LEARNING HOW TO MAKE OPTIMAL DECISIONS IN DESIGN AND SELECTION OF POST-DISASTER SHELTERS

M. Tafahomi

shelterexpert.org (NGO) (NETHERLANDS)
Optimal choice of shelter solutions in post- disaster emergency situations depends on deep understanding of needs, contexts of the needs, practical knowledge of the available solutions, and smart strategies to connect the two optimally.
Evidence of needs can be submitted both by the beneficiaries and relief specialists as NGO’s and the UN. The solutions can be entered by local or international suppliers.
Post- disaster emergency shelter designers are as any other designer concerned with the ecological, social, cultural, and spatial application of technologies to meet specific human needs after each disaster and in each location. The choice for an on-demand designed post-disaster shelter contributes to optimal post- disaster shelter relief process and sustainable post-disaster emergency shelters. The need for qualified engineers who can translate their technical know-how into tailored solutions is eminent.

In this article we describe a research project that develops and tests a tool for design and selection of on-demand post-disaster emergency shelters, a Decision Support System (DSS). The tool can be used by various groups as the beneficiaries, relief specialists and politicians. The questions asked by the DSS for gathering evidence on needs and solutions, can be adapted to each type of user.
In addition to assisting relief specialists in decision making, the DSS can be used as training tool for relief specialists in the field and for educating engineers in their thinking.