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building resilience: adapting to the perilous

This inquiry stems from the precarious situation in which rural settlements in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe have found themselves in, soon after Cyclone Idai of 2019. The cyclone triggered unprecedented debris flows in the mountainous regions close to the Mozambican border, and caused massive loss and destruction of property, which left the inhabitants of this region struggling to recover and at more risk to future debris flows.

Disasters like Cyclone Idai are likely to perpetuate in future, as a result of climate change, hence this dissertation seeks to find resilient solutions for such communities, with focus on Ngangu settlement in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. The research identifies areas of inadequacy within the current disaster management approach of the community and proposes an integrative approach to the mitigation of future disasters.

It culminates in a number of proposals across different scales, including a disaster relief center that equips Ngangu Settlement with an autonomous adaptation capacity to the impacts of climate change. The proposed building is a conflation of vernacular architecture and engineering. It breaks away from the idea of isolated engineering solutions, to a building typology where engineering solutions are provided for in an artistic way that adds social and economic value to communities.

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