Navigating the Untapped Potential of Insulated Concrete Forms as Long-Term Urban Refugee Housing in the Middle East

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Author(s) Sultan Alashari
Pages 523-536
Volume 5
Issue 10
Date October, 2016
Keywords Construction; Insulated Concrete Forms; Icf; Refugee; Relief Housing; Urban Development; Displacement; Middle East

With over half of the Middle East and North Africa’s refugee population living in urban environments, it is essential to explore options for developing safe, durable, and affordable urban refugee housing in order to effectively insure the safety and wellbeing of these vulnerable populations. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) is an innovative construction method that has untapped potential for use as long-term urban refugee (LTUR) housing within the Middle East. This research seeks to explore three focus areas: First, a number of current construction methods utilized in humanitarian initiatives providing refugee and crisis relief housing throughout Middle East-based conflict zones are analyzed. For each method, attributes, gaps, and challenges related to safety, durability, ease of construction, and cost effectiveness are examined. Secondly, ICF as a viable option for LTUR housing is discussed, while identifying ICF’s attributes and challenges, covering the same aforementioned areas of analysis. Thirdly, a stakeholder analysis exploring the benefits and challenges of utilizing ICF as LTUR housing within conflict zones from the perspectives of key stakeholders impacted from the method is conducted. Throughout this content analysis-based research, information is utilized from first-hand interviews with construction industry leaders, and secondary information collected from construction companies, ICF distributors, governments, and NGOs. By exploring ICF within the context of the current refugee crisis throughout the Middle East, this research seeks to highlight and explore the ways in which the field of construction can innovatively impact social wellbeing by providing higher quality, longer-term urban housing options to refugee populations displaced by conflict.

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