Providing Post-Disaster Affordable Housing: Lessons from Housing Strategies in Low-Income Urban Neighbourhoods

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Faculty, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology


Among post-disaster necessities is time and cost savings in reconstruction programmes. However, proposed solutions by reconstruction planners and specialists often fail to address these necessities. They tend to achieve their goals through standardisation, uniformity and mass production of housing, whilst a study of affordable housing in low-income urban neighbourhoods (including informal and spontaneous construction) can provide important information on how to meet housing needs with limited resources.
The present research studies five cases in the District 3 city of Sari searching solutions for improving the affordability of post-disaster housing reconstruction. Data collection  is performed through participatory observations, with purpose-oriented sample selections, and the data analysed using thematic methods. The results are interpreted and structured, and then validated and prioritised during two stages of receiving expert opinions. The findings are then used in developing patterns for providing affordable housing.
The results show that despite social differences in the five neighbourhoods studied, there are common features in housing provision processes which are different from the formal construction processes. 13 common patterns have been extracted from surveys, many of which ignored in post-disaster housing reconstructions. Whilst housing reconstruction generally follows a formal process seeking to reduce costs through standardisation and mass production, it can help affordability of housing reconstruction by using patterns such as residents’ participation, incremental evolution, and use of recycled and salvaged materials.


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