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Sheltering from a gathering storm

Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Started In: 
Completed In: 
Supported By: 
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) - START, UK

Shelter accounts for the highest monetary losses in climate-related disasters and is therefore a significant cost for governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations working on disaster risk reduction or post-disaster reconstruction. At the household level, the shelter is often the single largest asset owned by individuals and families, and the failure of shelters to protect people from hazards is a significant risk to lives and livelihoods. This two-year long research programme targeting peri-urban areas in India, identified practical solutions for resilient shelters and the long-term economic returns of investing in such shelter structures, focussing on cities facing the risks of flooding. The project was led by ISET-International in partnership with GEAG.

The project recognised resilient shelter design through its interventions. A national level “Resilient Housing Design Competition” was hosted by GEAG. The competition involved local architecture schools and professional firms, and developed climate-adapted shelter designs that are low-cost, technically effective and culturally acceptable; the best-judged shelters were the subject of the cost-benefit analysis research.


The key messages that the project recognised:

  • Resilient housing designs can cost-effectively reduce losses by vulnerable communities due to floods events
  • Access to affordable resilient housing designs and the funding required to implement them is especially important to the poor and near-poor that have access to land and housing
  • Simple, low-cost design features such as those identified through “Resilient Housing Design Competition” can significantly reduce losses from climate risks
  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses of investments in climate-resilient designs show high cost-benefit ratios under a range of climate scenarios