User involvement in housing recovery: Cases from Haiyan affected areas in the Philippines

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The aim of this study is to develop a better understanding of the relation between housing recovery and user involvement from a capability perspective. The thesis studies housing recovery in areas affected by typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on 8th November 2013. The focus is on three perspectives: a) approaches to housing reconstruction, b) explanation for unexpected housing outcomes, and c) user involvement. The study uses basic critical realism as metatheory, and case study is the main research strategy. Data collection techniques include observations of social settings, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, a workshop, field notes and document analysis. Fieldwork was carried out in 2014 and 2015 in several cities in Leyte.

Regarding approaches to housing reconstruction, different types of partnerships, components of the reconstruction approach, housing solutions, and types of user involvement, have been discussed. Concerning explanations for unexpected housing outcomes, the study uses a realist laminated ontology to explain how multiple causal mechanisms triggered unexpected outcomes in the housing recovery programme in the province of Leyte. The Resolution Redescription Retrodiction Elimination Identification and Correction (RRREIC) method, a critical realist model of scientific discovery for applied research, was applied to the empirical data and complemented with policy analysis. Six plausible causal mechanisms have been discussed. Regarding user involvement, the study proposes two tools for user involvement from a capability perspective. The Model for user involvement in evolutionary housing recovery has been used to analyze and assess housing reconstruction carried out by two non-governmental organizations a) We Effect, and b) Gawad Kalinga. The study also proposes Freedom to Rebuild, a post-disaster housing evaluation framework, as a tool addressed to disaster survivors for self-assessing their predisaster vulnerabilities, their involvement in housing recovery, and their resilience after occupancy.

The case studies on We Effect and Gawad Kalinga draw attention to how active involvement of prospective users in different stages of housing recovery has contributed to expand their capabilities. Active involvement denotes medium, high or very high levels of user involvement. The findings from the GK-Village in Tanauan show that non-involvement in the first two stages of housing recovery has been compensated to a certain extent because users had high involvement during the post-occupancy stage. However, the enhancement of capacities is limited in comparison with the We Effect project, in which users have attained medium, high and very high levels of involvement. The findings from the We Effect project in Ormoc show that multiplicity of opportunities, purposive choices and a combination of medium, high and very high levels of involvement in the different stages of housing recovery have led to disaster survivors with enhanced capacities at the individual and collective level. These users are confident in their resilience towards future natural hazards in terms of having attained safer housing solutions, experience regarding partnerships with other organizations for accessing funding, and skills for repairing their own houses.

Unfreedoms for resilient resettlement should be transformed through enacting procurement and housing recovery policies that are consistent with counteracting pre-disaster vulnerabilities. Such policies should foster multiple reconstruction approaches, spatio-material conditions that allow for a multiplicity of housing solutions and tenures in-city, and involvement of prospective users in housing recovery. Hence, policies and regulations for resilient housing recovery would create conditions for building both resilient communities and resettlements.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Laike, Thorbjörn, Supervisor
  • Åstrand, Johnny, Assistant supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date2019 May 16
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
ISBN (Print)978-91-87866-42-5
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-87866-43-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 18

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2019-05-16
Time: 13:15
Place: Lecture Hall A:B, A-Building, Sölvegatan 24, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering LTH
External reviewer(s)
Name: Boano, Camillo
Title: Professor
Affiliation: University College London, United Kingdom

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Architectural Engineering
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Philosophy

Free keywords

  • User involvement
  • housing recovery
  • Capability Approach
  • Capability space
  • evolutionary housing
  • Critical Realism
  • vulnerability
  • resilience
  • causal mechanisms
  • opportunities
  • choices
  • capacities
  • agency
  • typhoon Haiyan
  • social structures
  • National Housing Authority
  • Gawad Kalinga
  • We Effect
  • types of involvement
  • levels of involvement


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