represents a growing threat to sustainable development efforts, yet the tools needed to study these infrastructure systems in data-scarce environments are woefully inadequate. This study seeks to propose a standardized approach and methods for mapping urban drainage systems in developing communities. The research draws on a case study from the Philippines, which sought to conduct rapid elevation surveys and drainage assessments employing open source geographical information system (GIS) tools. We develop a standardized procedure for digitizing drainage systems using OpenStreetMap and Field Papers, as well as discuss applications of this data for drainage design. The results contribute to a methodological framework that can be replicated in other similar developing communities where study of urban drainage is needed for sustainable development and disaster risk reduction efforts.

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Timber framing of house under construction
Briefing Note

Defining a Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Research Agenda

In the face of rising challenges, the humanitarian system is facing unprecedented change that requires better incorporation of past learning, but also the generation of new knowledge that can support aid to better assist communities affected by conflict and disaster. For the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector, there is an unclear roadmap for future research. The Global Shelter Cluster, in its current strategy , has called for the need to “further analyse existing evidence and gaps and set out a broader operational field research agenda.” This priority is one of four key pillars aimed to strengthen humanitarian shelter and settlement actors’ ability to respond effectively to crises. This study aimed to prioritise research needs within the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector. Drawing on Delphi methods, we solicited opinions on research needs from a panel of humanitarian shelter and settlement experts over three rounds of online surveys.

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Blog Posts

Poorly constructed houses sit next to ocean
Blog

Urban Sheltering: Evidence on Rental Subsidies and Hosting

Shelter is more than just four walls and a roof. Ask a family what a shelter provides and their first responses likely won’t be protection from the elements. Instead, you will generally hear about its value in supporting their storefront and livelihood or its function as a social gathering place.

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List of disaster journals plotted by bubbles representing impact
Blog

The Landscape of Hazard and Disaster Journals

As many researchers find, navigating the mass of academic journals can be overwhelming. The field of hazard and disaster research is particularly challenging given its inherently inter-disciplinary nature. I set out to compile a list of relevant hazard and disaster journals, as well as metrics that might characterize their relative

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Rows of blue resettlement housing with worn paint
Blog

Can We Draw a Line Between Humanitarian and Development Work?

Humanitarian workers have been busy recently. Conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe continued to drive an unprecedented number of migrants and refugees seeking asylum to Europe. Conflicts in Africa, such as the ongoing civil war in South Sudan,  continue to exacerbate already dire conditions. News headlines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

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Damaged masonry wall with coast in background
Blog

Co-creating Knowledge of Resilience Principles through Local Stories

Resilience – it’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? How would you explain it to disaster victim? How would they explain it to you? This November will mark the second anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda that smashed into the Philippines, making landfall as

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