REHABILITATION HOUSING MECHANISMS FOR DISASTER (QUAKE) – AFFECTED RURAL AREAS …A METHODOLOGY ... S.V.Krishna Kumar Architect - Planner “To Adam, Paradise was HOME. To the good among his descendants, Home is Paradise. In an attempt to relocate the survivors after a disaster, my steps to bank on a reasoned proposal shall seem to be possible by all means. However, restoring people’s confidence at the then hour of disaster, shall be very challenging…!” Aim To evolve a sustainable and user friendly built envelope for the survivors after a natural disaster / calamity with due concern for Tradition and Technology, “public participation” Scope of Research The issue shall be discussed for implementation, within the administrative, legal and user’s parameters, as things have to pragmatically work. The research also includes technical (quake-resistant), vernacular and humane issues, in specific of the aftermath of a disaster. Sub-Theme: Participatory Approach in evolving a Humane Habitat & Humane Architecture Prologue Human mind, vision and heart are integrally linked to THINGS that one may have used for sometime, so much so, that one soon develops affinity to continue to use / have the same THING. Out of many such THINGS in life, Space is the foremost THING that a human being likes to be continuously associated with. The SPACE may be a House, Plaza, Avenue, Restaurant, a Public square or even a Classroom. Precisely due to such strong human instincts, one develops a feeling of MINE / MY SPACE. In particular, as the context is of a habitat, the theme in focus can be “a living neighbourhood”. One’s instinct itself establishes mental and visual metaphors with such house/neighbourhood. In this genre of a human behaviour, it becomes an utmost necessity, to take due note of the same while re-designing, relocating or rehabilitating a user in a built envelope that would be physically different to the one which one was associated with. Context There have been many natural calamities in India, in the recent past and infact from the early ''90 s. The aftermath of a natural calamity was always focussed on re-housing the survivors who lost their people, property and essentially, a House. The site selected for rehabilitating them may be the same or a different site. The state governments / authorities concerned, pave way for a housing proposal, to house the living souls in a permanent abode. In the process, utmost care would also be taken to see that the technology supports construction of quake-resistant structures. When the proposal is financially supported by Govt. and N.G.Os, the new neighbourhood starts to take shape and one day, the new space is ready for occupation. The above process and order of happenings being the same, examples have proved that the homeless people(for whom the neighbourhood is built), who in spite of a genuine need of shelter, preferred to reject the HOUSE they are allotted with. The house is technically sound, deems to offer better resistance to earth quakes but the user feels ALIEN to the form, spaces and very appeal of the new house.
The new house does not stand closer to the house that existed before the quake. BUT, the old house was an organic structure and was a part of organic development. Whereas the new house is a part of a totally designed neighbourhood, wherein, things work as per a pre-conceived pattern of development. Hence, it was always the same gulf that could not be bridged. The designers are taken aback when they would have to shape a house, visually closer to the old house of the user. In the event of this possibility too, visual contacts are specific and building for 250 families(say) would mean, building 250 DIFFERENT types of houses, as against the government approved type housing. This was definitely a living issue, because of which, the new relief colonies wore a deserted look despite “people” using them. The Study Process The old settlement no more exists, but geographically a nearby exisng / less-affected settlement may be considered for case study. In the wake of planning for a new settlement, the following qualitative and quantitative aspects (out of many) may be considered: Organic structure of the old settlement, so as to understand the vernacular and visual character of structures that one was living in; Density of the settlement, building / housing typologies etc. Building annexes that house livestock (cattle sheds), separate kitchen, Toilets etc. Building materials used, Structural configuration of the house, ornamentation etc. Architectural character of the old settlement dwellings, building elements, motifs etc. User - Space ratio / per-capita space Public spaces viz., village square, Panchayat office, circulation network etc. Physical infrastructure, perennial sources of supply, extent of dependence etc. Users’ perception, thereby initiating public participation Epilogue In a nutshell, evolving a Humane Habitat must be facilitated by the understanding of sensitive human aspects, environmental concerns, location specific features etc. coupled with public participation, technically supported building methods and humane building forms. Because, we are ultimately designing for human beings, who bear the ability to respond to a congenial built envelope that is not alien, but is mere HUMANE…!!! * * * References and Information Courtesy: Journals of the Indian Institute of Architects, Oct. 1993, Nov.1993 and Mar. 1994 Office of the District Collector, Latur, Maharashtra, India Indian Architect and Builder, !993 Special issue on Latur earthquake.