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Inclusive and resilient shelter guide: accounting for the needs of informal settlements in Solomon Islands

  • Published on November 4, 2022

Rapid urbanisation in the Global South is leading to the growth of informal settlements in urban areas, commonly characterised by inadequate housing and a lack of essential services. It is estimated that nearly one-third of the worlds’ population is living in unsafe and unhygienic conditions and experiencing considerable socio-economic disadvantage. What’s more, natural hazards exacerbated by climate change, pose increasing risks to the integrity of the housing. Solomon Islands, a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific region, is a case in point. The country is rapidly urbanising, has a high rate of poverty, limited governance capacity, and poor living conditions. In Honiara, the capital city, an estimated 40% of its residents now live in urban informal settlements, with urbanisation and climate challenges further compounded by land conflicts, ethnic tensions, and insecure land tenure. Given the unique challenges facing urban informal settlers are often overlooked by shelter guides, this paper aims to address this identified gap by developing a gender and disability-inclusive guide that considers the complete lifecycle of a disaster (pre-, during- and post-); informed by the needs, values and aspirations of communities living in the informal settlements of Honiara. Qualitative data was gathered through 5 community workshops and stakeholder interviews. With an emphasis on self-response, the identified shelter needs were then matched with the roles and responsibilities of the Government to support a process of ‘assisted’ self-preparedness and recovery.

Professor Usha Iyer-Raniga is at the School of Property and Construction Management at RMIT University. Usha is co-leading the One Planet Network’s Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme (SBC), United Nations 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (UN 10FYP SCP) aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 12, as well as the newly formed Integrated Platform for Circular Economy, Climate Resilience, and Energy.  This paper is directly related to the work of the OPN SBC programme.

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