Special Lectures

Human Security Special Lecture B

Date : Monday, February 7th, 2017
Time : 17.00 – 19.00
Place: 1st Conference Room, 1F of Building #6, GS of Medicine, Seiryo Campus
Lecturer Title : People-Centered Housing Recovery: Social Equity in Disaster Reconstruction.
Lecturer : Assistant Prof. Liz Maly(Div. International Disaster Resilience, IRIDeS, Tohoku University).

The seventh Human Security Special Lecture B has been held on Tuesday, February 7
th 2017. The lecture titled “People-Centered Housing Recovery: Social Equity in Disaster Reconstruction” was brought by Assistant Prof. Liz Maly, from Division of International Disaster ResilienceI , International Research Institute for Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University. The lecture was attended by students from both Human Security Program and
Graduate School of Medicine.

Prof Liz Maly’s lecture was divided in 3 main issues which were such as housing recovery after disaster,the idea of people centered housing recovery and her experience on several international examples of postdisaster housing recovery. Prof. Liz Maly explained first about the definition of house and housing and why either house or housing correlated with human security especially during disaster reconstruction. A house’s definition can be described in many meanings and depended on those purposes. On the other hand, house
definition was totally different with housing definition. Housing is a physical structure, but is closely connected to livelihood and other aspects of people lives. So the real meaning of house on disaster reconstruction is not only talking about a place for sleep and daily life but also developing emotional function, social function, spirituals function and so on. If house and housing is not controlled with an appropriate policy, these factors can also be considered a threat to human security.

People-Centered Housing is one of ways to overcome the threats and achieve “Life with dignity” in housing problem after disaster. Prof Liz Maly mentioned seven aspect to improving housing recovery after disaster. But before having it, we have to be sure about people or survivor was involved in housing decision to develop better lives after disaster. Investigating their opinion about size/shape of the house for the household and lifestyle, house structure, affordable to buy or rent or repair a house, house’s location, daily live and social cultural function should be considered by government, donor, private company or another contractor. It is really important to conduct a priority person list that gets a house by risk assessment due to a different situation and different criteria which will affect to the process of housing recovery. The process of housing recovery should support smooth transitions and re-establishing stable housing quickly.

The people centered idea was already alive in the 1970s by John Turner and concerned issues in the United Nation Conference on Human Settlement, and International Development. People centered housing recovery mean as house built match residents’ needs for their live, people are involved (participation) and their voices are included in the decision making process. The other idea in people centered housing recovery is equitable reconstruction means disasters-affected peoples’ need are addressed (equity was being considered in an aspect on housing recovery). Meanwhile equity in housing recovery is closely related with vulnerability because disaster does not affect people equally and affect vulnerable people severely. Examples in housing damage and recovery in consist of low income people are more likely to live in poor quality housing and in hazardous area and low income people, renters, elderly and sick people will have harder time and face extra challenges in recovery but some people will have more power and have more advantages to access same resources. However we don’t need support people equally but need to assess by based on vulnerability or needs and also support their livelihood and deal with vulnerability.

In the next explanation, human security calls for people centered, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented response that strengthen the protection of individual and their communities. Either of human security and people centered recovery were focused on prevention or building back in a way to reduce future disaster impact. Human security aims to insure the survival, livelihood and dignity of all individual especially the most vulnerable. Both of human security and people centered ideas talked about vulnerable and managed vulnerability not only in housing recovery situation but also in all situations which has related with vulnerable member and vulnerability condition. So like human security, the principles of people centered housing recovery can be applied to different context (rich or poor, developed or developing countries, various kinds of communities, cultures and governments).

Prof Liz Maly explained her experience about how solved housing recovery problem with people centered approach in housing recovery after disaster at Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan, Housing recovery after Typhoon Yolanda, Tacloban, Philippines, and Post Merapi, Rekompak Program, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The key points for people centered housing recovery after disaster according to Prof Liz Maly are first, house meet residents’ need for their lives such as house form (design, materials, and construction), location that allows for work, school, medical and shopping and then about cost are acceptable to resident. Second, people’s voice are included (people are involved, their ideas and desires included in decision making process and people are the ones who know their own need best). The last one, equitable reconstruction is important think such kind like all disaster-affected peoples’ needs are addressed, those who need assistance are not left out and additional assistance provided for those who need it.

(Reported by Tri Bayu Purnama, Graduate School of Medicine)