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Housing Recovery Lessons From Chile


Problem, research strategy and findings: The 8.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck south-central Chile on February 27, 2010, affected 75% of the country's population and damaged or destroyed 370,000 housing units (about 10% of the housing in six regions). Within six months, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development published a plan to repair or rebuild 220,000 units of low- and middle-income housing with government assistance within four years. By February 2014, 94% of the housing was complete. The successful rebuilding effort had strong leadership at the national and local levels and used existing programs and institutions. The management staff adapted programs over time to meet the needs of local conditions. When compared with housing recovery programs in other countries, Chile's program stands out, combining national government management with local citizen input. The reconstruction plan also included updated zoning plans, road and infrastructure improvements, heritage recovery, and new master plans for affected cities. Going forward, the earthquake created an opportunity for Chile to use the recovery planning to expand national urban policy and to develop a framework for citizen participation at the local level.Takeaway for practice: Successful planning in disaster recovery involves strong government leadership and coordination together with the engagement of local government and the participation of citizens.

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