The Neighborhood Approach: Establishing Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Guidelines on Implementation

The Neighborhood Approach: Establishing Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Guidelines on Implementation


The project seeks to (i) assess the long-term impacts of the project on the residents of the Ravine Pintade neighborhood (Haiti) on a broad range of variables including housing; public infrastructure; livelihoods; safety, security, and protection for women, children, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities; health; and disaster risk management; (ii) assess similar attributes of nearby neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince to better understand the comparative impacts the approach had on long-term risk to disasters, vulnerability, and neighborhood reconstruction; (iii) produce a comprehensive case study of the  project and the results of the sustainability study and disseminate the study and lessons learned and recommendations for future practice to donors, governments, and humanitarian organizations; and (iv) produce a guidance manual with stakeholder-specific sections on the use of the settlements approach as a platform for emergency response, recovery, and risk mitigation, intended to inform policy and practice among key humanitarian stakeholders, with a focus on implementing partners.


United States Agency for International Development Office for U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), $200,000 USD

Roles: Jim DeFrancesca (CI), Laura Jones (CI), Aaron Opdyke (Consultant)

Project Status

Research Questions

  1. How does the “Neighborhood Approach” facilitate better coordinated and integrated responses in urban contexts, as compared to programming that does not use the approach?
  2. How does the “Neighborhood Approach” promote more effective community participation and engage communities in more substantive decision-making, as compared to programming that does not use the approach?

Research Methods

The study design is cross-sectional, qualitative and descriptive. Data will be collected using checklists, focus group discussions and interviews.


The outcome of this research will be relevant to humanitarian assistance technical staff, NGO management staff, government agencies in countries with elevated levels of urban vulnerability (such as ministries of housing and national emergency response agencies), and donors in international development and emergency response. This research will further serve to contribute to the discourse on the neighborhood approach by beginning to build an evidence base while also providing lessons learned for practitioners on how and when the approach can be applied. The outcomes of this research will help to inform humanitarian practice in the following areas:

  • The design of disaster response programs, particularly in complex contexts and urban areas;
  • Strategies on the integration of key technical sectors such as health, WASH, protection, livelihoods, DRR, and shelter and settlements, as well as how to pursue them in an integrated fashion with the participation of local communities;
  • Strategies to coordinate responses, both between consortium partners, as well as across other responding agencies, such as those coordinating through the cluster system.
  • Strategies to accelerate neighborhood level rehabilitation (including cash-for-work, rubble removal, emergency shelter, transitional shelter, and addressing barriers to neighborhood reconfiguration, such as land slope, density, and improving access and egress); and
  • Implications of the neighborhood approach to accelerate recovery and reduce vulnerability, as well as for humanitarian coordination (i.e. the cluster system) and funding mechanisms in emergency contexts.