Disasters and the Small Dwelling : The State of the Art
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In discussions of disasters, emergency shelter and post-disaster housing, there is often a tendency to forget that disasters are more than events which cause death, injuries and destruction to property. In order to understand the problems that are involved, we must first recognize that disasters are a human problem and that our study of disasters and their impact on housing must be viewed in the context of the society that builds and occupies the housing units. Too often, housing is examined simply as an artifact -- a design or structure -- rather than as an end-product of a very complicated process. It is difficult enough to try to understand the human processes within a culture with which we are familiar; attempts to understand the processes within societies of the Third World are made doubly difficult by the necessity of understanding the consequences and impact of a program on a society which is trying to make social and economic progress, or as we say, to develop. It is this need to understand relief programs and the provision of housing assistance within a context of development that I wish to emphasize. As long as disasters are viewed solely as phenomena which cause temporary hardships, rather than as major factors affecting the ultimate outcome of the development of a society, we shall be committed to perpetuating the mistakes that have been made in the past and the impact of post-disaster housing and emergency shelter programs will continue to compile a dismal record.
DescriptionKeynote address presented by Frederick C. Cuny at a conference, Disasters and the Small Dwelling, Oxford Polytechnic, Oxford, England, April 19-21, 1978. Housing, Building & Construction. (300) Studies of Relief System . (11) Pre-Disaster Planning/Mitigation/Hazard Management. (50) Disaster Preparedness. (60)
The digital Cuny Archive was made available in part through funding assistance from USAID.
Cuny, Frederick C. (1978). Disasters and the Small Dwelling : The State of the Art. INTERTECT. Available electronically from