Publications

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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Construction worker nailing flooring on timber house
Journal

Household Construction Knowledge Acquisition in Post-Disaster Shelter Training

The incorporation of safer building practices into shelter after disasters continues to plague recovery efforts. While limited resources are one potential cause, evidence from case studies suggests that poor adoption of safer construction may stem from a knowledge deficit. Despite these shortcomings, previous research has done little to examine the current state of construction education and training in post-disaster shelter and housing, and there is lacking evidence to support how households acquire new knowledge of construction practice. Examining nineteen shelter projects in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, training methods were categorized using Kolb’s experiential learning theory poles. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was then used to analyze the impact of these methods on community construction knowledge. Findings reveal that households acquired knowledge either through a combination of formal training methods that encompassed reflective observation, active experimentation, and concrete experiences or alternatively through observation of on-site construction activities.

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Line of water cans on ground
Journal

Constructing Authority in Disaster Relief Coordination

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 beams intersect under roofing
Report

Typhoon Haiyan Overview

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) made landfall on 8 November 2013 and was one of the largest typhoons ever recorded. While the main government response consisted of subsidies for housing reconstruction or repair, humanitarian agencies used a range of approaches which included cash- or voucher-based interventions, but also training and construction of transitional, core or permanent shelters. Particular issues in this response included the lack of support for secure tenure, the lifespan of transitional shelter solutions and the poor quality control, particularly in regards to coco-lumber.

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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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Timber posts laying on ground
Conference

Characterizing Post-Disaster Shelter Design and Material Selections: Lessons from Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines

Following a disaster, communities, governments, and organizations are required to make rapid decisions that will govern the path towards long-term recovery. Hazard-resistant shelter designs have long been heralded as necessary for facilitating resilient and sustainable reconstruction; however, there is sparse documentation of designs implemented. We examine the case of design and building material selection for 20 shelter projects following Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, using photo documentation, interview data and field observations as a means to document rates of design adoption and choices in material selection. Findings use the shelter cluster ‘8 Key Messages’ as a framework to assess level of improved shelter design. Results highlight improved foundations, roofing, building shape and site selection and identify deficits in structural elements, including connections, bracing, and joints. Findings quantify design features that saw poor uptake by organizations and hold potential to inform future practice that encourages hazard-resistant design in the Philippines and other future international disaster responses.

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Digital lines connecting
Conference

Building Coordination Capacity: Post-Disaster Organizational Twitter Networks

Effective coordination is essential for post-disaster reconstruction. Presently, however, there are relatively few tools to help organizations manage coordination and communication of post-disaster construction activities. Given the recent increase in use of social media platforms, we examine the use of Twitter following Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. A network of organizations in the infrastructure sector is created to capture the coordination structure, as depicted through social media, analyze organizational messaging and determine key actors. A content analysis of tweets further examined emergent themes in the distribution of information through Twitter. This network perspective lends insight into future applications of how organizations can leverage social media as a means of sustained coordination for long-term, on the ground efforts extending past initial emergency relief phases.

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Blog Posts

Team members carrying out elevation surveys
Blog

Putting Flood Risk on the Map: Fieldwork Reflections from the Philippines

Carigara is a municipality located in the province of Leyte in the Philippines, home to a population of more than 50,000. It is a lively and vibrant town surrounded by green paddy fields and under beautiful mountains. Like many places in the Philippines however, flooding has been a persistent issue,

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Timber roof truss under construction
Blog

What’s in a Message? Unpacking Post-Disaster Housing Guidance

Rising population and urbanization continue to be two main drivers of disaster risk. In the last five decades the number of disasters has more than quadrupled and this trend is continuing. While mortality rates continue to decline from disasters, the mounting pressure of disasters on global poverty is more urgent

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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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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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News

Philippines ambassador to Australia with Sydney Southeast Asia Centre staff
News

Philippine Ambassador Visit Reinforces Strong Bi-Lateral Links

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) welcomed the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega, onto campus today to discuss how our research and education partnerships are creating new opportunities for Filipinos – including our lab’s work in disaster risk reduction and management. Dr Aaron Opdyke, the

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Salvaged materials on walls and roof of houses in informal settlement
News

Opdyke and Team Awarded Sydney Southeast Asia Centre Partnership Grant on Urban Informality in the Philippines

Dr Aaron Opdyke, along with a cross-disciplinary team from the University of Sydney, Ateneo de Manila University, and Mindanao State University Marawi, was recently awarded a Partnership Grant from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre to investigate the how informality is increasingly shaping post-disaster and post-conflict responses. The research team includes

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