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Finalists for World Habitat Awards stress adaptable shelter

An Afghanistan project that builds greenhouse-like verandas that stay warm in winter is among a dozen finalists for this year's World Habitat Awards. (GERES/Oriane Zerah)

A range of housing and social programs for poor and at-risk populations are among a dozen finalists for this year’s World Habitat Awards.

A recurrent theme among the short-listed proposals is finding affordable shelter that is resilient to climate change or can be set up quickly following a disaster or regional conflict. Some proposals create job opportunities for marginalized groups, according to the awards committee.

The field for the 2016-17 competition, narrowed from 100, features ideas from five continents. A Chilean initiative emphasizes “adaptable” housing that could withstand tsunamis in coastal communities. An urban shelter project in Jordan temporarily houses Syrian refugees for free in refurbished abandoned properties.

In Sri Lanka, humanitarian and financial assistance provides new homes for citizens displaced by civil war. Local craftsmen are hired in Afghanistan to construct greenhouse-like verandas that stay warm in the rugged highlands. Community sanitation facilities in Kenya give localities an economic boost.

The annual contest is held in conjunction with UN-Habitat. Winners, to be announced in early 2017, each would receive a prize of £10,000 (US$12,341). UN-Habitat will host an awards ceremony in April. The awards are coordinated by the Building and Social Housing Foundation, an England-based charity focused on housing research. The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2017-18 World Habitat Awards is March 1, 2017.

World Habitat Awards

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