Africa Shelter Forum 2020

Building on the previous annual East Africa Shelter Forums that were held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2018 and 2019, this year, the Africa Shelter Forum was broadened geographically across the continent and included presentations and active engagement from the wider region. The Forum was also held virtually in both English and French, to create opportunities for access, learning and sharing across the continent and improve shelter and settlement responses through the facilitation of discussions and networking opportunities.

The half-day Forum was divided into three focus areas: 1- Sharing learning from shelter and settlements programming in Africa, 2- Updates on regional and global shelter and settlements initiatives, and 3- Discussions on the role of shelter and settlements in public health emergencies. Presentations were followed by participants entering four parallel breakout groups for further discussion focusing on various themes under the topics: Shelter and Settlements Responses to Covid-19; HLP and Covid-19; Integrated Programming (Shelter-WASH-Health); and broader discussions on the previous three themes.

The Forum was a tremendous success, with over 250 participants joining from more than 140 cities globally. This event was one of the largest ever shelter events held globally, and a great opportunity for learning and exchange between different parts of Africa, and to link national partners with shelter and settlements colleagues across the globe.

This edition of the Africa Shelter Forum was organized by DRC, IFRC, InterAction, IOM and UN-Habitat

Contact for more information

Agenda (English): Download here

Agenda (French): Download here

Event Summary Report (English): Download here

Event Summary Report (French): Download here

All presentation slides (English and French): Click here

Australia Shelter Forum


The Australia Shelter Forum is a newly established informal forum bringing together Australian shelter and settlements professionals to share knowledge and improve practice. Click here to join our Google Community.

The Australia Shelter Forum is closely linked to the ACFID Urban Community of Practice (formerly the Shelter Reference Group). This group provides a mechanism for Australian agencies working in urbanisation to share information, encourage innovative practice and engage in policy dialogue and advocacy to strengthen sustainable urban development in the Asia Pacific region.

For more details on the Australia Shelter Forum and other relevant working groups click here.

UK Shelter Forum 20 Presentations & the Tent

UKSF20 participants helped put up a geodesic tent on the day.

The tent

The UKSF20 presentations are uploaded below.

New Age & Gender Marker – Merrin Waterhouse (IASC GenCap Project)

Promoting Safer Building – Bill Flinn (CARE)

An overview of learning from Tacloban: 3-day workshop held in Tacloban in November 2015 – Jago Boase (Independent/Ramboll)

Resettlement in Tacloban after typhoon Yolanda: vulnerabilities and values formation in Philippines – Daniel Jones

Appropriate Land use and Safe Living – Namiko Minai (Japan Women’s University)

Localising Shelter Seismic Resilience: A Journey from Government Reluctance to Support Tearfund – Mike Wiggins (Tearfund)

HUB: Private Sector Technical Support in Disaster Response – Jeremy Foster (Ramboll UK Limited)

Introduction to a new course by ARUP on ‘using bamboo for construction in humanitarian and developmental contexts’ – Sebastian Kaminski (ARUP)

Shelter Centre Library – Tom Corsellis (Shelter Centre)


UK Shelter Forum 20

The 20th UK Shelter Forum will be hosted by IOM, NRC and CENDEP and will take place in Oxford on 26th May 2017 with a focus on

“Shelter, Protection and Protracted crises”

Agenda to follow shortly.

Registration for the event is now open on Eventbrite.

As usual, the forum will have opportunities for short presentations about projects or initiatives in the shelter sector. There are spaces for 5 minute, 10 minute and 15 minute presentations. If you would like to propose something please send a short abstract to by Monday 8th May, and state your preferred length. Selected proposals will be notified after this date.

When: Friday, 26 May 2017 from 09:00 to 17:30 (BST)

Where: Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Oxford OX3 0BP

To register please follow this Eventbrite link


UK Shelter Forum 17

UK Shelter Forum 17 was held on 24th April 2015 and co-hosted by Habitat for Humanity, CRS and UCL.

Agenda for UKSF 17


Presentations for the event are below:

Updates and Announcements

Community Based Safe School Construction by Hayley Gryc (Arup)

Global Shelter Cluster online training by Charles Parrack (Oxford Brookes)

Expanding Impact by Seki Hirano (CRS)

Capacity building for urban humanitarian response by Diane Archer (IIED)

India Shelter Forum by Anshu Sharma

RedR’s Hands on Weekend by Aaron Walawalkar (RedR)

Discussion Sessions

Area based approaches to urban crises by Elizabeth Parker and Victoria Maynard

Disaster diplomacy; Reconstruction Planning Before a Disaster by Ilan Kelman (UCL)

Protection Mainstreaming by Cat Cowley (CAFOD, Caritas Australia, Catholic Relief Services, and Trocaire)

Development of the ‘Refugee Housing Unit ‘ – learning from the process by Shaun Scales (UNHCR)


Reciproboo Bamboo Kit by Shaun Halbert

Talks Session

Urban Tripoli in Lebanon and in Kirkuk in Iraq by Amelia Rule (CARE)

Community-led settlement planning by Annika Grafweg (The Border Consortium)

All Under One Roof by Valerie Scherrer (CBM) & Graham Saunders (IFRC)

Engaging Humanitarians and Non-humanitarian Actors in Urban Emergency Response by Eddie Argenal (USAID)

Developing resilient habitats after a disaster and Program Brief by Jan-Willem Wegdam (Cordaid)

Notes for the event.

UK Shelter Forum 19

UK Shelter Forum 19 took place on the 11th November 2016 co-hosted by Habitat for Humanity and CRSThe theme of the forum was
Holistic Programming: Who needs sectors anyway?


Co-ordination is vital in emergencies, and integrated approaches between sectors is essential. Engaging with practitioners and academicians from other sectors enabled Shelter practitioners appreciate how to holistically approach shelter programs.

