Standard Pre‐Disaster Design Requirements for the Design of Innovative Emergency Shelters

Martine Magdalena van der Does, Fordham University


Since the beginning of the 20st century humanitarians, architects and designers have made efforts to design emergency shelters to shelter people in the direct aftermath of a disaster. Many solution, realistic or less realistic, have been developed over the years, some of them tested and found useful, others tried and failed. Very few designs have been tested or evaluated to filter out lessons learned and design requirements for future projects. According to UNOCHA there is a ‘severe shortage of information on the effectiveness of past projects’ (IFRC and UNOCHA 2015, p.59) and ‘providing adequate shelter is one of the most intractable problems in international humanitarian response’. (Lord Paddy Ashdown 2011 in IFRC and UNOCHA 2015, p. 10). Legal frameworks, guidelines and handbooks currently provide limited information about the design of emergency shelter. This lack of information on agreed and evidence based design requirements, together with the limited capacities and skills and disconnect of designers from affected people, is a bottleneck for humanitarian innovation and prevents the development of adequate emergency shelters. This research makes an effort to identify the design requirements for emergency shelter by first defining the term emergency shelter, second by reviewing literature, guidelines, standards for emergency shelter and legal documents related to adequate housing, third by having experts in the field of emergency shelter to complete a questionnaire. This questionnaire aims to identify if the design requirements identified in the literature review, covered the design requirements for an appropriate emergency shelter according to experts in the field. Concluding this research delivers a set of design requirements and identifies the gaps and opportunities for further research.

Subject Area

Social research|International Relations|Architecture

Recommended Citation

van der Does, Martine Magdalena, "Standard Pre‐Disaster Design Requirements for the Design of Innovative Emergency Shelters" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10268707.