Community-Based initiatives in post catastrophe scenarios: potentials and limitations to academic involvement and “Learning by Doing”

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Renato D'Alençon
Cristina Visconti


Currently the disaster risk management framework is overcoming the purely technical and financial dimension in order to include the social, cultural and environmental spheres. This shifting towards a more holistic perspective calls to develop strategies of emergency and reconstruction management that consider the social acceptance of the interventions respecting the identity of the affected community and their material and immaterial heritage. Ten years of experience in “design-build” initiatives dealing with emergency and reconstruction after catastrophes, is investigated in this article as a good practice of inclusion of population needs in post-disaster process. These range from good-will volunteer reaction turned spontaneously into disciplinary work due to lacking institutional capabilities, to scaling-up of teaching formats to non-profit, community related intervention. The experience underlines the pedagogic and research potentials, as well as the logistic hurdles, the limitations of prototype escalation and the barriers posed by lack in public policies or adequate institutional frameworks. The practices are discussed to support a prospective development of the proposed approach to outline a possible integration of the design-build methodology and the service learning as a bottom up practices in the current framework of emergency and reconstruction.


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How to Cite
D’AlençonR., & ViscontiC. (2016). Community-Based initiatives in post catastrophe scenarios: potentials and limitations to academic involvement and “Learning by Doing”. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 1(1), 171.


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