Other sectors represented at the forum included health, livelihoods (cash based approaches), WASH, urban displacement, infrastructure, environment and protection including an interesting discussion on hardware, software and fluff-ware. By understanding their approaches, and by providing an opportunity to gauge their impact on shelter programs, the forum hoped to explore and learn how shelter sector can effectively work and collaborate with the other sectors, and understand broader impacts of meeting shelter needs.

The day proved to be informative and engaging with enthusiastic participation from all participants. The forum concluded with drinks and launch of ‘Good Programming Guidelines’ produced by the  CARE International UK Shelter Team with support from the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Presentations from UKSF 19 are below:
Updates and Announcements
Shelter Meetings 2016-2017 by Tom Corsellis (Shelter Centre)
Global Shelter Cluster by Miguel Urquia, (UNHCR)
Shelter Projects (Part 1, Part 2) by Joseph Ashmore (IOM)
(Re)settlement Toolkit by Siddharth Nadkarny & Hayley Gryc (ARUP)
Launch Details by UK Built Environment Advisory Group
Morning Session
Talks Session

UK Shelter Forum 19

The 19th UK Shelter Forum will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Relief Servicesand will take place in London on 11th November 2016 with a focus on

Holistic Programming: Who needs sectors anyway?

The forum aims to explore, learn and engage with other sectors, analyse how the shelter sector works and collaborates with the other sectors, explore coordination by non-sector boundaries and the broader impact of meeting shelter needs.


Co-ordination is vital in emergencies, and shelter programs often have integrated approaches with other sectors. The intention, therefore, is to engage with practitioners and academicians from other sectors to understand how to holistically approach shelter programs. The forum is looking to engage with health, livelihoods (cash based approaches), WASH, psychosocial and protection sectors to understand their approaches, and to provide an opportunity to gauge impact of shelter programs through their point of view.

When: Friday, 11 November 2016 from 09:00 to 17:30 (BST)

Where: Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA

As usual, the forum will have opportunities for short presentations about projects or initiatives in the shelter sector. There are spaces for 5 minute, 10 minute and 15 minute presentations. If you would like to propose something please send a short abstract to by Friday 14th October 2016, and state your preferred length. Selected proposals will be notified after this date.

Agenda to follow shortly.

Registration for the event is now open on Eventbrite

India National Conference on Shelter in Emergencies: Challenges & Opportunities

Capture Capture1

On February 25th, 2016, The National Conference on “Shelter in Emergencies” was organised by CARE INDIA with support from Christian Aid and Sphere India. The conference, held in New Delhi, facilitated the process of exchange of experiences and lessons learned, as well as discussion of challenges encountered in implementing shelter projects in Indian context among a wide range of stakeholders. The conference was organised to disseminate the findings of the shelter study recently concluded by CARE INDIA, and provided a forum to share experiences from the past on shelter in post-humanitarian crisis. The key objective of the conference was to develop a consensus around strategy for shelters in future emergencies in India and the region.

Mr. Rajeev Sadanandan, Joint Secretary, Rural Housing, Ministry of Rural Development was the Chief Guest for the event. The other eminent dignitaries who attended the conference were Dr.Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives, Mr. Vinod Sharma, Honourable Vice Chairman, Sikkim Disaster Management Authority and Eminent
professor at Indian Institute of Public Administration and Mr. Ajit Chaudhari, General Manager, Tata Sons. The conference was also participated by well-known shelter experts across the states as well as various international and national NGOs, International donors and UN agencies.

Workshop proceedings were conducted through a series of technical sessions, focusing on the various aspects of shelter construction like sharing of national experiences; capacity-building initiatives; best practices; emerging challenges and future directions for shelter response in India. Each of the technical sessions comprised of thematic presentations by programme stakeholders and experts followed by open discussions. Going beyond experiences related to the shelter projects, this knowledge sharing initiative also focused on key technical aspects of shelter reconstruction such as disaster risk assessment, disaster-resistant construction, retrofitting, regulatory mechanisms such as building codes and by-laws, use of sustainable construction materials, capacity
building of construction fraternity and role of community participation.

Some of the key take points which emerged from the deliberations during the conference were as follows:

  • The shelter is not merely a single entity. Habitation and Habitat should go hand in hand. It is important to understand whom we are building for and balance between structural, environmental and social principles.There should be a much broader discussion with more focus on various sectoral interventions (water, sanitation,
    hygiene, health, environment, energy and livelihood) to ensure sustainability of shelter interventions and programmes.
  • Community participation and addressing the differential needs of women is an important priority in shelter programming. It is also a must to bring in the community in the purview of the shelter construction process to give them complete ownership and accountability of their shelters.
  • Coordination is the key to successful implementation of any shelter programme and it is necessary to deliberate on ways to effectively coordinate with stakeholders.
  • Post-disaster shelter reconstruction should incorporate disaster-resistant features. The focus should be on expanding the existing knowledge base and use of time-tested methods on one hand as well as continuous modernisation of the working methods and adoption of new and innovative technologies and construction
  • Since housing reconstruction is an important component in any disaster recovery programme disaster, institutions involved in disaster management and shelter construction at the national level should take a leading role to access global knowledge and learnings.
  • Effective governance has a critical role to ensure proper implementation of shelter programmes. It is important that the government define a clear strategy underlining the role of each stakeholder.
  • The role of NGOs needs to be more focused on ensuring equitable delivery to the most vulnerable and less about the delivery of infrastructure and housing at a large scale.
  • There is a need to promote increased use of cash vouchers in shelter projects as it is faster and more flexible in meeting the needs of the affected population. This has other benefits too such as increased accountability,contributing to the local economy, and community livelihoods.

The full conference proceedings can be downloaded here: Report-National Conference on Shelter in Emergencies.

18th UK Shelter Forum

UK Shelter Forum 18 took place on Friday the 13th of May 2016 and was hosted by CARE and the Institution of Structural Engineers.

UKSF18 Panel

UKSF18 Panel. From left to right: Wendy Fenton, ODI HPG; Dominic Courage, Save the Children; Fergus McBean, humanitarian preparedness advisor; Prof. Jonathan Wolff, UCL.

The theme of this forum was ‘Risk and Responsibility’:

Humanitarian shelter projects and practitioners often place significant emphasis on stronger, ‘better’ buildings, aiming to reduce the risk of those building collapsing in future events. Associated with this is a range of standards and expectations, and often serious concerns about liability for unsafe buildings. 

This forum aims to explore the risks faced by vulnerable populations and how those risks affect their choices and priorities – and what ‘better’ means to them. It will ask where responsibility for minimising these risks lies and to question whether all these risks, choices & priorities are adequately reflected in humanitarian shelter programmes and the shelters or buildings that result. 

The agenda for the event was:

UKSF18 Agenda 1

UKSF18 Agenda 2

UKSF18 Agenda

Presentations from UK Shelter Forum 18 are below. Notes on the discussions will be added here in due course.

Updates & announcements

Talks session 1

Talks session 2

Talks on construction:

Talks on research:

Talks session 3

17th UK Shelter Forum

The UK Shelter Forum 17 was hosted by British Red Cross aand Save the Children on 13th November 2015. 

The focus of the day was ‘cash and markets for shelter’ but also included updates from around the world.

Venue: Barbican Centre, Frobisher Rooms 4-6, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS


UKSF-Agenda2015-Nov-Draft 20151023

Pechakucha 2015a

The fourth UK Shelter Forum PechaKucha, hosted by University College London, was held in London on the 24th April 2015. To apply for a place to present at the PechaKucha participants submitted posters.  Using the PechaKucha format of 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds, ten speakers then presented their research into different aspects of shelter, settlements and disasters.  Photos, posters and videos from the event will be available soon…

16th UK Shelter Forum

The 16th UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Catholic Relief ServicesHabitat for Humanity and the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience at University College London on Friday the 24th April 2015.  The agenda for the day can be viewed here and further details will be available soon.


Changing the Paradigm: Resilient Recovery Frameworks Consultations

25 November 2014, UCL, London

Natural disasters have caused damages of nearly £3 trillion over the past 30 years and the frequency and intensity of these powerful storms, droughts and earthquakes continue to rise.

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) in the World Bank, in partnership with University College London and Habitat for Humanity and in association with the UK Shelter Forum organised a public presentation and discussion on how vulnerable countries can better prepare before disaster strikes and better plan and execute post disaster recovery and reconstruction programmes to contribute to sustainable development and resilience.

The event was open to humanitarian and development stakeholders involved in disaster preparedness, risk reduction, emergency response, reconstruction and development, research or practice.

This event in London followed the second World Reconstruction Conference (WRC 2) held in the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC in September 2014 which featured the launch of joint EU-UN-World Bank GFDRR Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Guide and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) Guide, as well as ten country case studies.

The presentation and discussion included:

  • The World Bank’s ongoing efforts to build consensus and collective action on resilient recovery, to ensure efficient and effective post disaster reconstruction and to increase readiness including stronger government recovery systems.
  • The role of civil society working with communities in the implementation of humanitarian, reconstruction and development programmes.
  • The importance of research, knowledge and capacity development to support resilient recovery.

The session offered a unique opportunity for dialogue between policy makers and practitioners as part of a process of consultation towards greater collaboration and more effective action.

For further information on WRC 2 and the DRF Guide, see:

About the World Bank GFDRR : Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery
The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) helps high risk, low income developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerabilities to natural hazards, and adapt to climate change. Working with over 300 partners-mostly local government agencies, civil society and technical organizations- GFDRR provides grant financing, on the ground technical assistance to mainstream disaster mitigation policies into country level strategies and a range of training and knowledge sharing activities. GFDRR is managed by the World Bank and funded by 21 donor partners.

15th UK Shelter Forum

The 15th UK Shelter Forum was hosted by CARE and Arup on Monday 24th November 2014. You can download the agenda here and the briefing note for day 1 here. The briefing from day 2 will be posted shortly.

DSCF3435 reduced

Topics covered in this forum include

  • Updates from shelter actors around the world,
  • Philippines Haiyan response one year on,
  • South Asia Floods
  • Forgotten African crises
  • Accelerating housing recovery
  • Future research needs: ‘what don’t we know..’.
The Forum closed with the launch of the new book ‘Still Standing? Looking back at reconstruction and disaster risk reduction in housing’ from the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), followed by drinks kindly provided by BSHF.

An additional session for presentations and discussion on the Syria and Gaza crises was organised on Tuesday the 25th.

Australian (ACFID) Shelter Reference Group’s Annual Shelter Forum 2014

The second ACFID SRG Shelter Forum was hosted by Habitat for Humanity Australia on Friday 11th April 2014. The 2014 Shelter Forum explored issues surrounding land tenure insecurity in the Asia Pacific region. A pdf report summarizing the forum is available here (Final Report 2014while the audio recordings of each of the sessions are below.

