A study of reconstruction in India

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A study of reconstruction in India

  1. 1. Looking back at agency-driven housing reconstruction in India Case studies from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu CDMHR/BSHF Reconstruction Conference Coventry, 15-16 January 2014 C Jennifer Duyne Barenstein, PhD With Akbar Nazim Modan, Katheeja Talha, Charanya Khandhada and Nishant Uphadhyay
  2. 2. Questions • What is the overall physical condition of the houses several years after reconstruction was completed? • To which extent did people adapt and transform their agency-built settlements and houses ? • What were the purposes of their adaptations? • How did the introduction of new housing designs and building technologies influence their own building practices? • What challenges and constraints did they face in their attempts to transform their houses?
  3. 3. Research methods • 3 years independent research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and SDC • Interdisciplinary multi-sited case studies (anthropology and architecture) • Year 1: Field research in 4 villages in Maharashtra 18 years after the 1993 earthquake • Year 2: Field Research in 2 villages in Gujarat 12 years after 2001 earthquake • Year 3: In-depth field research in 2 villages and participatory appraisals + household survey in 8 villages in Tamil Nadu after 2004 Tsunami
  4. 4. The Latur earthquake of 30 September 1993 The earthquake • 8000 people killed • 2500 villages and 190,000 houses partially damaged • 52 villages and 28,000 houses fully damaged Government reconstruction policy – Fully and severely damaged villages were rebuilt in relocated sites by GOI or NGOs – House sizes and homestead plots based on land ownership • Large farmers: house 770sqf; plot 480 m2 • Medium farmers: 400 sqf; plot 240 m2 • Small/landless farmers: 250 sqf; plot150 m2
  5. 5. Overall reconstruction outcome in Maharashtra 18 years after the earthquake (1993-2011) • In all villages most houses are inhabited by their original owners or by their children • Significant difference in quality of settlement and houses between villages • 90% houses made some extensions with quality varying depending on socioeconomic conditions • Prevailing materials for roof: GIS sheets (people still scared of EQ!) • Prevailing material for walls bricks, stone, cement blocks, mud, often used in a mixed combination • Self-built extensions are not EQ resistant • Large size of new villages allowed extensions leading to densification
  6. 6. The case of Malkondji The village Size of old village: 5.81 ha People killed by earthquake: 7 People injured: 5 Size of new village: 22.77 ha Population (1993): 1562 (281 hh) Population (2012): 2865 (360 hh) Reconstruction approach • Participatory NGO-driven reconstruction in relocated site at 600 m from old village • Involvement of socially and environmentally sensitive professional planners and architects • New village plan inspired by traditional layout (clusters of houses) • Good construction quality • Public spaces and plantation of trees Outcome • High level of satisfaction • Overall good physical condition of houses
  7. 7. Old and New Malkondji
  8. 8. Housing before the earthquake Building materials 87% of the people lived in traditional Malwad houses characterized by Stone walls with mud mortar, wooden frame, heavy mud covered roof Spaces and items •Dhelaj: Entrance Porch •Chaukhat: Threshold at entrance •Osri: Shaded semi open area around court •Tulsi Vrindavan: Sacred plant in the court for worshipping •Uttarand: Series of mud pots kept over one another containing first seeds of the harvest and kept for good luck and prosperity. •Soban: Storage space for firewood and cattle fodder. •Deoghar: Family shrine •Gotha: Cattle house •Kanagi: Huge grain containers made of wattle and daub. 3D Model of the typical Malwad Construction
  9. 9. New Malkondji
  10. 10. The new houses
  11. 11. The new houses
  12. 12. The new houses • NGO built houses with two rooms and toilet and bathroom on all the plots. • House was on one end of the plot. • Government added a single room or three room house in same plot for those entitled to larger houses as per policy.
  13. 13. Transformations at settlement level: Densification Village at the time of reconstruction (1996) Village plan in 2011
  14. 14. Construction of temples
  15. 15. Transformations of houses Chronology of extensions: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Kitchen Tulsi vrindavan Storage Living Delaj Toilets
  16. 16. Beautification and personalization • The house walls though made in various materials like stone, bricks and concrete blocks, express attempts to put the traditional embellishments on the wall. • Many houses painted their entrances with two mythical door guards in order to welcome prosperity. • Entrances transformed to resemble the traditional Dhelaj.
