In September 2022, the UN High-Level Champions released a goal for a major breakthrough in the housing sector: that by 2030, 1 billion people have better design, construction and access to finance to live in decent, safe, affordable and climate resilient homes. To reach this goal, policy makers and program implementers will require coordinated and innovative approaches to disaster-resilient housing.

Climate Resilient Housing seeks to champion these initiatives to replicate, scale, and learn from to deliver on this goal and to reach a greater number of people with resilient housing.

City-Level Action to Prevent Loss and Damage in Bogota

landscape photo of buildings in Medellin

73% of the houses in Bogota are vulnerable to earthquakes. According to the Seismic Risk Modeling for Bogota Buildings in 2017, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake would cause severe damage to more than 16,000 blocks, and moderate damage to around 22,000  additional blocks, causing an estimated 68 trillion Colombian Pesos in losses, approximately $20 Billion US Dollars. The goal of Bogota’s administration is to recognize and improve the self-built neighborhoods, which includes encouraging the growth of housing offered within these communities.

The Government of Bogotá is mitigating these risks and advancing greater resilience through the Caja de la Vivienda Popular (CVP), an office whose goal is to transform and improve housing, habitat and living conditions.  CVP has initiated the structure, design, and implementation of Plan Terrazas Distrital, a program that recognizes, improves, and expands informal housing in the city of Bogotá. With this initiative, through the CVP, families who built their homes informally are being recognized for the first time, which means that their building is legalized with a retroactive construction permit called an Act of Recognition, supporting the improvement of their houses with technical and financial assistance.

The CVP has begun construction on the first 60 houses in partnership with Build Change’s technical support. Plan Terrazas is one of the most important housing projects that have been implemented and financed in Latin America, with transformational potential for resilient housing against multiple hazards and to build overall resilience.

Innovation for Coastal Resilience in Dominica

housing being built in front of mountains The Dominica Housing Recovery Project (HRP) is an island-wide project spearheaded by the Government of Dominica and the World Bank designed to replace destroyed houses while building resilience in the housing sector. The project not only serves the immediate purpose of restoring homes for the most vulnerable families but also improves construction practices permanently on the island. Successful program applicants are provided with financial, technical, and administrative assistance to drive their individual, homeowner-driven reconstruction of a core house.

 An innovative component of this initiative is the development of an end-to-end Management Information System (MIS) for housing upgrading, designed to complement the homeowner-driven project model. The suite of interlinked web and app-based platforms comprising the MIS provides a single a digital platform to manage all stages of each homeowner’s journey, from application through to construction completion, ensuring transparency and accountability. Launched in 2019, the MIS has since been used to facilitate the efficient receipt and processing of almost 3,000 applications. Overall, 420 families are set to benefit from the HRP once construction has been completed.

Financing Housing Resilience in the Philippines

Makati housingAccording to the World Risk Index 2020, the Philippines ranks ninth globally in terms of disaster risk, the second highest among Asian countries. By connecting homeowners to financing sources to upgrade housing, it’s possible to not only reduce this risk but also to generate community involvement, develop safer construction, and advocate for disaster-resilient housing.

Recent efforts by six microfinance institutions (MFI) to develop loan products for resilient housing that are within the borrowing capacity of low-income households are providing these kinds of opportunities.

By building the technical capacity of MFIs, increasing their funding sources for housing loans, and mitigating the risk associated with lending, we are strengthening financial pathways for a greater number of Filipinos to have access to climate-resilient housing. Collaborating with bigger lenders with higher financial capacities and risk tolerance will enable the flow of financial investment from the mainstream financial market and make larger funds available to MFIs. To date, over 40,000 have been reached by safer housing in the Philippines.

Adaptation through Densification in Honduras

In 2020, Category 5 hurricanes Eta and Iota struck Central America, leaving many Hondurans’ houses damaged or destroyed. Partners Build Change and the Honduran Red Cross are working to support families living in flood zones and build resilient second stories for their homes. This partnership combines the trusting relationships between the communities and the Honduran Red Cross with the technical and advisory expertise of Build Change.

The program increases housing resilience to flooding by adding a safe second-story living unit. This will not only provide shelter and protection during the increasingly harsh storms and floods that affect the area, but will also improve the quality of life for families, offering them more living space, increased comfort and a greater home value.

Since the program began in 2021:

  • 54 families have been temporarily relocated to safer temporary shelters
  • 8 families will be soon living in permanent safer shelters / safer houses (the projects that are under construction)
  • 12 local builders have been trained and have gained experience in housing retrofit and safe expansion, applying good practice solutions, and improving the quality of construction

Build Change at COP26

Watch our COP26 panel, featuring the Mayor of Istanbul and Minister of Wales, on how leaders share their best practices and examples of programs and initiatives on how they are integrating housing sustainability and urban resilience plans, and how other cities can implement and scale resilient housing across the world.