Keynote Presentation
  • Professor Daniel Fitzpatrick: Trends and Challenges in Urban Land Tenure in Asia Pacific: Its Impact on Global Housing Crisis
  • Victoria Stodart: Housing Land and Property Issues in the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan)
  • Professor Daniel Fitzpatrick: Addressing land issues after a disaster
  • Iv Bonnakar: Testing the Urban Land Law in Battambang, Cambodia
  • Aruna Paul: Rural and Urban Challenges in Land Security in Nepal
  • Johanna Brugman: Community Mapping and Surveying in Cambodia
  • Ruth Kestermann: Urban Resiliency Framework in Bangladesh
  • Luke Millar: Overview of working paper on Land Tenure Insecurity in Asia Pacific
1. Welcome

2. Prof Daniel Fitzpatrick: Keynote Address 

3. Victoria Stodart: Housing Land and Property Issues in the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan) 

4. Prof Danial Fitzpatrick: Addressing land issues after a disaster

5. Iv Bonnakar: Testing the Urban Land Law in Battambang, Cambodia

6. Aruna Paul: Rural and Urban Challenges in Land Security in Nepal

7. Johanna Brugman: Community Mapping and Surveying in Cambodia

8. Ruth Kestermann: Urban Resiliency Framework in Bangladesh

9. Luke Millar: Overview of working paper on Land Tenure Insecurity in Asia Pacific

10. Group Exercise

11. Bernadette Bolo-Duthy: Closing Remarks

PechaKucha 2014a

The third UK Shelter Forum PechaKucha, hosted by University College London, was held in London on the 12th March 2014. To apply for a place to present at the PechaKucha participants submitted posters.  Using the PechaKucha format of 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds, ten speakers then presented their research into different aspects of shelter, settlements and disasters.  Spot yourself in the photos here or watch the videos here.

Ana Gatóo, Cambridge University
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The Philippines Sheltering Response: three months after typhoon Haiyan

This presentation focuses on a fieldwork conducted on the Philippines in February 2014. During the fieldtrip, different actors involved in the humanitarian shelter response (government, NGOs and communities) were reached. The aim of those encounters was to find out the main issues that the organisations are facing and how ‘ReFocus’ (a group of researchers from the University of Cambridge) could assist them in their sheltering programme process. The findings that will be shown in this presentation are part of a longer report, which will be available here.

Elizabeth Wagemann, Cambridge University
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Implementing academic research: a pathway for impact

This talk focuses on the implementation of academic research relying on my research group’s experience. Academic research, driven by the generation of knowledge and innovative solutions, often do not share the aims and timelines of organisations involved in the reconstruction. Technical language does not harness the potential of research and outcomes stay in hands of specialists and libraries. Building on our report from the Phillipines after the Typhoon Haiyan, we draw examples of how to change the standard research model to enable a better flow of information and enhancement of the impact through partnerships with communities, governments and non-governmental organisations.

Catherine Crawford, UCL, and Alice Samson, Cambridge University
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Dialogue between archaeology and humanitarian shelter: resilience in pre-Columbian house-building and repair

This analysis of a “Caribbean architectural mode” – recurring house features, evidenced through excavations across the Caribbean (1400 BP- 450 BP) suggested that fundamental change in houses were less frequent but renewal and repair more frequent and more curious than humanitarian conceptions allow. Dialogue meant going beyond details of individual house objects – isolated (archaeologists) or designed/uniform (humanitarians) – to modes, shared across time, between people, constituting and catalysing wider change; and to house trajectories relating to processes and scales, eg regional environmental change, that are in train before and continue after “humanitarian history” begins at the moment of disaster.

Josh Macabuag, UCL
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Poster Final 101104

Seismic Retrofitting in Rural Communities

One of the greatest causes of casualties in major earthquakes around the world is the collapse of non-engineered masonry buildings (those built without engineering input). A barrier to realising research in this field is the significant social and economic challenge of implementation in low-income communities, where non-engineered housing is prevalent. The aim of this presentation is to give an overview of some of the technical, financial and social aspects of development and implementation of seismic retrofitting techniques in rural communities.  The presentation describes: 1) The development (testing and analysis) of a particular seismic retrofitting technique 2) A pilot-project for implementation of that retrofitting technique in rural Nepal 3) A field investigation in rural Peru into the successes and failures of previous programmes for the dissemination of retrofitting techniques/skills to rural communities.  Further details are available here and here.

Julia Hansen, UCL
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Capabilities in post-disaster housing

My research questions the capabilities of disaster survivors to participate in the recovery processes. The capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, can recalibrate the post-disaster focus away from disaster survivors’ vulnerabilities and towards what they are capable of achieving. By looking at what people (as individuals and in communities) value about their homes, and the freedoms they have to achieve those things and ways of being, we can discern a “design capability” among disaster survivors that determines how well the housing recovery satisfies their needs.

Ryan Sommerville, Westminster
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Preparing for post-disaster recovery: Open Data, Community and Built Environment Professionals

This presentation is a brief summary of current work by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, The World Bank, UN-HABITAT and others. It highlights the use of OpenStreetMap as an open source, crowd sourced platform to geo-reference data; at tool for participatory mapping. The presentation then suggests that there is a role for Built Environment Professionals to use (or assist in the use of) this methodology for participatory mapping of critical infrastructure. The data gathered will then inform emergency response following a disaster. This presentation also suggests there is potential to expand this methodology for use in early recovery. It is noted that further research is necessary to determine the current level of use (particularly by UN-HABITAT) and specifically identify areas of involvement for Built Environment Professionals to assist in pre- and post-disaster decision-making.

Vicente Sandoval, UCL
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Questioning disaster risk and reconstruction: A multi-scalar inquiry

Disaster and vulnerability studies are often conceived within single-scale units, self-enclosed and delimited into specific spatial foci –urban studies, metropolitan research–, hence studies tend to neglect the geographical complexity of socio-economic and political processes involved in the production of vulnerability and risk at multiple scales. On the contrary, relief and reconstruction processes tend to be interpreted within a wider perspective, often as national or international concern. One of the hypotheses of this difference of approaches lies on the idea that post-disaster contexts set the opportunity for structural transformation; ‘disaster capitalism’ versus ‘building back better’.