  17. 17. Achievements Plot size, position of core house and compound walls allowed to reproduced culturally appropriate housing conditions leading to high levels of satisfaction
  18. 18. Challenges • • • • Local masons do not master RCC construction Most people cannot afford high quality construciton Extension did not include anti-seismic features Use of hybrid materials
  19. 19. Lessons learnt from Maharashtra • Design and physical condition of buildings does not look impressive but was satisfactory and allowed for extension • Settlement layout and plot size are of crucial importance to enable extensions • Importance of right placement of house in plot • Plantation of trees is essential for thermal comfort • Community participation led to positive results and long-term satisfaction • In spite of exposure to safe building technologies unsafe building materials practices persist for walling • Strong preference for GIS sheets as roofing material out of fear of EQ
  20. 20. The Gujarat earthquake of 26 January 2001 The disaster •Killed 20,000 people •Damaged one million houses •Affected 7,633 villages and towns •Fully destroyed 300 villages Reconstruction policy •Government policy: People could choose between government supported owner-driven reconstruction and agency driven reconstruction •Agency driven reconstruction (NGOs, private companies): degree of community participation varied but in many cases was limited and reconstruction was contractor-driven. •Communities’ preference: Given a choice, over 73% of the villages opted for owner-driven reconstruction •However 272 villages were reconstructed by 72 NGOs and private companies
  21. 21. Overall reconstruction outcome 12 years after the earthquake • Majority of people who did not opt for ODR would make this choice if a disaster would again damage their houses • Highest level of satisfaction (94.5% of respondents fully satisfied • People who opted for ODR could move back to their houses earlier • Quality of construction was good (sample: 136 houses) • Most cost-effective approach • Culturally, environmentally and socioeconomically more sustainable • Extensive use of salvaged building materials • Less grievances about inequities and corruption
  22. 22. The case of Fadsar Location: Gujarat, Jamnagar district Size: 8 ha Population 2001: 1379 people 2012: 1500 people Religion: 100% Hindu Livelihoods: Cow herding and farming Social organization: Caste-based, mainly Ahir, divided in about 15 sub-castes Spatial organization of old village: clustered village divided 5 caste-based neighbourhoods
  23. 23. The old village Old Fadsar is located on a slightly elevated ground which protects it from floods during the monsoon. It has an important temple visited during festivals by hundreds of pilgrims from all over Gujarat
  24. 24. Housing before the earthquake Building materials Walls: Stone and/or bricks with mud or cement mortar Roofing: terracotta tiles Spatial organisation • • • • • • • • • Pankh = open veranda Osri = closed veranda Ordo = interior rooms Rasodu = kitchen Faliyu = courtyard Dela = entrance Deli = covered space for cattle Bethak = guest room Chokadi = bathroom
  25. 25. New Fadsar
  26. 26. New Fadsar Size: 16 ha (old village 8 ha) Location: Flood prone lowland Reconstruction approach • • • Contractor driven in relocated site No community participation 317 Houses with different sizes and homestead plots based on land ownership • Large farmers: house 770sqf; plot 480 m2 (84 houses) • Medium farmers: 400 sqf; plot 240 m2 (165 houses) • Small/landless farmers: 250 sqf; plot150 m2 (68 houses)
  27. 27. The new houses Size • Cat A: 50 m2 on 400 m2 plot • Cat B: 40 m2 on 250 m2 • Cat C: 30 m2 on 100 m2 plot Design • Urban • Small porch • Living room • 1-2 bedrooms • Kitchen in backside • Toilet block • No bathroom • No compound walls! Building materials • Walls: Brick • Roof: RCC sloping roof • Windows and doors: Plywood
  28. 28. The new houses (2004)
  29. 29. The new village in 2005 Construction was completed in 2003 but many families refused to move and until late as in 2005. There are signs of immediately extensions - particularly of the boundary wall, pankh and the kitchen.
  30. 30. The new village in 2013 Occupancy Rate • 92% of houses are occupied mainly by their original owners Adaptations and Transformations • • • • • • 77 % of the houses made Extensions 4 houses were transformed in Temples Few houses are also used for commercial purposes (shops, mill) Most common chronology of transformations 1) Compound wall 2) Verandah 3) External kitchen
  31. 31. Large house transformed in temple: the Sikorta Ma Temple of the Kumbharwadias in the new village
  32. 32. Medium-sized house converted into three shrines for three different goddesses important to the Wankh community
  33. 33. Adaptations and transformation of houses Chronology • • • • • Compound walls Pankh (veranda) External kitchen Shaded area for cows Construction of bathroom
  34. 34. Addition of Several influential families received more than one house and therefore betakh, deli and large plots of land. This enabled them to recreate traditional spatial dela typologies like the deli, betakh and the dela, unlike the owners of smaller plots.
