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We spent the last ½ year living in the Nagapattinam district, southern Tamil Nadu, India observing the post-reconstruction-housing situation in the coastal villages. Even though the blog is my own, all published photos were taken at this time by the research project: ‘Understanding habitats, shelter and social change in post-disaster traditional and relocated rural settlements in India’ funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation carried out by the World Habitat Research Centre of the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland which hosted me.

After the reconstruction and relocating the fishing villages of Tamil Nadu in response to the 2004 Tsunami, people found themselves living in dwellings that have little, if any, relation to their original houses.

In return, some households have altered their new house to allow for their way of living (is this what practitioners like myself call “appropriation by the beneficiary” and architects “incremental growth”? ) – others change their behaviour and ways of doing things to adapt to their new living arrangement. Some examples of transformed/ appropriated or incrementally grown houses:






… Others again do nothing. This are the houses the reconstruction agencies literally left behind in the Tsunami Nagar (Tsunami villages).


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… Others still, moved back to the original village.Here are some of many self built housing types found in the original fishing villages.

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Lastly, it seems an abandoned prototype of the round-house solution is a standard component of any post- reconstruction landscape!








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