Avery Doninger, Oxford Brookes University
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‘Transition to What?’Evaluating the transitional shelterprocess in Leogane, Haiti

It is a critical time for transitional shelter (t-shelter) occupants in Haiti. Three and a half years (now 4) since the 2010 earthquake represents a critical juncture as typical t-shelters are only designed to last 3-5 years. As the structures erode, they will become increasingly unsafe for the occupants. This study evaluated the progress of the t-shelter process in Leogane, Haiti. Given the tremendous difficulties humanitarian agencies had in delivering shelter assistance in Haiti and given ongoing debates on whether or not t-shelters are an effective sheltering solution or detrimental to long-term recovery, an evaluation assisted in understanding current progress, challenges, and how the humanitarian community can immediately adapt efforts to improve the process and learn from this shelter response.

Martin Dolan, Oxford Brookes University
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How was the ‘social urbanism’ of Medellin made possible?

The social urbanism of Medellin is being hailed as a miracle of urban design and slum upgrade. The city which was infamous as the most violent city in the world until the dramatic change of the last ten years under the progressive mayor Sergio Fajardo. Crime rates are no only 10% of what they used to be and the quality of life has risen dramatically. This presentation examines the physical, political and economic ways this was made possible, not all of them very conventional or ethical.

Pedro Clarke, Oxford Brookes University
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 Learning from Disasters: Lisbon 1755

How the 1755 triple earthquake, tsunami and fire devastated Lisbon and how the city (slowly) but surely reinvented itself.

Aditya Aachi, Architectural Association
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Haiti: Simbi Hubs, IDP camps and Bamboo

Theoretical proposal for water and sanitation infrastructure in post earthquake Port-au-Prince. Exploration of the IDP camp situation. Architectural bamboo workshop in Port-au-Prince which took place in January 2014.

This event was organised by Victoria Maynard, Bernadette Devilat and Chris Sinclair with funding from the Public Engagement Unit at University College London.

14th UK Shelter Forum

The fourteenth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by by IOM and Save the Children in London on Thursday 13th March 2014.  You can download the agenda for the event here and a briefing note here.


In the morning, there were updates from different initiatives and group works on humanitarian response to urban crisis. While three different discussions were held in the afternoon.  The UK Shelter Forum was preceded by a PechaKucha evening bringing together researchers and practitioners to discuss shelter, settlements and disasters.  Posters and presentations from this event are available here.

Humanitarian Response to Urban Crises
Measuring Impact
Lessons from the Philippines
  • Julien Muliez (Chair), Save the Children
  • Bill Flinn, CENDEP
  • Brett Moore, World Vision
  • Gabriel Fernandez del Pino , CARE
  • Mario Flores, Habitat for Humanity International
  • Sonia Molina, British Red Cross
15 years behind WASH? Unresolved issues in the shelter sector and the ‘deep craft’ nature of shelter and housing technology
Closing Remarks

Australian (ACFID) Shelter Reference Group’s Annual Shelter Forum 2014

You’re invited!

Members of the Shelter Reference Group invite you to forum on

Land Tenure Insecurity: The Impact on the Global Housing Crisis

The Shelter Forum will discuss the importance of land tenure security in a time of housing crises in the developing world. The forum facilitates sharing lessons and experiences as well as hearing from experts.

Keynote Speaker: The Shelter Forum welcomes Professor Daniel Fitzpatrick from Australian National University as keynote speaker for the day. Professor Fitzpatrick will provide an overview on trends in land insecurity globally with a special focus on the Asia Pacific region.

Professor Fitzpatrick writes on property rights in a development context. In 2007 he won the Hart Article Prize from the UK Socio-Legal Association. He has extensive experience in the public policy of property rights and development. He was the UN’s land rights adviser in post-conflict East Timor (2000) and post-tsunami Aceh (2005-6). He is the primary author of the UN’s Land and Disasters: Guidance for Practitioners (2010). His work with AusAID includes co-authoring the 2008 Making Land Work report for its Pacific Land Program.

Date: Friday 11 April 2014
Time: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (8.30 am registration)
Location: Y-Hotel, 5-11 Wentworth Ave, Sydney
Cost: Free

RSVP here by Friday 4 April. If you have already registered, please send this email around to your contacts!

For more information on the forum email the Habitat for Humanity International Programs team or call 1800 88 55 99.

March 2014 Update

As part of the 14th UK Shelter Forum in March 2014 Anshu Sharma, SaferWorld Communications, presented an update from the India Shelter in Emergencies Forum. You can download Anshu’s presentation (which includes audio if you watch the slideshow) here.

In September 2013 members of the India Shelter in Emergencies Forum had been working on a joint assessment following the Uttarakhand flash flooding in northern India.  Following this assessment SaferWorld Communications undertook additional research to fill gaps identified in the assessment.  Key findings from this research were then documented in a report and exhibition later in the year.

shelter building materialsAnshu then described an innovative programme being undertaken following cyclone Phailin in October 2013.  With limited funding for humanitarian organisations (due to the low number of fatalities) SaferWorld Communications are currently focused on engaging with the large-scale government/World Bank permanent reconstruction programmes.  Through this they have developed a ‘menu’ of options (see below) from which families can make their own decisions regarding different components of their house.  This enables families to choose higher specifications on certain items – for example they might prefer a concrete roof – while managing the overall cost of their house and ensuring safety and sustainability.


Upcoming activities of the India Shelter in Emergencies Forum include a pre-monsoon meeting hosted by Christian Aid in April 2014, engagement with architectural and planning schools, and brainstorming how to tackle key emerging challenges and trends.

Pechakucha 2013

The second UK Shelter Forum PechaKucha, hosted by University College London, brought together practitioners and researchers in order to share learning and develop networks for future collaboration. To apply for a place to present at the PechaKucha participants submitted posters.  Using the PechaKucha format of 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds, ten speakers then presented their research into different aspects of shelter, settlements and disasters.

