Joint Brookes-Harvard disaster conference marks six months since Typhoon Haiyan

Wednesday, 07 May 2014

CENDEP-Harvard conference

Oxford Brookes University’s Department of Architecture and Harvard University have delivered a joint conference on preparedness and response to urban disaster.

The event has been taking place at Harvard University between 5 and 7 May 2014, six months after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck on 8 November 2013.

It was organised and chaired by Professor David Sanderson, Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes and visiting Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

It also comes as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a national organisation which brings together 13 UK aid charities in times of crisis, publishes its Response Review of the Typhoon Haiyan appeal. The independent report, co-authored by Professor Sanderson, evaluates the early stages of the DEC funded response.

The conference, which has three key themes – response, resilience and transformation – has brought together more than 150 people, including humanitarian aid practitioners, government workers and designers within the spatial and physical disciplines, to explore ways of improving actions before and after disasters.

Humanitarians, architects, planners and other designers have critical roles to play in urban disaster recovery. The question is: how do they work better together to address the pressing needs of urban disaster?

Professor David Sanderson, Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes and visiting Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design

The keynote speech was delivered by Professor Georgia Butina Watson, Head of Oxford Brookes’ Department of Planning, alongside Professor Andrew Natsios, Executive Professor at the George H.W. Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University.

Former Brookes student Victoria Stodart, who is currently working as a global shelter advisor for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), also presented at the conference. She drew on her work which also includes researching and advising on regulatory barriers to emergency and transitional shelter after natural disasters.

Commenting on the event, Professor David Sanderson said: “Humanitarians, architects, planners and other designers have critical roles to play in urban disaster recovery. The question is: how do they work better together to address the pressing needs of urban disaster?”

The event is co-sponsored by the IFRC and Habitat for Humanity. For further information on the conference, please visit the design for urban disaster website.