CENDEP Conference

Shelter Conference 2009

Shelter Conference 2009

Building Relevance: Post Disaster Shelter and the Role of the Building Professional

One day conference hosted by the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Friday September 18 2009

While natural disasters are growing and humanitarian agencies are increasingly being called upon to provide good shelter responses, the engagement of built environment professionals is surprisingly low. How can these professionals, and in particular architects, add value to post disaster shelter construction?

To address this question the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) held a one day conference at Oxford Brookes University. Over 50 participants attended, from non governmental organisations (NGOs), universities, intergovernmental agencies and specialist think-tanks. Keynote speakers included experts from the IFRC, the NGO CARE International UK, University College London, Westminster College and the Geneva-based Shelter Centre.

In preparation for the conference, CENDEP asked 12 leading shelter practitioners their views on shelter after disaster, the 'state of the art' in shelter practice, and the role of built environment professionals, in particular architects. To see this report, click here.

The conference reviewed the state of the art in post disaster shelter and discussed the current roles of shelter practitioners currently working in the sector. It debated what role is there for architects, if any. The conference agreed that, while architects do have a role, they need to radically rethink their approaches if they are to be relevant to post-disaster shelter. For many architects, this may mean 'relearning' the skills they have developed to engage better with clients (those affected by disaster) in a process, rather than just focusing on an end result – the shelter – as a product. For the summary conference report, click here.

Photographs from the conference:

CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009 CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009 CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009
CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009 CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009 CENDEP and IFRC Conference 2009