Caroline Brown, Cambridge University
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Caroline Brown

Incremental Upgrading of Existing Shelters in South African Informal Settlements

As a result of Apartheid, there are millions of displaced communities living in South African informal settlements. Although Government launched the ‘In-situ Upgrading of Informal Settlements’ scheme in 2010, to date only a couple of prototype transitional designs have been developed – none of which address all the housing issues expressed by residents (i.e. extreme indoor temperatures, winter flooding, risk of fires spreading). Therefore, this research focused on assessing sustainable incremental upgrade options for the existing housing stock in these settlements – with the aim of substantially improving living conditions without employing the classical ‘eviction, destruction and rebuilding’ strategy normally used for slum-upgrading schemes

Elizabeth Wagemann, Cambridge University
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Elizabeth Wagemann

Why have our designs not had an impact in practice?

Architectural practices, engineering firms, and manufacturers have been ingenuous when designing shelters without repercussion in the field. Why have these innovative solutions been widely published but not used? It is argued here that because they are trying to answer the wrong questions. This presentation will show a comparison of T-shelters developed in the past ten years in order to start a debate about the differences between used and not used designs. Based on my own experience I will discuss possible reasons for the gap between academia and practice, and will elaborate some ideas for a better collaboration and dialogue.

Julia King, London Metropolitan University
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Julia King

A house is a Machine for Shitting in

Housing and sanitation are often approached as two separate problems. With much debate surrounding the equitable and inclusive design and procurement of housing this often falls short of addressing how this connects with infrastructure. Schemes often represent sanitation as a dotted line assuming this will magically come.  Little research looks at the existing housing economy through the lens of the provision of services. This presentation will present two projects addressing the role of sewerage and water in relation to the self-built informal and incremental housing stock which has come to define the mega-cities of the global south.

Bo Tang, London Metropolitan University
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Bo Tang

Negotiating Shared Spaces

Bo presented a classroom building project in a stone quarry worker settlement in Navi Mumbai, India as a case study for demonstrating the notion of architectural collaboration as a catalyst for civic empowerment and social change. At stake is a more concrete and nuanced understanding of the nature and settings of what is too-often generalised as ‘public space’. The provision of amenity buildings and post-hoc infrastructure creates situations of negotiation with constituents, who in turn develop a civic commitment and solidarity in the course of the work. These negotiations depend upon subtle and rich cultural contexts, which become evident during the course of the project, and which properly characterise ‘public’ in this non-Western culture. In this way the project is a vehicle of research and understanding, not an application of a theoretical approach divorced from the concrete conditions.

Rachel O’Grady, London Metropolitan University
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Rachel O'Grady

Reconstructing Identity: Architectural Conservation for Civic Renewal

My research is relevant to any reconstruction or upgrading scheme working with an existing neighbourhood. Working within a ‘slum upgrading’ scheme in Agra, ‘cultural heritage preservation’ has been defined as one of six project goals by government. In terms of planning, monuments become the focus, but what is the real relationship between heritage and the physical environment? Rather than treating conservation separately to the other goals, looking at the whole project in terms of continuity and change could start a discussion with communities about what their environment means to them, which aspects of it support ‘community’, and which elements increase vulnerability.

Bernadette Devilat, University College London
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Bernadette Devilat

Impact of emergency actions on heritage areas after earthquakes in Chile

Chilean heritage areas were the most affected after the 2010 earthquake (8.8 in Richter scale), mainly due to poor maintenance and scarce funding, but also because of applied reconstruction approaches. Among the decisions that produce more impact in them and in the long-term re-construction, are the emergency actions made just after the disaster, such as indiscriminate demolition and the application of money vouchers given directly to the inhabitants. This will be shown through the cases of Chanco and Paredones, in order to explore how it is possible to improve these actions by offering technical support in the right timing.

Francisco Vergara Perucich, University College London
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Francisco Vergara

Political Risk Reduction Before Mega Seismic Events

This presentation exposes the relevance of disaster management by governments in order to preserve their representativeness with people. The lack of reconstruction policies and aid in disaster cases becomes the first step towards the change of political party heading the nation. This statement is supported comparing the mega-seismic events occurred in Chile and the political consequences of those events.

Fatemeh Farnaz Arefian, University College London
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Farnaz Arefian

Organising Housing ‘Re-Construction + X’

At present there is a gap in theory in that it lacks of a conceptual model or analytical framework for understanding and analyzing the reality of organising post-disaster reconstruction programmes, which are complex and usually encounter problematic practicalities. The research addresses this gap by investigating organisation design and management for post disaster reconstruction programmes which are participatory and aim to contribute to the future disaster risk reduction. The focus is on urban housing reconstruction programmes. The presentation will share some of the research findings alongside with some empirical examples from housing reconstruction in Bam which the researcher was a participant observer.

Katie Shute, Oxford Brookes University
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Katie Shute

Tradition and culture in post-disaster reconstruction:
A case study of the ‘lost’ fishing villages of Tamil Nadu

My research examines the relevance of tradition and culture in post-disaster reconstruction, through the use of a detailed case study: the fishing communities of Tamil Nadu, India.  Meeting the cultural and social needs of an affected population are essential considerations to their wellbeing, and can have long-lasting and wide ranging implications upon their lives.  The conclusions from the case study show that in many cases, the post-tsunami reconstruction was not suited to the livelihood, culture and environment of the fishing communities, and as a result they are now suffering from psychological effects, social tensions and permanent changes to their lifestyles.

Pedro Clarke, Oxford Brookes University
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Pedro Clarke

Walk, listen… Learn!

Sometimes you fall upon things. The talk will focus on the observation (and the findings) of a (short) 10 day initial research trip to Parque S. Bartolomeu in Salvador da Bahia, Brasil where we are working with a local organization on upgrading their current facilities and assisting as well as providing support on the programmatic side.  The purpose of the trip was not to (formally or informally) evaluate anything, but knowing that I was going to be in an area where a large World Bank funded scheme was about to be completed I asked (and was allowed) to go and visit the project.  The stories I was told and evidence I collected are obviously anecdotal, but the experience was eye opening!

