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​​Toward healthy housing for the displaced

Dr Dima Albadra, Prof David Coley & Dr Jason Hart, University of Bath, UK

Awards RIBA President's Awards for Research 2017

Category Housing (Annual Theme)

Azraq Refugee camp, Jordan 2017 © Scarlett Tiger Coley

The population of people living in temporary settlements after disasters is in the millions and the average stay in these settlements exceeds a decade. This paper reviews the literature on the design of post-disaster relief shelters in order to: establish the state of the art, identify trends and describe the academic activity of the past forty years. The analysis demonstrates that the academic engagement in this topic is limited, with fewer than sixty publications in the past four decades. Displacement camps are often situated in countries with extreme climates. However, the issue of the thermal performance of shelters and their impact on health is found to be further overlooked. In an attempt to re-balance this situation, thermal surveys were conducted in two refugee camps in Jordan. The study found that the refugees were very unsatisfied with the thermal conditions in their shelters, particularly in summer. Internal surface temperatures of 46°C were recorded in September and indoor CO2 concentration levels of 2700 parts per million (ppm) were measured in winter. In addition, this paper reported on the adaptation strategies used by refugees to cope with the heat and cold, and reported on their views on shelter design considerations and satisfaction.

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