In 1999, when two massive earthquakes1 shook Düzce in Turkey, the City is left with huge amount of housing shortage within a ruined public routine. According to consequences of disasters, Düzce had been left with 300.000 residential and 50.000 business units’ losses. Due to the volume of housing shortage, the Ministry of Public Works and Settlements had tendered the construction of provisional settlements to 25 private contractors. Approximately 20,000 prefabricated houses were constructed in the effected areas, and around 8000 units were donated by Turkish Military, national private companies and foreign countries including Japan, Israel, Germany, USA, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic and the Cyprus Federation (Ibid, 2002). In addition to the housing donations as units, the Spanish Government provided a loan of 400 million US$ for housing reconstruction and good supply by stipulation on purchasing the products from Spain.
Image: Temporary housing settlements in Düzce
Temporary Housing Settlements in Düzce
For reconstruction response, 15 settlements were constructed in both inner city and the surroundings with all the aids and provisions supplied by Turkish Organizations. The process was conducted by the Directorate of Prefabricated Constructions of GGDA. Municipality of Düzce and Ministry of Public Works cooperated together for provision of infrastructure and site services, even though the neighbourhoods were not included in municipal authorization boundary. On other side, the GDDA also constructed various units in the same neighbourhoods by using their wooden prefabrication technology. In addition, different types constructions were built by international donors and organizations’ aids that comprised igloo type, containers, steel-structured units, paper log houses and also constant prerequisites of aid organizations.
This diversity created the different tendencies and attitudes seen on the residents. Due to their time span, the physical changes are observed and they have a character to be a tool to identify the local behaviours and prototyped products. For a researcher it is observed an opportunity to analyze the mismatches and positive sides of the implemented approach, “Temporary Housing”. By basing on this opinion, Temporary Housing reviews are done with different design layouts and prototypes of provision houses are given above. The research is important to explore the physical features and design ideas behind the executions, directly related with use of time expectation.
Review of temporary housing settlements in Düzce
This section analyses the data obtained in fieldwork briefly explained above. In order to illustrate research analysis, the framework is constituted to perceive the logic that comprises land and location, physical features and environmental aspects.
Land and Location - Adequacy for settling, Accessibility, Ownership definition, Development possibilities
Physical Features - Necessary activities, Road systems, Zone planning within master planning, Relations to the activities, Relation to the neighbourhoods, Layout patterns, Spatial organizations, Space dimensions, Cultural codes in space formations, Building technology use, Traditional construction methods, Contemporary construction methods, Labour skills, Experience on related technologies, Material selection, Resistance of materials, Economic life of products, Local materials, Imported materials
Problems of sustainability in current temporary housing practices
Temporary housing can promote success of the overall reconstruction process because it enables families to begin immediate recovery at the same as allowing adequate time for proper community planning to reduce risk and increase sustainability for future construction.
However, due to their nature, formal temporary housing projects are an extremely unsustainable form of housing because major investments are made in units that will only be used for a short amount of time (typically planned for 6 months to 3 years of use). Johnson (2007) shows that:
Temporary housing is very expensive in relation to its lifespan and in some extreme cases can cost the same amount as a permanent dwelling (Geipel, 1991).
Overspending on temporary housing can be wasteful and jeopardise the permanent housing programmes.
Materials (or units) have a much longer lifespan than their intended period of use.
Even though temporary housing is intended only for short-term use, the ensuing housing crisis in most post-disaster areas means that temporary housing has a great likelihood to become permanent, unplanned, housing for the lowest income residents.
Hence, it is important to understand how the permanence of temporary housing, or what we may call the ‘second life’ of temporary housing can actually be a sustainable practice:
economically, in terms of getting a longer life out of the upfront investments in temporary housing;
environmentally, by recycling buildings, building parts and rational use of land near the city; and
socially, by providing much needed low-cost housing to the market.
Based on the case study of the temporary housing programme in Turkey, this research looks at the long-term outcomes (4 years after construction) of four temporary housing projects in Düzce, one earthquake affected town. It asks: What happened to the temporary housing once it was no longer used to house disaster affected families? Which outcomes are the most sustainable, especially in addressing housing needs and rational urban planning? What sorts of design and planning considerations are needed?