This event was organised by Victoria Maynard, Laura Heykoop, Bernadette Devilat and Chris Sinclair with funding from the Public Engagement Unit at University College London.

13th UK Shelter Forum

The thirteenth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience at University College London on Friday 20th September 2013.  The morning included presentations on different topics, while discussions continued in the afternoon in smaller breakout groups.  You can download the agenda for the event here and a briefing note is available here.  The UK Shelter Forum was preceded by a PechaKucha evening bringing together researchers and practitioners to discuss shelter, settlements and disasters.  Posters and videos from this event are available here.

Urban Humanitarian Response
Shelter and Recovery
Measuring outcomes and impact
Several updates were also provided

Download a briefing note summarising key discussions at the Forum here.

Australian (ACFID) Shelter Reference Group’s Annual Shelter Forum 2013

The first ACFID SRG Shelter Forum was hosted by Habitat for Humanity Australia on Friday 21st June 2013.  A pdf report summarizing the forum is available here while the agenda and audio recordings of each of the sessions are below.

Keynote presentation
  • Graham Saunders, IFRC: Current trends in shelter programming
Case studies
  • Dr Esther Charlesworth and Dr Ifte Ahmed, RMIT University: Scoping study – shelter and disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific Region
  • James Schell, HFHA and Dr Ifte Ahmed, RMIT University: Building resilience of urban slum settlements – a multi-sectoral approach to capacity building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Brett Moore, WorldVision: Culture, conflict and climate change: housing, land and property issues in stateless Somalia.
  • Rod Johnston, Partner Housing Australia: Resilience of shelter – minimum structural design for cyclonic wind, earthquake and tsunami resistance.
  • Kirsten McDonald, Arup: Urban climate change resilience (UCCR)
Breakout sessions
  • Tessa Kelly, IFRC: Regulatory barriers to shelter – housing, land and property issues, land use planning and building code enforcement after a disaster.
  • Graham Saunders, IFRC: What are the components that make up a resilient built environment?
  • Dr Ifte Ahmed, RMIT University: Community engagement driven processes to improve conditions in urban slums.
1. Welcome

2. Opening Remarks

3. Importance of Shelter

4.  Importance of Shelter (part 2)

5. Shelter and DRR

6. Regulatory Barriers

7. Community Engagement

8. Built Environment

9. Resilience of Shelter 

10. Resilience of Shelter (part 2)

11. Resilience of Shelter (part 3)

12. Conflict and Climate Change

12th UK Shelter Forum

The twelfth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Habitat for Humanity Great Britain and Oxfam GB on 22.02.13.  Minutes from the ‘updates’ part of the agenda are available here.  A briefing note summarising the key discussions regarding Housing, Land and Property Rights is available here.

Speakers included:
More detailed discussions followed on specific topics:

In the afternoon participants addressed the forum’s theme of Housing, Land, and Property Rights (HLP).  To initiate the debate several speakers gave Pecha Kucha style presentations on different aspects of the topic:

Participants then discussed key questions arising from the presentations in working groups using the Six Thinking Hats MethodologyA summary of key themes arising from the Pecha Kuchas and the breakout groups is available here.

RedR were unable to attend this UK Shelter Forum but they asked forum participants to contribute to the online RedR UK Shelter Sector Learning Needs Assessment.

11th UK Shelter Forum

The eleventh UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Care International on 20.04.12.  Topics discussed at this forum included Knowledge management, Accountability, and HLP. Speakers included:

  • Tom Corsellis, Shelter Centre: Knowledge and Learning
  • Theo Schilderman, Independent: Building for Safety Revision
  • Carlo Gherardi, Independent: Shelter Projects 2010 – IFRC, UN-HABITAT, and UNHCR
  • Rick Bauer, Oxfam: Housing, Land, and Property Rights
  • Hugh Earp, ECB/CARE: Accountability and Shelter
  • Gabriel Fernandez Del Pino, CARE: ECB Shelter Training Module
  • Yetunde Abdul, Consultant to BRE Global Limited: Sustainability in Fragile Environments Project
  • Bo Heiden & Desirée Bartosiak, Qatar Foundation: Qatar Shelter Initiative Study Findings

10th UK Shelter Forum

The tenth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by RICS on 21.11.11.  The theme of this meeting was Disaster Risk Reduction and Shelter. Speakers included:

  • Neil Garvie, Christian Aid: Burma Post-Nargis Shelter Project
  • Patrick Elliot, Victoria Maynard, & Joseph Ashmore: Book Launch ‘Transitional Shelter: Eight Designs’
  • Joseph Ashmore: Pakistan Shelter Cluster
  • Esteban Leon/Joseph Ashmore: UN-Habitat Shelter 2010 Project
  • Hugh Earp, Care: ECB Shelter & Accountability
  • Anna Pont, IFRC: Global Shelter Cluster Focal Point and IFRC Haiti Review
  • Jake Zarins, NRC: NRC Shelter & DRR
  • Ian Pearce, Habitat For Humanity: Haiti Projects
  • David Sanderson, CENDEP: ‘Herr and Shelter’ Conference
  • Simon Levine, ODI: HPG (Humanitarian Policy Group) Haiti Land Issues
  • Jamie Richardson & Shailesh Kataria, RICS: Safer Construction Guidelines, Malawi
  • Bill Flinn, CENDEP & Charlie Mason, Save the Children: Training for Self-Builds (HIF)

9th UK Shelter Forum

The ninth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Save the Children UK on 18.03.11.  The theme of this forum was Cash and Shelter. Speakers included:

  • Jose Vellejo & Joel Westberg, EWB: Eco-House Initiative
  • Kate Ferguson, Christian Aid: Permanent housing through partners in rural Haiti
  • Seki Hirano and Hikaru Kitai, IF-Untitled: School Infrastructure Prioritisation Tool (SIPT)
  • Nicolas Barrouillet, CaLP: Cash Learning Partnership
  • Rick Bauer, Oxfam: Cash & Shelter workshops at Oxfam in 2008

