Despite increasingly robust knowledge of recovery processes after disasters, the transition to sustainable housing in the aftermath of crises continues to be fraught with challenges. Incremental approaches to shelter have emerged as a central theme in post-disaster assistance, offering greater choice to affected populations while recognising the non-linear time scales of recovery. This research examines 32 post-disaster shelter projects in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Drawing from 1,474 household surveys, land tenure and household income were assessed, examining their respective impact on expansions and modifications. Four years after Haiyan, results show two out of every three households provided with short- and medium-term shelter assistance had expanded or modified their dwellings and over half of those resettled through government assistance had altered their homes. Household incomes were found to be 16% higher for those that expanded or modified shelter, while those with more secure tenure were almost a third more likely to have made improvements to their shelter. These differences reinforce the linkages between shelter, livelihood, and land, but importantly draw attention to incremental shelter as not such a programmatic approach, but foundation for shelter in recovery.

Opdyke, A., Palagi, S., Venable, C., Javernick-Will, A. (2018) “Homeowner Expansions and Modifications: Implications of Household Income and Land Tenure for Incremental Shelter.” International Conference on Building Resilience. Lisbon, Portugal, November 2018.