Humanitarian Construction

Coordinator: Dr Hannah Robertson

Our planet faces significant challenges from global climate change, increasing natural disasters, urbanisation, population growth, intra-state conflict and poverty. The response to these challenges is largely implemented by the humanitarian sector. Within this sector, the provision of built environment facilities (e.g. schools, hospitals, shelter, water and sanitation, infrastructure etc) is critical. Such facilities are often implemented in complex and challenging contexts which extend the skills of those built environment professionals responsible for delivering them. This subject investigates the role of built environment professionals in the humanitarian sector. The topics covered include the global and regional humanitarian sector, the role of the built environment in the humanitarian sector, development / post-disaster / post-conflict reconstruction contexts, stakeholder equity and participation, monitoring and evaluation, building community capital and resilience, and pathways to working in the humanitarian sector.

The major assignment in this subject involved the interdisciplinary and collaborative design and strategic development of a construction project in response to a particular humanitarian context. The purpose of the exercise is to utilise a ‘real world’ example to expand, apply and develop knowledge in parallel to the theoretical content of the subject. The aims of this assignment are to enable direct engagement with a particular humanitarian project to:

1) understand and navigate contextual challenges, interdisciplinary roles and responsibilities in a culturally and environmentally sensitive manner;

2) design an appropriate building typology and structural system;

3) map project processes from planning, design and construction through to post-occupancy evaluation; and

4) identify, utilise and build upon appropriate local resources (human, natural, financial, social and physical) in the process.

This year we developed a 'Women's House' in Senegalese part of the Kaira Looro Competition with the goal of improving gender equality outcomes.

Construction 2021_winter