  • Bill Flinn, CENDEP/CARE international: Indonesia response to Sumatra Earthquake “$220 very well spent”
  • Ann Foley, Tearfund: Cash and Shelter in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1998
  • Paul Segal, Consultant: Programme risk and uncertainty specific to cash for shelter projects
  • Sandra D’Urzo, IFRC: Pre-paid credit in Chile and grants in Haiti

8th UK Shelter Forum

The eighth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by RedR on 08.10.10.  The theme of this forum was Haiti: 9 Months On. Speakers included:

  • Neill Garvie, Christian Aid: House building in Haiti
  • Ian Pearce, Habitat for Humanity & Victoria Bachelor, Arup: Commercial Partnering to Improve Programme Strategy and Delivery
  • Kate Crawford, CARE International: Legal Rights – Housing, Land, Property Rights, and Urbanisation
  • Joseph Ashmore, Shelter Project: Market assessment – Plastic sheeting
  • Rick Bauer, Oxfam: The impact of the floods on access and availability of bamboo and timber

Group Discussion Topics:

  • Chaired by Annie Devonport, DEC: A study on ‘Urban Disaster Response’ as a terms of reference, to include a framework for political/social/economic and technical response.
  • Chaired by Kate Crawford, Care International: How do we negotiate doing nothing? How do you find out what you should be doing? What is a good solution?
  • Chaired by John Leach, Shelter Box & Toby Gould, RedR: Are there enough shelter managers?

6th UK Shelter Forum

The sixth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Save the Children UK on 11.12.09. The notes of this shelter forum are available here. Speakers included:

  • Ian Pearce, Habitat for Humanity: Asia Pacific Housing Forum
  • David Sanderson, Oxford Brookes University: Building Relevance Workshop
  • Fran Talavera, Engineers without Borders UK: Know how now Workshop
  • Kate Cresswell-Maynard, EWB UK: Rapid Research Secondment Scheme
  • David Sanderson, Oxford Brookes University: Shelter Learning and Advice Service
  • Annie Devonport, DEC: The Future of DEC Funding for Reconstruction
  • Jo Da Silva, Arup: Lessons from Aceh
  • Lewis Sida, Independent: South Asia Shelter Review for Oxfam GB

5th UK Shelter Forum

The fifth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by the British Red Cross on 06.02.09.  The theme of this meeting was Urban Shelter Issues. Speakers included:

  • Tom Corsellis, Sheltercentre: Update on projects being run by shelter centre
  • Graham Saunders, IFRC: Emergency shelter cluster meeting Geneva
  • Tom Corsellis, Sheltercentre / Graham Saunders, IFRC: Shelter and climate change
  • Jo da Silva, Arup : Lessons from Aceh: considerations in post-disaster
  • Manoucher Lolachi: The immediate-long term post conflict strategies of technical assistance on comprehensive physical urban planning concerning life- saving services including urban planning, shelter, water, sanitation
  • Lawrence Hamai, Oxfam & Joseph Ashmore, Independent: Case studies of Haiti
  • Peter Francis, Jamaica Red Cross: Case Study of Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kitka Goyol, Oxfam GB: Discussion on Gaza

PechaKucha 2009

On Thursday 5 February 2009 Arup and Oxfam hosted an evening of presentations and discussions focusing on the relationship between the built environment and development sectors.

  • What can individuals in the built environment offer the development and humanitarian sectors?
  • What can commercial organisations learn from NGOs, charities and volunteers?
  • How do these worlds relate?

Using the Pecha Kucha format of 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds, 12 speakers shared their designs, thoughts and experiences of shelter.  The event was attended by a mix of academics, humanitarian practitioners, policy makers and construction professionals and is thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.  Money raised by the Pecha Kucha evening was donated to the UK homeless charity shelter.

The 12 presentations are summarised here.

4th UK Shelter Forum

The fourth UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Oxfam GB and Care International on 05.09.08.  The theme of this forum was Lessons and Learning. Speakers included:

  • Tom Corsellis, Shelter Centre: Transitional Settlement & Reconstruction Guidelines
  • Seki Hirano: Case Studies of Emergency & Transitional Shelter Projects
  • Jo Da Silva, ARUP: Post Disaster Reconstruction Guidelines
  • Mark Goodwin, RICS & Emily Darko, BuildAction: Resources for Built Environment Professionals
  • Liz Lambert, Oxfam GB: Learning & Training for the Shelter Sector?

Lessons from Recent Disasters – Cyclone Nargis

  • Simon Springett, Oxfam GB: Remote Programming in Shelter Projects
  • Lizzie Babister, Care: Plastic Sheeting as a Default Shelter Response
  • Rick Bauer, Oxfam GB: Market Survey Tool for Shelter Materials

3rd UK Shelter Forum

The third UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Care International on 11.01.08.  The theme of this forum was Tools, Training and Collaboration. Speakers included:

  • Jim Kennedy, NRC: Shelter Tools- standing (unwittingly) on the shoulders of giants?
  • Toby Gould, RedR: Discussion on Training
  • Tom Corsellis, Shelter Centre: Collaborative Tools
  • Jo da Silva, ARUP: Habitation Matrix
  • Graham Saunders, IFRC: Moving ahead on shelter- opportunities for interagency collaboration

1st UK Shelter Forum

The first UK Shelter Forum was hosted by Oxfam GB on 11.12.06.  The topic of this forum was Rising to the Challenge: NGO-Led Shelter Construction.  Speakers included:

  • Tom White, CHF: A Catalyst Approach to Housing
  • Vicki Wooding, Habitat for Humanity GB: Using Contractors
  • Elizabeth Babister, Oxfam: Beneficiary Led Reconstruction
  • Jo da Silva, Arup: Seismic Issues