Local resources versus imported resources
Effective reconstruction requires skill, labour and materials. It also requires them in a vastly greater quantity than normal demand. Therefore, officials tend to look in all directions for the support they need. This is a natural and necessary response, but a dilemma remains whether to select local versus imported people or products. The advantage of local resources is the obvious need to strengthen the local economy which may have been significantly damaged or disrupted. The selection of a local product can have consequences through a chain of producers to retailers. The use of local skills and labour can also provide vital employment and these may enhance local commitment to the recovery due to strong solidarity with their own wider community. However, local resources may be inadequate for the task, therefore external support may be essential to close the gap between needs and resources. It is also clear that some aspects of reconstruction require expert skills and knowledge which has to come from other parts of a country or from international sources.
A Methodology of Shelter Assistance
While there are several agencies that assist in finding shelter, in most cities there is no methodology in place to assist those persons actually living on the streets. When the standard shelters are full there is no place for these people to go. They can be seen nightly in streets and alleys sleeping under blankets made of newspaper or cardboard. A system of providing emergency shelter for these persons could significantly reduce the amount of suffering these persons must endure (Farmer et al, 2005).
In the case of natural disasters, after each event has been declared and even sometimes before the event has occurred, if the event is eminent, like in the event of a flood or hurricane, agencies within and outside of the federal government are mobilized to prepare to provide disaster relief. The form of this relief varies from event to event, but generally includes, temporary shelter, food, clothing, and medical supplies. The temporary shelter provided could be broken down into two general categories: short term, and intermediate to long term. The short-term shelter provided usually takes the form of tents. These tents can be shipped into the disaster area by truck or helicopter within hours of the event to provide almost immediate shelter relief. The intermediate to long-term shelter generally takes the form of mobile homes.
After Hurricane Andrew, mobile homes were supplied to help house the estimated 5,000 homeless (Tardanico, R, 1993). These mobile homes were either newly purchased for this event or supplied from storage areas set up throughout the country. In addition to the substantial initial purchase cost, the use of mobile homes presents several other drawbacks. These include the following:
The purchase - The manufacturing process takes a significant amount of time. It generally only takes one day to manufacture a complete a single section mobile home after an order reaches the production line. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, Arlington, Virginia, a typical mobile home manufacturer can usually produce 8 to 10 mobile home sections per day. However, there are often substantial backlogs. It is not unusual for manufacturers to be a month or more behind schedule.
Storage - To alleviate the problems encountered with the manufacturing process, the mobile home Units can be manufactured in advance and stored. The obvious problem with this is the cost of storage. Can these units be economically stored in strategic locations? In addition to the difficulty finding suitable storage areas, long term deterioration and potential vandalism of the units must be considered.
Transportation - The transportation process is also a lengthy process. Mobile homes are generally transported over existing highways by tractor-trailer. This means there must be clear truck access from the manufacturing plant to the emergency shelter site. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to access remote sites with this form of emergency shelter.
Disposal after use - A fourth problem is what to do with the units after the crisis is over. There are several possibilities. First, the units can be sold used on the open market. This, of course, takes time and considerable administration involvement. A second option is to return the units back to their storage areas. The units must then be inspected and refurbished prior to the next use. This again involves both time and money.
Accordingly, in summarising, the current methodology of providing disaster emergency shelter includes the following drawbacks:
Refurbishing And Reuse Difficulties
Long term effects of temporary accommodation
Pre-planning for temporary accommodation reduces the need for quick decision-making after the disaster:
Decisions made regarding temporary accommodation have long-term effects.
Temporary housing may change the physical structure of the city. This must be planned for from the outset of the project.
Preparedness planning before the disaster can reduce the negative long-term effects of quick decision-making after the disaster. Nonetheless, governments, NGOs and aid organisations will be forced to make some rapid, yet important, decisions immediately after the disaster. This is also true for decisions made and strategies implemented regarding temporary accommodation.
It is easy to criticize in hindsight the decisions made immediately in the aftermath of a disaster. Governments, NGOs and aid organisations must take decisions quickly and immediately after the disaster in order to offer critical aid to feed, shelter and treat the victims of disaster. Decisions taken are seen as necessary in the emergency situation; any critique of these decisions must understand the pressure and urgency under which they were made. However, options that seem good at the time may not be beneficial in the long-term.
The decisions made about temporary accommodation strategies can have long-term effects. If money and resources are concentrated on temporary accommodation, the permanent reconstruction process can be delayed. Also, temporary accommodation tends to be used longer than originally anticipated and this can affect the form of the city and the region, as reconstruction processes have to take place around the temporary accommodation. As time passes, temporary accommodation takes on a more permanent status. Indeed, in many countries, there is, in reality, no such thing as a ‘temporary house.’ Any housing will be used and reused—nobody will dare to pull one down. For these reasons, decision-makers need to consider the long-term when planning for supposedly short to mid-term temporary accommodation.
