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Sustainable Leichtlehm Construction Used for Rapid Recovery Following Chile’s 2010 Earthquake and Tsunami

Dussaillant, F and Cruickshank, HJ and Florenzano, A and Lindeen, N and Tardel, A Sustainable Leichtlehm Construction Used for Rapid Recovery Following Chile’s 2010 Earthquake and Tsunami. In: 6th UNESCO Dubrovnik conference on sustainable development of energy, water, and environment systems (SDEWES), 2011-9-25 to 2011-9-29, Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Unpublished)

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The earthquake and following tsunami that struck Chile in February 2010 destroyed more than 370,000 homes and left more than 2 million people homeless. As well as implementing rapid alleviation schemes, it is equally important to deploy an effective plan towards the creation of a long-term solution for these local communities in order to ensure their future welfare. This paper shows one of the post-earthquake initiatives that has sustainable development as its main goal. Having special interest in the Cobquecura rural area (located 43km from the epicentre), a group of school friends decided to go further than the basic element delivery and emergency home construction and build a sustainable society based on eco-constructed houses that would present a definite solution for the affected local families. The type of house delivered replaced the adobe-based construction, being the main technique in the area for centuries due to its simple, economic and natural characteristics, as well as its acoustic and thermal isolation properties. However, it lacks anti-seismic advantages, so the German Leichtlehm technique (Light Straw-Clay technique) was used, which consists on a wooden structure, filled with this light mixture of straw and clay. The construction benefits from the anti-seismic properties of wood combined with the isolation properties of straw and the bonding and fire resistant properties of clay. It was fundamental that the local people would have easy access to the basic elements and also that the construction process was simple enough to be built by them, in that way also contributing to the empowerment of the community and the sense of accountability for each villager involved. The project consists in the creation of a village of 4 of these sustainable houses, together with a community centre with an orchard and also an eco-technology based wastewater treatment plant. Stakeholder involvement has been crucial to the success of the project and its validation, as well as the government’s support in terms of funding. All the main decisions have been taken together with the future dwellers, the local authorities and the community in general. As a result, a new sustainable community is arising after the disaster, and a new way (at least in Chile and most of South America) to approach post-disaster alleviation is gaining terrain in a culture that has little or no expertise in planning for a sustainable future in rural areas, which in this case is delivering a definite home to 24 people of 4 different families. This paper concludes with reflections on ways in which initiatives like this could be of significant help towards an uncertain natural phenomena future, and towards the empowerment of rural communities in order to a more sustainable future and also contribute to the reduction of rural-urban migration.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions: Div D > Sustainable Development
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 20:36
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2017 05:38