Pakistan: Community Led Sustainable Reconstruction

08/31/2010 01:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Cameron Sinclair Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network

It has been devastating to watch the waters slowly rise and sweep away whole villages in Pakistan. With over 20 Million people affected the question is not should we respond, but how? The last thing we need to do is implement a broken system of top down 'hand out' relief. It is our responsibility, we need to continually rethink the way we implement in the long term. We need to be transparent in our work and to focus on local job creation within the recovery and reconstruction phase.

It is our mission to make sure that we are building back better but also in a sustainable manner, not just environmentally but economically too. Our local Karachi chapter has been taking the lead team on our reconstruction work as well as a number of existing partners that have shown a grassroots approach to community led rebuilding. Below is a basic three point approach that will evolve, depending on funding and need;

1) Support and empower local rebuilding efforts
By working with our local chapter we can ensure that local design and construction professionals are supported on the rebuilding effort. The team has been collaborating with Karachi Relief Trust on housing prototypes for areas affected in the North and South of the country and are developing a long term plan for self help reconstruction and rehabilitation in three villages.

To date they put up 150 tents, distributed 5000 meals a day and helped assist on the cleaning and fumigation of homes for more than 1000 families. Today they will be erecting 20 water stations that will provide 10,000 liters of clean drinking water.

This weekend the team travels North to continue the clean-up program and get people back into there homes where possible.

Architecture for Humanity Housing Prototype for Karachi Relief Trust

2) Support Historic Preservation
Architecture for Humanity and Heritage Foundation are working together to build . We first connected after the Kashmir earthquake and continue to collaborate on projects, most recently school building.

The Heritage Foundation, founded by Yasmeen Lari, are working in the swat valley to support housing for 500 families using a simple and traditional building methodology to build incremental housing. A basic home, engineered by Amin Tariq Assoc., is constructed and through technology transfer the family can implement additional rooms as needed. These shelters are 190 square feet, made from bamboo with dhijji cross bracing and costs $400.

Building a sustainable incremental home for the cost of a UN Tent. Added bonus: locals affected community members trained and hired to build

3) Update and distribute disaster resistant housing manuals
After the Kashmir earthquake we helped to develop a post disaster housing manual, with a focus on natural building materials. This was distributed on the ground and used for self help building.

The manual was adapted for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and we are re-adapting it for the regions affected by the floods. We will work with a number of natural building experts to make sure basic housing incorporates the latest appropriate construction technologies and materials.

Thanks to the support of the Live for Pakistan event we are scaling up our efforts. Here's the live link from Live 4 Pakistan

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