Table 2: Some key points...
The ‘best-fit’ solution for temporary accommodation must look at the possible types in conjunction with the planning variables. The planning variables must be assessed before the disaster. After the disaster, they must be reassessed to make sure they fit the particular disaster situation. Planning can be done afterwards but it is ideal if it is done beforehand, this saves time and avoids costly quick decision-making mistakes.
Different types of temporary accommodation have different long-term effects. These must be understood for any given strategy. Relatively durable solutions such as temporary housing can take on permanent characteristics; this must be understood and planned for from the outset.
Understanding the pre-disaster vulnerabilities allows organisations to foresee both people’s needs and what damage will be done to the built environment. The regional and local issues are particular to each area. A first-hand knowledge of the area will help organisations know how to react in the disaster situation.
A realistic timeline for project planning, procurement and construction is necessary. Having contracts in place before the disaster can reduce the project delays. The amount of time needed for permanent reconstruction dictates the amount of time temporary accommodation will be needed. The type of temporary accommodation chosen is dependant on the amount of time it must endure.
Emergency relief into rehabilitation
Although emergency relief is a distinctive stage of post-disaster activities, many of the actions and decisions of this period can influence later stages. Extended external relief assistance can undermine local and national coping capacity and create dependency. For example, food aid following a typhoon in Fiji might meet short term food needs, but if the traditional coping mechanisms are underestimated and under used the communities ability to feed itself may be damaged. Any relief assistance, therefore, should balance relieving of immediate pressure on the communities with support for local coping for rapid recovery.
Large scale damaging events, often with pressures from the media, result in large amounts of international relief which leaves limited resources for the long-term recovery and rehabilitation. Continuity of support by agencies and donor governments beyond relief needs to be considered at early stages of allocating funds and other resources in a more balanced way. Articulation of rehabilitation and reconstruction needs into relief appeals and ways of integrating relief and long-term assistance also need to be explored.
While assessment of damage, needs and resources need to be specific and prioritised for the task at hand, i.e. relief, often rehabilitation and reconstruction decisions are based on these early data. This is partly due to the cost and time it takes to collect data and to meet the public demand to act rapidly. Ideally, it is necessary to monitor the changing needs as the situation develops. However, this may not be the case after most disasters. This common pattern needs to be recognized. Therefore, the drawbacks of early disaster assessment and the need to maximize the initial data collection must be taken into account in the planning of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
During the early stages of disaster response it is important to plan the co-ordination of data collection, multi-disciplinary assessment teams, and data generation for later phases. This will improve the quality and effectiveness of early information for rapid rehabilitation and reconstruction decisions.
However, it should be remembered that as conditions change, decisions need to be modified in light of updated information. For example, after a major earthquake the number of homeless is often calculated in relation to damaged or destroyed buildings. However, due to the fear of aftershocks, the public may refuse to go back to their surviving homes, which will increase the need for shelter provision beyond the initial assessment.
While it is important to recognize patterns from early diagnostic indicators for rapid response, decisions to effect long-term actions should not be taken in the haste of relief operations. Decisions such as relocation or provision of temporary shelters require careful examination of their long-term implications and consultation with the communities. There are many examples of temporary shelter provision as a response to an early identified need which eventually became permanent at great cost and often in wrong locations. Similarly, medical programs or food distribution should not be prolonged without monitoring of the changes at the local level.
The following questions try to capture regional and local issues that need to be considered in planning temporary shelter and housing. In this context, please comment on the importance of the following:
How many families may need temporary accommodation?
What are the cultural peculiarities?
Will people tend to migrate away from the disaster-affected area in search of jobs and housing?
What type of temporary accommodation is necessary to provide shelter from the elements?
Do families usually cook, eat or sleep outside? Can they do this in the temporary accommodation?
There are several operational dilemmas and alternatives which are common in the planning for reconstruction. Which of these are most important to resolve in your own country, community, or organization?
Are there other dilemmas that you face in your own situation that should be included in this list?
The role of relief is short term and is one of the most important humanitarian acts during disasters. What does this require in realising its long term objectives?
Identify examples (if there are any) of any unhealthy practices that shouldn’t be performed during relief aimed at long term rehabilitation
Provide examples of good practices that deserve to be followed during relief operations
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