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Sheltering From a Gathering Storm: The Cost and Benefits of Climate Resilient Shelter

Authors: Marcus Moench & The Sheltering Team

Shelter design is one of the greatest factors influencing the loss of lives and assets during extreme climate events and is therefore a significant cost for governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations working on disaster risk reduction or postdisaster reconstruction (UN-HABITAT, 2011). The project Sheltering From a Gathering Storm has generated substantive information on the costs and benefits of climate resilient shelter designs. This information will contribute to the transformative changes necessary to make communities more resilient to future disasters. Using cost-benefit analysis, this applied research project has produced outputs that provide insights into both the economic and nonfinancial returns of adaptive, resilient shelter designs that take into consideration hazards such as typhoons, flooding, and temperature increases. The research spans South and Southeast Asia, with a focus on Central Vietnam, Northern India, and Central to Northern Pakistan.

Key Points in Brief:

  • Resilient housing designs can cost-effectively reduce losses by vulnerable communities due to floods, storms, and high peak daily temperature events. 
  • Access to affordable resilient housing designs and the funding required to implement them is especially important to the poor and near-poor who have access to land and housing. 
  • Simple, low-cost design features have been identified through Resilient Housing Design Competitions.
  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses of investments in climate resilient designs show high benefit-cost ratios under a range of scenarios. 
  • Access to affordable financing coupled with awareness and training of builders are the primary barriers vulnerable populations face in accessing climate resilient designs.
  • While shelter designs can reduce the impact of extreme storms and floods, the ability to address increases in temperature through shelter design changes alone is limited.

Citation: Moench, M., & The Sheltering Team. (2014). Sheltering from a gathering storm: The Cost and Benefits of Climate Resilient Shelter. Boulder, CO: ISET-International.

Funded By: (Disclaimer) These documents are an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) for the benefit of developing countries. However, the views expressed and information contained in these documents are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID, DGIS, or the entities managing the delivery of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, which can accept no responsibility or liability for such views, completeness or accuracy of the information, or any reliance placed on them.