  35. 35. Transformation of a small house The obviously unsuitability of the agency house for a cattle herder’s family shows the pitfalls of a one design fits all approach.
  36. 36. Unmodified house 72 % of the unaltered houses are found in the smaller areas where spatial and economic constraints often collide.
  37. 37. Reconstruction outcome • Initial dissatisfaction with new village and houses was very high. In 2004 over 90 of the people were not satisfied • Over the years people adapted: Those who could afford it transformed and extended their houses • Poor people could not afford it but their housing conditions in old village were not necessarily better • Over the years people discovered advantage of relocation: they re-appropriated themselves of the old village!
  38. 38. Achievements Thanks to relocation people were able to re-appropriate themselves of the old village Housing conditions of poorest people improved
  39. 39. Constraints •New village located on floodprone lowland •Poor construction quality •House design culturally inappropriate and did not consider extensions and transformation needs •People’s building capacity did not improve •People’s transformations and extensions are generally not seismically safe
  40. 40. Lessons learnt from Gujarat • If financial and technical support are adequate ownerdriven reconstruction leads to better results than agencydriven reconstruction • Relocation may have some advantages in terms of allowing people gradually to reappropriate themselves and restore old village and houses • Lack of community participation in design and construction leads to long-term negative consequences
  41. 41. The Indian Ocean tsunami and its impact in Tamil Nadu The disaster •10,880 people killed •150,000 houses destroyed (Official estimate) •80% of death and damages in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district Reconstruction policy: Government invited NGOs to rebuild full villages on relocated sites at min. 200 m from High Tide line Government defined regulated house designs, building technologies, and plot size Building materials: Brick walls, flat RCC roof, with or without RCC columns, Brick foundation, cement mortar and plaster. House size: 30 m2 Plot size: 125 m2 in rural areas
  42. 42. House Design specifications by the Government of Tamil Nadu Source: Government of Tamil Nadu guidelines for reconstruction, 2005
  43. 43. Overall reconstruction outcome 9 years after the tsunami • Huge quantity but poor quality of houses also for non-affected people • Reconstruction is still on-gong under new governmental project with World Bank funding in what became mass social housing programme • Due to land shortage many new settlements built on very flood prone land • Government started projects to make-up for poor construction quality • Most people start making transformations and planting trees as soon as they move in the new house
  44. 44. The case of Seruthur Location: Tamil Nadu, Nagapattinam district Population: 3000 people Religion: 100% Hindu Livelihoods: Fishing, Labour, Migrant Labour in SE Asia countries Caste: 100% Meenawar (Fishermen) Village size Old: 8 ha New: 10.72 ha Spatial organization of old village: organic clustered village facing the sea with few narrow paths leading to the beach. Houses oriented along the east west direction.
  45. 45. The old village One portion of the village was built on a dune and was higher than the rest of the village. The rest of the village, including its oldest part and the area around the temple were built on a lower plain.
  46. 46. The traditional kura house Typical Kura house spaces • • • • • • • • • • 1a 1b 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Main entry secondary entry Thinnai = closed veranda Attu Kottai: goat shed Ullarai = inner, private room Pooja Arai - The prayer room Samayal kottai : kitchen shed Samayal arai : kitchen room Kazhivurai – toilet, built by agency Open bathing area 7 8 3 4 1 2 Optional spaces • • • Thala vasal: front open space (optional) Kooram: an intermediate private space that leads to the ullarai when there is more than one Kuliyal arai: bathroom 1a 6 5 1b
  47. 47. A newly built traditional kura house 7 8 4 3 1 2 1a 6 b
  48. 48. The new village in 2008 First phase of NGO construction was completed in 2008 and the people were force evicted from temporary structures to occupy allotted house against their will in some case.
