Natural hazards, disasters and local development
The international community demonstrates solidarity when a territory and its people are victims of a disaster. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, are all natural hazards that threaten an increasing portion of the world’s population, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Aware of the difficulties encountered by affected populations in the reconstruction of their built environment (housing, infrastructures), some organizations in charge of disaster reduction programs raised the issue of the impact of reconstruction aid. While a number of successful operations were noticed, most evaluations highlighted deficiencies at various levels, particularly with regard to the sustainability of operations. On the one hand, accessibility issues were noted: high costs, technologies impossible to master locally, problems linked to the availability of materials. On the other hand, the architectural typologies presented as solutions were questioned: often too technical, they did not take sufficient account of the realities of local living. Aware of these shortcomings, these organizations seek to make things change. This, among others, is the case of CRAterre, a research laboratory at the National School of Architecture of Grenoble, which manages, at the same time, research and field activities, in order to develop and offer alternative concepts and implementation strategies. It is high time that the research conducted over several years be more widely known and shared.