The research aims to contribute to a better understanding of the social and environmental impacts of post-disaster reconstruction in India. Social scientists and architects have long recognized that built environments are a mirror of the culture and society that produces them, and that its forms and spatial arrangements are influenced by a multiplicity of socio-cultural and ecological factors. People both create, and find their ways of life influenced by the built environment. These considerations raise questions about the consequences of rapid and drastic changes following natural disasters, which not only destroy people’s homes, but also disrupt locally controlled building processes. In fact, following disasters reconstruction is routinely taken over by external agencies and entails dramatic changes in settlement locations and morphologies, housing designs, building materials and construction technologies. These changes may have profound consequences on social organization, livelihoods, and housing processes.
Project document [pdf]
Slovenia and Azerbaijan (2010-2011)
Description coming soon
Project document [pdf]
This project is carried out by the WHRC and the Department of Geography of the Faculty of Humanity and Sciences of the Universidad Nacional del Litoral of Santa Fe. The project aims at studying and analyzing the viability of resettlement as a strategy to mitigate the risks to natural hazards and contribute to identify and understand factors intervening in resettlement processes. The experiences and attitudes of different stakeholders such as communities relocated in the past, communities living potentially affected by future relocations, the municipality and civil society organizations will be assessed and evaluated.
Short description of project [pdf]
Informe final [esp; pdf]
Technical Report [pdf]
In order to provide the engineering community with a much needed scientific evidence and documentation, the ‘Dhajji project’ will analyse this traditional earthquake resistant construction technique through lab-testing. In parallel, the project will tackle the issues of dissemination and promotion of this technique among technicians, artisans and self-builders, through the development of various types of training material. The project is co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.
Report of field visit in Pakistan [pdf]
The project aims at analysing the advantages and risks of owner-driven post-disaster shelter reconstruction. Based on a review of secondary data and literature, an effort is made to analyse the factors determining the viability and effectiveness of owner-driven reconstruction and to discuss the multiple roles and responsibilities of external agencies. This research is funded by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and aims at triggering a debate on best practices in post-disaster shelter assistance.
Sri Lanka (2008)
This project constitutes a partnership between the WHRU and the Centre of Environmental Studies of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Interdisciplinary research focuses on housing processes in contested and conflictive environments through empirical assessments of post-tsunami reconstruction experiences in two selected areas in the southern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. Ciizens’ housing reconstruction experiences are documented trough an interactive process with the aim of improving ways of working in post-disaster housing reconstruction. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Official project flyer [pdf]
India and Nicaragua (2006-2008)
Most agencies involved in post-tsunami housing reconstruction in Tamil Nadu opted for building new houses through construction firms without keeping into account the multiple advantages - from a sustainable development perspective - of preserving, repairing and upgrading the pre-disaster built environment. The research project aimed at advocating against this trend by assessing the reparability of the housing stock partially damaged by the tsunami.
Publication Article in Point Sud [pdf]
The project aimed at documenting the inter-linkages between housing and sustainable livelihoods by compiling a detailed documentation of housing culture and building processes in tsunami-affected villages in coastal Tamil Nadu. The research aimed at sensitizing agencies involved in post-tsunami reconstruction about the socio-economic, environmental and cultural factors that need to be kept into account in post-disaster reconstruction projects. The project was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Publications: Humanitarian Exchange [pdf], Article in Neue Züricher Zeitung [dt; pdf]
Publications: Humanitarian Practice Network [pdf], Success Stories by Swiss Academy of Sciences and KFPE [pdf]
The M&E framework points out
the scope of the M&E, indicates the corresponding activities to be carried out, identifies the responsibles and defines the respective duration and schedules. Finally, the framework indicates at what level the M&E should
take place and how the information should be utilized.
This consultation is carried out in close collaboration with TCG International and USAID.
The January 2010 earthquake affected Haiti severely. The material damages and human losses were even more devastating due to the fragile political, socio-economic and ecological situation prior to the earthquake. On behalf of the World Bank, the World Habitat Research Centre is in charge of developing and implementing an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) to deal with social and environmental issues linked with post-disaster reconstruction work. The consultancy aims to strengthen and support the Government of Haiti addressing not only the post-disaster reconstruction, but also develop mechanisms to face potential future environmental and social risks. Additionally, the ESMF intends to develop strategies to involve stakeholders and enhance the participation of the poorest and most vulnerable in order to improve their living conditions in the long run.
The Philippines (2008-2010)
World Bank (2008-2009)
Based on the vast experience of WHRC, the World Bank commissioned the preparation of this handbook in order to assist bank staff engaged in large-scale post-disaster housing reconstruction programs. The principal objectives of the handbook are to consolidate the experiences, reveal possible strategies and policies, and identify emerging good practices. By focusing on reconstruction rather than on humanitarian assistance, the handbook aims to fill a information gap and contributes to harmonize the thinking among collaborators in the housing and community reconstruction field such as bilateral agencies and NGOs.
Direct link to order the book
In October-November 2007 the WHRU carried out an evaluation of the largest project ever implemented by an NGO in Indonesia entailing the reconstruction of twenty four tsunami villages in Aceh devastated by the tsunami that hit the province’s coastal areas in December 2004. The evaluation assessed the viability and effectiveness and sustainability of the project, which entailed the participatory reconstruction of 3400 houses, community infrastructure and livelihood restoration. The evaluation was sponsored by the German NGO Misereor, the main funding agency of the project.
Summary from Misereor's Jahresevaluierungsbericht 2007 [pdf]
The assignment was carried out within the framework of an emergency intervention by the Swiss Government (Rapid-Reaction Team) in Indonesia in the province of Aceh, a few days after the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. The mission focused on the prevention of the outbreak of epidemics, through the implementation of standard operating procedures to clean up drinking water sources in the disaster area. A well-cleaning project was initiated in areas where houses and wells had been flooded but not destroyed and where people continued to live. The assignment included the development of a training module for local well operators aiming at enhancing their know-how on the production of safe water.
Albania, Armenia, Tajikistan and Haiti (2003-2006)
Several assignments were carried out in the domain of food safety in various countries, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United State Department for Agriculture (USDA). The assignments entailed the development of training modules for food inspectors and laboratory specialists and a series of workshops for public health authorities at national and local level. New intersectoral strategies for strengthening and running food safety systems were designed with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and other national and international organizations. The WHO healthy market place approach was used to investigate the various dissemination methods of food safety preventive measures with the aim of promoting a healthy environment starting from street markets, which constitute a focal point of most societies in developing countries.
Northern Caucasus (2001)
The assignment entailed support to the medical programme of SDC initiated in September 2001, soon after the second Chechen war, which was responsible for large urban destruction and displacement of population in North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya. The programme aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality related to infectious diseases such as AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, as well as to increase the preparedness of local health services to potential future epidemics.
More information on SDC Website [link]
Conferences with WHRC participation
18-20 January 2011
04 November 2010
15-20 July 2010
27-28 May 2010
Organized by Shelter Centre, funded by Department for International Development (DFID) and hosted by International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Website with further information about Shelter Centre Meetings, Official Shelter Centre Website
19-21 April 2010
Official ERRA Website
16 March 2010
Representing WHRC, Daniel Pittet presents the handbook.
8-10 February 2010
WHRC contributions: Dr. J. Duyne Barenstein [pdf], Eng. D. Pittet [pdf]
24-27 November 2009
12-14 November 2009
18-20 March 2009
29 April - 1 May 2008