  49. 49. The new village in 2011 Number of agency built houses: 584 Number of inhabited houses in old village: 113 out of 570 Occupancy rate: 87% Transformations: 52%
  50. 50. The new houses • 6 different NGO’s were involved at various stages of reconstruction • Reconstruction approach: Largely Contractor-driven in relocated site without community participation expect for one NGO • House an plot size varies from one NGO to another NGO’s and their contribution : 1. NGO A: 200 houses built in 200506 (36 m2 ) 2. NGO B: 231 houses built in 200708 (30 m2) 3. NGO C: 66 houses built in 200809 (36 m2 ) 4. NGO-D: 50 houses built in 201112 (42 m2) 5. NGO-E: financial support for ownner-driven reconstruction 6. Government of Tamil Nadu: 33 houses built in 2010-11 (36 m2 )
  51. 51. Collective adaptation at settlement level • Demand for more houses than were actually damaged to satisfy housing needs of new generations • Refusal to move to new houses • Repair of houses in old village • Collective demolition of poor quality NGO-built houses • Collective monitoring of construction • Construction of temple in new village • Repair of temple in old village
  52. 52. Transformation of NGO-built houses 87% occupancy rate 52% of house owners made extensions or transformations No house used for other purpose Main type of extensions • • • • • • • • • Construction of: boundary fence (veli) or Compound walls Entrance veranda External kitchen Kitchen converted into pooja room Construction of bathroom and toilet Terrace shelter Raising the ground level of homestead plot Plantation of trees
  53. 53. Addition of Boundary fencing or compound wall One of the first extensions made by the majority of the people is to secure induvidual plots by constructing organigc fence or brick compound walls. This investment was of pivotal importance to regain a sense of privacy and the traditional outdoor oriented lifestyle.
  54. 54. Convertion of kitchen to Pooja room The addition of an external kitchen aided the transformation of the original kitchen in to a pooja room. This was frequently observed as the occupants preferred privacy in the pooja room.
  55. 55. Addition of Entrance and Verandah Almost equal importance was given to building an entrance verandah , extension are made with thatch or concrete or cement board, aimed at gaining outdoor thermal comfort as well as to protect the building from extreme climatic conditions and was made to 60% of the houses.
  56. 56. Addition of thatched roof to terrace The terrace is transformed into a space with multiple uses by constructing a simple thatch roof. Not only does it protect the house from the extreme climatic conditions, it also facilitates the occupants to sleep there during summers or while entertaining guests, further clothes are also dried here.
  57. 57. Plantation Cases exist where no material extensions have been made but with dedicated tree plantation efforts, climatic comforts are achieved. It is also seen that instead of constructing a structure for the entrance veranda, occupants have created a basic skeleton for creepers, extensions of this kind or basic plantation is made in 10% of houses.
  58. 58. Beautification and personalization
  59. 59. Achievements • • • • • • • Housing condition of poorest people in improved Young couples got opportunity to set up independent household In Serethur community gained awareness about the quality issues and became more engaged in quality control People are getting land titles (process ongoing) In spite of the fact that new village is scattered social cohesion could be maintained Through upgrading and proper maintenance houses may be durable People could retain old village and houses
  60. 60. Challenges and constraints • • • • • • • • • Village divided in 3 relocation sites Distance from sea has negative impacts on livelihoods New settlement is too dense and plot size too small for making extensions and planting trees High investments required to make houses livable in agency houses Lack of open space for livelihood activities and social social interaction Water logging Poor construction quality No consideration for traditional settlement layout and lifestyle Inadequate knowledge of new building technology
  61. 61. Lessons learnt from post-tsunami reconstruction in Tamil Nadu Value of local building materials needs more recognition Very difficult to attain durable concrete houses in local climatic conditions Many international NGOs put too much trust on local partners More attention needs to be given to overall habitat (tree conservation and plantation), local culture and lifestyles
  62. 62. GENERAL FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION • Physical condition of houses several years after the disaster greatly depends on quality of construction and further maintenance, which depends on agencies’ commitment and communities’ financial capacity. More quality control is needed during construction! • People have the willingness and capacity to transform their settlements and houses but may be constrained by lack of financial mean and technical guidance and other factors • Settlement plan, plot size, location of house in provided plot, house design strongly influence adaptation and transformation needs and opportunities • Due to economic constraints and insufficient know-how building practices tend to remain unsafe. • Post-disaster reconstruction accelerates but not necessarily to trigger technological changes in construction • In most cases too little attention is paid to preservation and restoration of natural habitat (trees) which are of crucial importance for thermal comfort and livelihoods • Settlement plans need to take into account the need for collective spaces and buildings that communities want to build themselves (e.g. temples) • More efforts need to be made to preserve and improve local housing culture and building practices. This can be done enabling people to be in control of rebuilding their houses
  63. 63. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! Jennifer Duyne Barenstein, PhD WHRC University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland www.worldhabitat.supsi.ch with Akbar Nazim Modan Kateeja Talha Charanya Khandhada Nishan Uphadhyay

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