Housing recovery outcomes after typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: a critical realist perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Typhoon Haiyan damaged around a million houses in the Philippines in November 2013. It especially affected the poor. Using a realist laminated ontology, this paper explains how multiple causal mechanisms triggered unexpected outcomes in the housing recovery programme in the province of Leyte. The proposed causal mechanisms were: the intentional causal agency of the Filipino power elite; the collaboration–competition dilemma among individual agents and social structures; the constraints faced by the National Housing Authority with regards to procurement and budget; unfreedoms for resilient resettlement; secondary side effects of land and resettlement policies; and the under the table practice of bribery. The combination of these multiple causal mechanisms generated emergent outcomes such as low output of permanent post-disaster housing, generic housing solutions that cannot be extended, reproduction of pre-disaster vulnerabilities, recovery of valuable land by the Filipino elite and allocation of public funding to a limited range of recipients.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
  • Landscape Architecture


  • causal mechanisms, critical realism, Housing recovery, the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-168
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Issue number2
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch