Building back better with people centered housing recovery

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    Since 2006 when “Build Back Better” (BBB) was used in Aceh to advocate for post-tsunami recovery that reduces risk and improves people's lives, BBB has become widely-used in disaster risk reduction and recovery, post-disaster recovery plans, and was recently featured in the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. While improving upon pre-disaster conditions is a shared goal for recovery, BBB is shown to be both too broad a term to offer meaningful direction in relation to housing reconstruction, and also used too narrowly to describe safer construction without holistic consideration of what is “better” for people's lives. This paper argues that “People Centered Housing Recovery” (PCHR) can address these limits of BBB and guide post-disaster housing reconstruction with multiple aspects: housing design and form that meet people's needs; genuine participation of empowered residents in decision-making and construction; and holistic policies accountable to all residents. This framework of PCHR is used to examine cases of housing reconstruction and relocation after two disasters—the 2010 volcanic eruption of Mt. Merapi in Indonesia, and 2013 Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines—and PCHR is suggested as a way to think about truly building back better for people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)84-93
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug


    • Build back better
    • Housing recovery
    • Merapi eruption
    • People-centered housing reconstruction
    • Typhoon Yolanda

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Building and Construction
    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
    • Safety Research
    • Geology


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