Architecture for Disasters: Utilizing Architecture to Effectively Provide Disaster Relief: A case study on Poverty in the Dominican Republic
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“The world is changing rapidly. The scope and scale of connectivity and related insecurities are accelerating, as are the threats of contagion and exposure to natural disasters and violent conflict. National policy space to enhance coping capabilities is becoming more and more constrained as globalization deepens. In an increasingly interconnected world what was once local is often now global as well, due to international trade, travel and telecommunications. Globally integrated supply chains, for instance, have brought efficiency gains. But disruptions at one point of the chain can trigger serious local problems elsewhere. The types of public goods, both natural and global, that are needed to build long-term coping capabilities and resilient societies are underprovided. Across the world people feel insecure.”1 What type of system can create “long-term coping capabilities and resilient societies” ? As the damage created by natural and human caused disasters increases every year, there is an urgent need to begin creating lasting solutions. The current systems of aid relief must adapt to meet these growing challenges. Current aid rarely extends beyond immediate relief and often leaves areas vulnerable after intervention. When aid does focus on long term built development, the methods used “tend to prevent the accommodation of needs when they are known: people are seldom given a chance to participate in design and places are not evaluated after they are built.” This thesis proposes a shift in disaster relief thinking from an individual resiliency focus to a community resiliency focus through architectural intervention. There are currently many types of aid relief, and architectural approaches to aid relief utilized. Several will be reviewed in this thesis. The adoption of architectural and community focused aid creates opportunities for participatory decision making, appropriate design solutions, and long term capacity building. The best way to achieve long term resilience is through development phases that create needed resources and establish sustainable construction techniques in disaster areas. A case study in the town of La Ermita in the Dominican Republic will be used to demonstrate the phase system through four phases and show how this system can create long term resilience through full fruition of the design process.