Living self-upgrading shelter: a biodesign approach for future of sustainable disaster relief

Sara Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi*, James Charlton, Meng Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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This research investigates the application of the proposed "Living Self-TransForming Disaster Relief shelter" (LTF DR-shelter) approach to provide sustainable self-upgrading post-disaster shelters. When disaster hits in countries where beneficiaries have limited access to resources, (i.e., construction material, labour, financial support) quickly, existing post-disaster shelter approaches frequently lead to economically and environmentally unsustainable implemented solutions that fail to meet the needs of those seeking shelter. Solutions are therefore needed to provide new and innovative approaches to providing disaster relief.

Intriguingly, looking forward, emerging Living Technology offers the potential for existing and future Engineered Living Materials to provide novel approaches to providing disaster relief. Such living materials, in which growth is incremental, self-upgrading and utilises living transformation mechanisms, whereby shelters could be grown on-site with living materials that offer features such as self-assembly, self-repair, resilience, etc. promising cost and energy-efficiency, and being environmentally friendly in the next 50 years. Through this future vision, the research explores the success factors of the conceptual approach of the self-upgrading LTF DR-shelter. The LTF DR-shelter concept proposed employs Biodesign and living technology potentials to envision integrating the separate emergency and temporary shelter into one initial ten-kit (living-textile). It self-transforms into a monolithic self-sustaining structure on-site while beneficiaries reside in it with disassembly and reassembly features for relocation.
Furthermore, contrary to conventional design approaches that use materials already developed, the emerging Biodesign methods initiate the material and shelter design simultaneously and even co-designing with microorganisms. Moreover, the applicable biocomposite for LTF DR-shelter is visioned to be designed in the future (next 10-50 years). Hence, while multiple studies are investigating Biodesign methods and DR-shelters separately, there is a dearth of research regarding applying living materials in DR-shelters through Biodesign. Therefore, to address this knowledge gap, this research aims to envision potential future alternative success factors, and challenges of LTF Dr-shelter Biodesign.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 10th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment
Subtitle of host publicationS.ARCH 2023: Conference Proceeding
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783982075891
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2023
EventS.ARCH: The 10th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 4 Apr 20236 Apr 2023


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