International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home: Shelter and Settlement for Forcibly Displaced People

Elsevier, International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, 2012, Pages 330-335
R. Zetter

This article first reviews the typologies of refugee shelter provision – camps, self-settlement, urban refugees, and collective settlement. The refugee shelter nexus poses a number of conceptual challenges and policy contradictions which are examined. These include the multi-sectoral and multi-scale challenges which shelter provision constitutes for humanitarian actors; the challenge of determining the duration of exile and thus whether shelter provision should be temporary or permanent; and the many implementation gaps which arise through uncoordinated planning between the many agencies involved in this sector, conflicting agency mandates, inappropriate design solutions, and the lack of participation of affected populations. The final section explores ways of improving shelter provision for refugees through better coordination of humanitarian agencies, the development of minimum standards, and enhanced self-help housing strategies.