SERVICES DESIGN - PLANNING PROCESS
Practical Action maintains a people first approach to housing. We firmly believe that when the
housing process starts with comprehensively identifying the needs of the people, then the
technology for providing the infrastructure and services will fall into place. Practical Action is
committed to the fact that a house is not merely a structure but a starting point for communities
to regain a lost future.
This brief describes this approach taken by Practical Action in post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri
Lanka. However, it would also have wider application wherever homes and livelihoods have been
damaged by disasters or where rebuilding or improvement projects are being undertaken with the
resident population that is vulnerable; in many slums or informal settlements, for example.
Prior to designing permanent shelters for persons displaced by disasters it is imperative to
engage the community in the planning process. It is also important that communities understand
the context of the changes and future risks they will have to face as a result of the disaster.
It is recommended that prior to entering into housing rebuilding; a general discussion takes
place. This will help participation of the community and the housing rebuilding subsequent
Figure 1: Photo credit: Practical Action South Asia
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