14 October 2014
Sustainable Affordable Housing: Building Climate and Disaster Resilient Housing

The provision of housing and shelter, especially for those on low-incomes, needs to address the growing concerns about the impacts of changing climatic conditions while providing householders with comfort, energy security and reducing their footprint. Sustainable resilient housing needs to become a priority in housing provision systems.

This seminar shares experience on energy efficient housing and emergency housing from Global Compact Cities Programme’s partner TECHO (A Roof for my Country). TECHO is a youth-led Latin American NGO that works across the continent to address poverty through housing and capacity building. It is currently present in 19 countries in Latin America, United States and England, and is a key player in the region in disaster recovery efforts through emergency housing, for instance, in the Haiti and Chile’s earthquakes in 2010.

For on the Cities Programme and TECHO’s research on housing in Chile, please see:

Housing: A process, not an end. The case of TECHO model: participatory processes and capacity building with housing provision in Chile

Sustainable Affordable Housing: New Models for Low-Income Housing in Chile

This seminar also builds upon the climate and disaster resilient housing concept with leading RMIT academic experts in the area of disaster response and disaster resilience. RMIT expertise expands to all phases of disaster management (preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction) with researchers working with communities in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

This workshop is sponsored by the Council of Australia and Latin American Relations (COALAR) with the aim of fostering a closer relationship between Australia and Chile and RMIT University.

Date: Tue 14 October 2014

Time: 16:00 – 18:30

Venue:The Green Brain Conference Room, RMIT Building 16, 342 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Registration: Registration is essential. RSVP by October 10, 2014 to zulaikha.shihab@citiesprogramme.org

Event Invitation: Sustainable Affordable Housing: Building Climate and Disaster Resilient Housing


4:00 – 4:15 pmWelcome and opening remarks

4:15 – 4:30 pm:  Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth, Director of Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau (HARB), RMIT University, Melbourne

4:30 – 4:45 pmSofia de la Jara, Architecture Director, TECHO Chile

4:45 – 5:00 pmProfessor John Handmer,  Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University, Melbourne

5:00 – 5:30 pmQ&A and concluding remarks by Professor Ralph Horne, Director, Global Compact Cities Programme; Deputy PVC, Research and Innovation, DSC, RMIT University, Melbourne

Followed by light refreshments


Sofia de la Jara, Architecture Director, TECHO Chile

Sofia de la Jara is Head Architect of TECHO responsible for the Sub-direction of Architecture of the Habitat Development Area from TECHO in Chile. She coordinates, supervises and reviews low-income housing development projects nationally. She has been involved in architectural design and project management since 2010, first at an architectural firm and at TECHO since 2011, and lectures drawing techniques at the Colegio San Isidro. She is the project leader in Chile for the “Sustainable Affordable Housing” research project, a joint collaboration with the Global Compact Cities Programme.

Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth, Director of Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau (HARB), RMIT

Dr Esther Charlesworth is the founding Director of Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau (Australia), a design non-for-profit organization who have undertaken over 20 projects in 12 countries for communities affected by disaster. Esther has lectured in architecture at QUT, Brisbane and the University of Melbourne was Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the American University of Beirut between 2000-2002.Between 1995 and 1999 Esther was Senior Urban Designer with the City of Melbourne. She completed her Masters Design of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University in 1995 and her Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of York (UK) in 2003. She has published widely on the theme of social justice and architecture including: ‘CityEdge: Contemporary Case Studies in Urbanism’ (2005), ‘Architects Without Frontiers, War, Reconstruction and Design Responsibility’ (2006), ‘Divided Cities’ (2009) and ‘The EcoEdge’ (2011).

Professor John Handmer, Deputy Head Research & Innovations, RMIT’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety

Professor John Handmer leads RMIT’s Risk and Community Safety research group and holds adjunct positions at ANU and the Flood Hazard Research Centre in London. He is a member of the National Flood Risk Advisory Group, and the national committee revising the Australian Emergency Risk Assessment Guide, and was Convener of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Emergency Management, and Principle Scientific Advisor for the Bushfire CRC. He was a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC’s special report on extremes. His research group has won a number of research awards, and was commended in the recent report Excellence in Innovation in Australia. He works on the human dimensions of emergency management and disasters.

Professor Ralph Horne, Incoming Director, Global Compact Cities Programme; and Deputy PVC, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context, RMIT

Ralph Horne is the Deputy PVC, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University. He supports research performance through the development of new and existing research Groups and Centres, mentoring future research leaders, and providing strategic leadership in support of research activity across the College. His research focuses on social and policy change for environmentally sustainable design and development, has extensive experience of environmental techniques and sustainability appraisal, and has a specific research interest in relations between housing quality and benefits for households. As former Director of the Centre for Design, Ralph participated in over 150 research projects across environmental techniques including life cycle assessment, sustainable products and packaging, sustainable built environment and climate changes and social context in the period 2005–2012.


  • Charlesworth, E. (2014) Humanitarian Architecture: 15 stories of architects working after disaster, Routledge
  • Handmer J and Dovers S (2013) Handbook of disaster policies and institutions: improving emergency management and climate change adaptation.
  • Handmer J and Brown N (2014). Disaster risk reduction. In: David Lindenmayer, Stephen Dovers, Steve Morton (eds) Ten Commitments Revisited: Securing Australia’s Future Environment. CSIRO Press
  • Handmer, J. et al. (2012). Chapter 4. Changes in Impacts of Climate Extremes: Human Systems and Ecosystems. IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. UN – IPCC. Geneva …(Read here: Handmer et al – Chapter 4  CC)
  • O’Neill S and Handmer S (2012) Responding to bushfire risk: the need for transformative adaptation Environ. Res. Lett. 7 014018 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014018  …(Read Here: Responding to bushfire risk, the need for transformative adaptation)

This initiative is supported by: