Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Role of Architects in Post Disaster Reconstruction

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posted on 2021-11-22, 23:52 authored by Hulme, Jessica

In post-disaster reconstruction in underdeveloped countries, architects all too often create design solutions with little appreciation of the environment in which their solutions are expected to work. The disaster context for reconstruction is complex and irregular. Issues vary from lack of available resources; difficulty in transporting resources, inflation of costs for construction materials, corruption in the allocation of aid money and resources, language barriers, and the complexity of architects needing to meet the local socio-economic and cultural norms of each particular community. These are but a few of the complexities that need to be addressed when working in post-disaster reconstruction.  This paper draws on grounded theory field research and analysis of reconstruction efforts in Samoa after the tsunami in 2009 and category 2 Tropical Cyclone Evan (TC Evan) in 2012,; and category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston (TC Winston) that devastated Fiji in 2016. This paper measures this research and analysis against literature and research and analysis of other post-disaster reconstruction case studies to come up with design iterations that are viable for the post-disaster context of Nanokonoko village, Viti Levu, Fiji.  This thesis investigates the ways that the architectural process of design can be used so that post-disaster communities have access to adequate, self-sustainable, and affordable housing. It does so by identifying the gaps and potential barriers that are created along the rebuilding work flow, then analyses and recommends an improved process for post-disaster reconstruction in underdeveloped countries for the architect and architecture to follow. By adopting the recommended process of reconstruction, the living situation of communities will significantly improve immediately following the disaster and in the long-term.  This thesis also explores the many other value adding roles that the architectural framework can benefit reconstruction through. By ensuring designs are culturally and socio-economically viable to the rural village of Nanokonoko and engages with the affected community in the early stages of recovery.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Potangaroa, Regan