A People’s process
Post-tsunami self-build housing in Tamilnadu (2005-08)
This essay elucidates some of the lessons learnt from the community participatory process adopted by Artes, in the Post- Tsunami housing reconstruction project at Nagapatinam, Tamilnadu (2005-08). The program was a self-build process, respectful of gender. A pragmatic assessment of regional technologies, materials and skills was undertaken. The technological assessment was conducted by the community, in collaboration with structural engineers. Projects under consideration are in Sirkazhi Taluk and Akkaraipettai, Nagapatinam region in Tamilnadu, which had been adversely affected.
The projects were nominated as best practices by the UNDP, India (2008) for community participatory processes. It inspired a new sense of belonging and confidence in the community. Besides indigenous construction practices, the community was provided an opportunity to learn new construction skills that they desired, which were beneficial in the longer term. The new construction skill sets ensured the community was independent to build their own dwellings incrementally in later years. The community was no more at the mercy of external contractors. The design of the dwellings also enabled future incremental growth. This research highlights some of the lessons in capacity building of communities; using construction skills to enable them to rebuild their own homes, as well as be self-reliant in future extensions and additions.
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