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Shelter: how can we build better homes?


Session 3 — 15 November — 08:30-12:00

The most fundamental purpose of architecture is to protect us from the elements. The nature of these elements varies from place to place, incorporating everything from geography and climate, to political and economic contexts. The very human need for shelter can be considered alongside the equally human need for a home: a place that gives a unique sense of belonging.

How shelters, homes, and houses are defined must adapt to meet the changing requirements of people living in changing landscapes which demand everything from wearable dwellings, to the ‘formalisation’ of informal settlements, to adaptive reuse, mixed use, and more responsive housing policies. That we are in the midst of a global shelter-related crisis is a certainty, with United Nations figures suggesting that an additional three billion people will need access to housing by 2030, that 30% of the world’s urban population live in slums, and that over 50 million people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide.

It will not be possible to develop one generalised, high-level solution to these very significant challenges. This session will explore the urgent need for local ideas, proposals, and models of how we can create, provide, and build better homes that effectively and sustainably respond to rapid urbanisation.



  • Alan Brouder

    Habitat for Humanity

  • Arif Hasan

    Expert in Informal Settlements

  • Dr. Harriet Harriss


  • Dr. Orna Rosenfeld

    UN Senior Housing Expert

  • Jane Duncan

    RIBA President

  • Marianne Heaslip

    Terrace21, Granby Four Streets CLT, URBED

  • Prof. Michael Lykoudis

    Dean, School of Architecture
    University of Notre Dame

  • Prof. Richard Economakis

    University of Notre Dame School of Architecture

  • Robert Neuwirth

    Journalist, Author, and Investigative Reporter