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Sat September 25 2021

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UN-Habitat seeks ideas for low-cost housing for disaster zones

9 Nov 18 UN-Habitat and partners including Build Academy and Airbnb have launch a global challenge for the design of housing units costing US$10,000 or less.

The units target victims of natural disasters and people living in vulnerable areas to minimise the negative impact, save lives and help communities recover faster.

Architects, engineers, designers and aid workers are being challenged to reposition housing at the centre of development agendas and promote the design of resilient, modular, low-cost and sustainable homes. The aim is that the homes will reduce risks caused by natural hazards and can be constructed rapidly following a disaster.

UN-Habitat is a United Nations whose mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. It has partnered with the World Bank, Airbnb and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery (GFDRR) to launch the challenge for the design of low-cost resilient and sustainable housing units.

Poor design, low quality of construction, exclusion from central planning processes and inadequate access to basic services expose many city residents to serious environmental and health hazards, said UN Habitat. Over the last 10 years, natural disasters alone have rendered over 23 million people homeless and displaced another 240 million, with the poorest residents of cities most affected. With 50 per cent of the building stock required by 2050 yet to be built, cities have an opportunity to adopt better housing designs and improve the quality of construction and planning to make them more resilient.

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The challenge is organized to address three possible scenarios:

  • scenario 1 - island countries affected by earthquakes, storms and flooding;
  • scenario 2 - mountain and inland areas affected by earthquakes and landslides;
  • scenario 3 - coastal areas affected by storms and flooding.

Architects, engineers, and designers from all over the world can enter the competition as individuals or as teams. Designs may be submitted for any or all three scenarios and participants are encouraged to look beyond ‘fully prefabricated’ housing designs and incorporate local building materials into their designs.

Details of the competition are online at Deadline for submission of designs is 30 November 2018. There is no registration fee for participation. An international jury will review submissions and announce winners on 14 December 2018. Winning designs will be exhibited at the World Bank in Washington and the UN-Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi and could eventually inform design of resilient housing or reconstruction work for World Bank-funded projects in places such as the Caribbean and South and East Asia.

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