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Concept Development 
Essentials for developing temporary shelters

Excerpt from Strategic Planning for Post-Earthquake Temporary Housing:Best Practices 


"Although specific pre-planned programs cannot be made prior to a major earthquake, strategic planning for temporary housing post-disaster can ensure optimal outcomes for both affected individuals and organizations administering the programs. If problems can be mitigated at the beginning of a program, temporary housing can be an efficient and practical way to house people quickly and temporarily until permanent housing can be obtained (Johnson 2007a, 50). The preparation of pre-impact plans for temporary housing can provide local officials with time to consider how activities undertaken during the immediate aftermath will affect long-term recovery, as well as increasing the efficiency and quality of post-impact decisions (Wu and Lindell 2004, 63; See Appendix). Recent experience in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia has proven that strategic planning improved temporary housing outcomes (Da Silva 2007, 30). Thus, governments, NGOs and multilateral agencies would all be wise to engage in pre-impact strategic planning.

Strategic Planning Best Practices: As mentioned above, strategic planning for post-earthquake temporary housing cannot be detailed, “cookie-cutter” type programs, as circumstances will differ according to the location, context, and magnitude of the earthquake (Wu and Lindell 2004, 75). A comprehensive strategic plan that can be adapted to each individual situation is key to providing the best outcomes for victims. Governments will need to engage in the most comprehensive and detailed planning.


Address or incorporate each of the following elements:


Organizational Plan


•Overall reconstruction strategy, from immediate relief to long-term reconstruction and development (Arslan and Ünlü2008, 8; Johnson 2007b, 456)


•Hierarchy of public and/or private departments or agencies to be mobilized, and sharing of risks and responsibilities between them


•Department or agency specifically responsible for temporary housing 


•Sources of financing, definition of financial authorization and control mechanisms


•Procurement and management policies, and their implementation (Johnson et al. 2006, 370)


•Plans for engaging UN Shelter Clusters and NGOs working on temporary housing, and departments responsible for doing so (Da Silva 2007, 30; Arslan and Ünlü 2008, 8)


•Guidelines for selection of victims eligible for temporary housing (Johnson et al. 2006, 370)


•Incorporation of disaster risk reduction and mitigation strategies (Wu and Lindell 2004, 65)Consideration of Context


•Social, economic and climatic conditions


•Type of housing most appropriate (Johnson 2007b, 456)


•Culturally appropriate living arrangements(Da Silva 2007, 17; Ritchie and Tierney 2011, S490)Vulnerable Populations


•Identification of likely vulnerable populations, such as renters (Johnson 2007b, 456)


•Needs of vulnerable populations; prevention of bias towards those with more resources (Rawal and Nair 2001, 3)Community Participation


•Stakeholder roles and communication with stakeholders (Wu and Lindell 2004, 66)


•Beneficiary involvement in design decisions, materials selection and preparation, construction, and financing (Davidson et al. 2007, 102)Location 


•Number of displaced residents


•Configuration and functionality of site


•Infrastructure available at site


•Proximity to original neighborhoods and services or accessibility ( Forouzandeh et al. 2008, 3-  4) 


•Land tenure or ownership and payment for use (Johnson 2007b, 453)


•Clearing and readying sites for temporary housing (Johnson et al. 2006, 369; Wu and Lindell 2004, 65)Design and Materials


•Degree to which local suppliers and locally available materials will be used  


•Identification of suppliers and materials that can facilitate quick and cost-effective delivery(Johnson 2007b, 456, Johnson 2007a, 50)


•Type of housing to be provided and construction method (Johnson et al. 2006, 370)


•Habitability—weatherproof, temperature, ventilation, light, privacy, space, cooking, water and sanitation, vector control, safety, security, structurally sound (Da Silva 2007, 29)


•Meet local living standards (Johnson 2007a, 50; Da Silva 2007, 27)
•Durability—scope to repair, maintain and upgrade shelters incrementally


•Adaptability—potential for tailoring a shelter to meet individual needs, or for adding onto a core to provide a permanent house (Da Silva 2007, 29; MICA Environmental Design 2011)Services Provided


•“Hard services”—water, sanitation, kitchens, laundry facilities, electricity, waste removal, etc.


•“Soft services”—medical and psychological aid, employment opportunities, education, childcare, security, etc. (Johnson et al 2006, 370; Johnson 2007a, 43-46)


•Community and social meeting spaces, including marketplaces and spaces for entertainment (Forouzandehet al. 2008, 7; MICA Environmental Design 2011)


•Information dissemination and support for transition to permanent housing (Johnson 2007b, 454; Wu and Lindell 2004, 66)Long-Term Outcomes


•Time frame for decommissioning of units and plan for remaining occupants (Johnson et al. 2006, 369)


•Unit outcomes—rental, sale, recycling, reuse, storage (Johnson 2007b, 456)


•Transition of temporary housing sites into neighborhoods incorporated in and serviced by local cities and communities (MICA Environmental Design 2011)


•Clean-up of sites if units are removed (Johnson 2007a, 50)"

Concept Development
Local Constuction Methods
Local construction methods has a list of local shelter designs from various countries that have built shelter from local materials. It would be a good plan to check out what has and hasn't worked in that location in the past before proceeding with an effort for housing.

International Communication
International Communication

Coordination is key to avoid un necessary repetition of existing efforts or conflicting efforts. Finding out which other groups are doing work in the area will help with collaborative efforts and resource sharing. Some examples of places to begin looking are:

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