The reconstruction strategies are frequently based on specialized know-how (in some cases transferred from research to practice). This knowledge is used to design the reconstruction policy and strategy and to develop the project. Occasionally this knowledge is transferred to the community in the form of information, technical assistance, education or training.
This model assumes that the disaster itself is a physical demonstration of lack of appropriate building related knowledge among the members of the affected community.
The participants can be classified in four groups:
- external participants (i.e. international aid agencies, international financial institutions, foreign NGOs, etc.)
- passive participants (i.e. public organizations, central government or responsible authorities in the affected country)
- active participants (i.e. the group of institutions, companies or people that execute the project)
- intermediate participants (local NGOs, private companies, aid agencies, church organizations etc. compromised with reconstruction initiatives)
A disaster is a situation of crisis which exceeds the ability of the affected population to cope using only its own resources. Therefore external resources are needed. These resources might be national or international; in the case of economic resources they might be coming from donations, loans, subsidies, or specific budgets.
Other resources can be offered in the form of food, materials, equipment, products, labor force, technical assistance, etc.
The actions flow from the type of responsibility of the participants involved in the reconstruction process. This responsibility is closely related with the type of strategy used. Observation of previous cases, for example, shows that authorities might take on the role of 'providers' or 'enablers' of final outputs and this decision determines the responsibilities of other participants. At the same time, the type of responsibilities assumed (and given) to the affected community has direct influence in the success of the project.
Actions required in the reconstruction process might include: decision making, coordination, labor force, contracting, and procurement among others.
A reconstruction policy refers to the general approach that governs the participation of external institutions in the post-disaster assistance. The reconstruction policy is frequently adopted by foreign institutions before their actual participation in the disaster relief, and determines the type of aid and the circumstances in which it will be provided.
In some cases, this general policy is based on previous experiences and research and it conditions the financing of the project to the acceptance of certain requirements.
The reconstruction strategy concerns the group of measures targeted to coordinate the participants and the resources available. Frequently, these measures are taken by central authorities that create a contingency plan in the moment of crisis.
In the strategy, both the type of project and the areas of intervention are defined.
A low-cost housing reconstruction project is seen, in this paper, as a system of activities with a beginning and an end in which a multi-organization develops solutions for habitat for an affected community of low-income residents.
Note the difference between the project (the system of activities) and the output (the final result of these activities)