Publications

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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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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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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Journal

A Comparative Analysis of Coordination, Participation, and Training in Post-Disaster Shelter Projects

The delivery of post-disaster shelter assistance continues to be fraught with challenges derived from the coordination of resources, involvement of project stakeholders, and training of households and builders. There is a need to better understand what project elements in the delivery of post-disaster shelter projects most influence resilience and sustainability. To address this need, we examined nineteen post-disaster shelter projects in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. We first characterized coordination, participation, and training employed across the planning, design, and construction phases of shelter projects and then used fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to assess the influence of these elements, alone and in combination, on building resilient and sustainable community infrastructure systems. Findings show that early involvement of households in planning efforts, combined with subsequent training, was important in evolving recovery outcomes. Our results point to the importance of: (1) supporting household sheltering processes over delivering hard products; (2) strategically linking project processes across phases; and (3) aligning humanitarian actions with long-term development. Conclusions from this study contribute to theory of sheltering in developing communities and more broadly to theory of recovery processes that link to community resilience and sustainability.

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Timber framed wall of house under construction
Report

Typhoon Haiyan: Shelter Case Studies

This report presents 19 cases of humanitarian shelter implemented in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Lessons learned, barriers to implementation, and innovative methods are presented across projects in Cebu, Leyte, and Eastern Samar. The report also presents themes in shelter and beyond that defined recovery in communities affected by Haiyan.

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Blog Posts

News

Sheltering and housing displaced population special issue
News

Special Issue on Sheltering and Housing Displaced Populations in Sustainability

Dr. Aaron Opdyke and Dr Amy Javernick-Will (University of Colorado Boulder) are editing a special issue for the journal Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050, IF 2.592), entitled “Sheltering and Housing Displaced Populations.” This special issue seeks contributions focusing on sheltering and housing in post-disaster settlements. We seek contributions that bridge the humanitarian–development

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