Role of the Built Environment in Rebuilding Displaced and Host Communities

Chathuranganee Jayakody, Chamindi Malalgoda, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Champika Liyanage, Emlyn Witt, Mo Hamza, Nishara Fernando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Disaster-induced and conflict-induced forced displacements are among the biggest humanitarian and development challenges of the countries around the world in the twenty-first century. The increasing rate of the forced displacement puts significant pressure on the built environment which popularly includes the challenges associated with delivering the essential goods and services, providing adequate and appropriate housing, and sufficient infrastructure to both host and displaced communities. However, apart from this physical aspect, the built environment has a significant role to play in rebuilding communities addressing the socio-cultural, livelihood, and economic aspects and social cohesion between displaced and host communities. The understanding of this complex and multifaceted role of the built environment is an essential factor in resettlement planning in order to deliver a successful relocation program ensuring the long-term satisfaction of the displaced and host communities. With the identification of this research need, the project titled REGARD (REbuild-inG AfteR Displacement) which is a European Commission funded collaborative research project, investigated the role of the built environment in rebuilding communities following the disaster and conflict-induced mass displacements. The method involved first reviewing the literature related to the field and conceptualising a framework based on literature synthesis. Data collection was initiated through the selection of participants using purposive sampling which include government officials, community representatives, social support networks, agency networks. A total of 37 interviews were carried out by the 3 partner countries; 12 in the UK, 11 in Sweden, and 14 in Estonia. In the context of Sri Lanka, 10 key informant interviews and focus group discussions with community members were conducted covering both conflict-induced and disaster-induced displacement. Analysis revealed that the built environment has an instrumental role to play in rebuilding displaced and host communities by acting across six perspectives; constructing physical assets, stimulating economic assets, facilitating institutional assets, developing human capital assets, nurturing social assets, and protecting natural assets. This chapter presents the research findings across these six perspectives synthesising the role of the built environment (BE) in rebuilding communities and enhancing social cohesion between host and displaced communities. Finally, the chapter introduces a comprehensive framework of role of the built environment, summarising the research findings which can be used by the future academics, practitioners, and policymakers in the field of displacement resettlement planning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulti-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risks
EditorsDilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Nuwan Dias
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030730031
ISBN (Print)9783030730024, 9783030730055
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2021
EventInternational Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction: To promote the availability and application of research, science and technology to support implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 - Virtual, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Duration: 14 Dec 202016 Dec 2020


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction
Country/TerritorySri Lanka
Internet address


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