Bulengo IDP camp, near Goma, DRC. Bulengo IDP camp, near Goma, DRC. Photo credit: Aubrey Graham/IRIN

Temporary Human Settlement Planning for Displaced Populations

by Andrew ChalinderJanuary 1998

This sixth GPR in the RRN series sets itself the task of broadening thinking on temporary human settlement planning in emergencies. It asks what is good, or at least better, practice in planning ‘for’ not planning ‘of’ temporary settlements for displaced populations. The author draws a distinction between the more technical aspects of site allocation and preparation and decisions which take into account political, environmental and economic sustainability issues when planning settlements.

The Review contends that the long term implications for emergency assistance programmes of the choice of area or region in which a displaced population is encouraged to settle are frequently overlooked in the scramble to find a site and that more attention needs to be directed at a managerial level within both development and humanitarian sectors towards finding a sustainable solution.

A key notion which drove the thinking behind the Review was the feeling that the outcome of planning must have at its core a notion of community and sustainability for the different groups affected by displacement, including both the displaced and the host populations. The idea of assisting a target ‘area’ rather than a target ‘group’ is explored as one of a number of possible options which need to be considered as part of a responsible planning process.

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