Belén Gesto Barroso, PhD Architect
Sonia Molina Metzger, Architect







1. TOPIC INTRODUCTION (by Viveik Saigal):

Humanitarian housing must mean more than respite from apocalypse dodging; it should nurture the life experiences that enrich, be built around systems that not only beat back death, but which foster life. We can envision housing solutions that cherish self reliance, agency and hope – lead by civil society, normalising engagement with rather than alienation from those most in need. 





The UN Refugee Agency.19 june 2018

Wars, violence and persecution uprooted record numbers of men, women and children worldwide last year, making a new global deal on refugees more critical than ever, according to a UNHCR report published today.

The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world at the end of 2017, more people than the population of Thailand.

Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase UNHCR has ever seen in a single year.

New displacement is also growing, with 16.2 million people displaced during 2017 itself, either for the first time or repeatedly. That is an average of one person displaced every two seconds. And overwhelmingly, it is developing countries that are most affected.


The number of asylum-seekers awaiting the outcome of their applications for refugee status had risen by about 300,000, to 3.1 million, by the end of December 2017. People displaced inside their own country accounted for 40 million of the total, slightly fewer than the 40.3 million in 2016.



International Federation of red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. World Disasters Report 2018


In 2015, the world pledged to ‘leave no one behind’ as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

But millions of people are left behind in humanitarian crises. Precise figures remain elusive (given measuring need is an inexact art), but the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Global Humanitarian Overview (OCHA, 2018a) estimates that some 134 million people will require humanitarian assistance worldwide in 2018. It further estimates that around 97.4 million people would be selected for international assistance under the joint humanitarian response plans, leaving a 27% gap which would only be partially met by domestic authorities or other organizations including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.Looking at several major operations from 2017, in some cases fewer than half of the people estimated to be in need were actually known to be reached by internationally supported humanitarian assistance.


Shelter approach in Humanitarian Aid:

Shelter is essential for the physical protection and privacy of people affected by displacement,allowing them to lead lives in a safe, supportive and culturally appropriate setting.

We seek to protect rights and save lives by providing timely shelter interventions to meet both immediate and temporary needs, promoting durable solutions and enabling families to access social services and livelihood options.

Shelter activities should aim to facilitate both the physical and social needs of targeted beneficiaries in all phases of a crisis and across a range of settlement options beyond the household, including: Housing andEmergency Shelter, Community Infrastructure, Settlement and Camp Planning, Non Food Items (Household and Shelter NFI).


Shelter programmes should not focus solely on the delivery of shelter as a physical product but should also include a range of wider social and settlement related considerations which enhance and complement the impact of individual shelter solutions.

Appropriate strategies and activities should be defined based on a contextual analysis such as scale, climate, culture, available materials and skills, logistics, funding, legislation and policies, and needs.





The present seminar wants to:


- give a short introduction to the problem of slums, informal city and new urban development

- focus on emergency, due to natural and social disasters

- provide instruments to deal with some of the challenges students could find if they decided to work on emergency, related with planning, access to basic services and shelter.




The seminar consist of lessons (L) and a workshop (W) based in Project Based Learning (PBL) methodology.

PBL method consists of a collaborative teaching system. It focuses on a more active student’s participation, involving them in active research to solve a problem in a real context.








Students will work in 6 groups, composed by 3/4 people each.

Each group will have to settle 5.000 people that have been affected by a disaster designing a camp, providing them access to basic infrastructures and a suitable shelter designed for the emergency response.


There will be 3 groups working with people affected by a natural disaster (flood), and other 3 groups working with refugees, and they will work on three different climatic areas:

A) Cold/temperate/Mountains. They will work in Pakistan, municipality of Bathkela.
B) Hot/Desert/ Continental Climate/Heatwaves. They will work in Jordan, municipality of Mafraq.
C) Wet/Tropical/Winds. They will work in Colombia, municipality of Arauca.

Therefore, the 6 groups will be:

A1. Pakistan, natural disaster (flood)
A2. Pakistan, refugees
B1. Jordan, natural disaster (flood)
B2. Jordan, refugees
C1. Colombia, natural disaster (hurricane_ flood)
C2. Colombia, refugees

Over 50% of the refugees are children (under 18 years), and half of them are under 7 years. The number of women is slightly higher than men, and it is to mentioned the high number of women-headed-households.

However, population affected by floods are mainly complete families, although there are also single people as well as elder. A special focus on vulnerable groups is needed (women and unaccompanied children).

Along the workshop, they will work according to these phases:

1. Research on the climatic areas where projects will be settled.
2. Research / data collection from existing emergency manuals.
3. Choice of a land for the camp. Each team will choose a plot for their proposal in the municipality proposed, according to the criteria recommended by emergency manuals explained and provided as bibliography.
4. Propose the urban plan of the camp
5. Research about infrastructure for emergency: water supply, sanitation and energy
6. Propose infrastructure solutions: urban scale and unit scale
8. Definition of three housing units (single people, families, big families). Size and clusters according to the previous urban layout.
7. Research about industrial and deployable constructive systems.
9. Design of an industrial and deployable constructive system for those units, considering the climate assigned, the availability of materials in that area, the cost, further maintenance and counting on users to manually assemble the system.
10. Provide the shelter`s solution budget




February 18th 2019
1. General introduction to the speciality, general concepts (L1)
2. Lecture about New Urban Agenda, focus on emergency (L2)
3.1 Introduction to exercise, by Belén Gesto and Sonia Molina (W1)
3.2 Bridging the gap: Architectural Guidelines for Citizen Action on Emergency Housing , by Viveik Saigal (W1)

February 19th 2019
1. Lecture about International Agencies and their role in Emergency situations (L3)
2. Emergency introduction (L4)
3. Emergency Manuals (L5)

February 20th 2019
1. Water and sanitation infrastructure, part I (L6)
2. Water and sanitation infrastructure, part II (L7)
3. Energy infrastructure (L8)

February 25th 2019
1. Shelter solutions for emergency (L9)
2. Participants present their research about water, sanitation and energy infrastructure (W2)
3. Participants present their proposals: choice of a plot and urban layout. Proposals review, desk critics (W3)

February 27th 2019
1. Shelter Case Studies for emergency (L10)
2. Participants present their research about industrial and deployable constructive systems (W4)
3. Participants present their proposals on infrastructure design (urban scale and unit scale). Proposals review, desk critics (W5)

March 12th 2019
1. The Shelter Projects presentation and the IOM work (L11)
2. Shelter Projects Case Studies (L12)
3. Participants present their proposals: housing units, constructive system and cost (W6)

March 13th 2019
Proposals review, desk critics (W7, W8, W9)

March 15th 2019
Proposals final presentation and submission (W10, W11, W12)



Each group will deliver 2 A1:

one with the site selection, urban and infrastructures proposal; the other with the detailed shelter solution.





The final grade (over 10), based on the workshop, mainly, will consider:


- Student's participation along the seminar. Tey are invited to participate during the lessons as well as try to take advantage of the knowledge of every lecturer ( 1/10 )

-Proposal quality ( 5/10 )

- Innovation ( 1/10 )

-Context adaptation ( 1/10 )

-Final presentation, where all the group members must take part ( 2/10 ) 

TOTAL 10/10




(1+1=11) is a mindset that expresses the possibility of the exponential social benefit resulting from an informed and experienced Citizenry engaging with Upright officials in good faith and discussion. Resilience as a social benefit emerges when Citizens lead, question and refine while Policymakers, define, embed and re-assess results into a cohesive whole.