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Title: Temporary home in transit time : architecture responses to post-flood disaster in Malaysia
Author: Tukiman, Nor Izura
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 4533
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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Climate change is considered urgent and important but at the same time widely seen as boring, difficult and confusing. Climate change is not simply the concern of science; it is a matter of living. In one of his speeches in 2014, Sir David King highlighted that, ‘Climate change is not the biggest challenge of our time, it’s the biggest challenge of all time.’ Since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988, the series of assessment reports published on climate change has influenced the actions and responses of societies to these issues. Nonetheless, the thought of future societies coexisting with the consequences of climate change remains complicated, uncertain, and disconnected from the public in the present day. This study has attempted to bring the global climate change issue into dialogue with the more intimate and immediate concerns of the local population in Malaysia, with reference to two neighbourhoods at constant risk of flooding: Kota Tinggi in Johor and Kuala Krai in Kelantan. The study identifies flood as one of the frequent threats of climate change in Malaysia that is often taken for granted. The study focuses on the impacts of major seasonal or monsoon flooding that has subsequently resulted in unexpected and involuntary displacement and relocation of communities. Prior to this study, limited research had been done on the issue of flood displacement and relocation in the Malaysian context, particularly during the transitional period. Moreover, post-flood disaster solutions often neglect the characteristics of place concerning site, culture and climate, and the importance of this in creating a sense of home for relocated communities. Therefore, the study attempts to understand the post-flood disaster scenarios through the narratives of flood-affected people and architects, specifically in relation to temporary homes. The study adopted the ‘fieldwork’ methodology in relation to two case studies, the settlements affected by flood disasters in Kota Tinggi and Kuala Krai. This fieldwork included conducting interviews and workshop sessions, gathering documentary evidence and creating mappings. Kota Tinggi was consecutively affected by flooding in December 2006 and January 2007; it thus, represents a past narrative of disaster response and resettlement. However, as a result of the unexpected flooding in Kuala Krai during the first phase of fieldwork conducted in December 2014, the framework of the study was reoriented to include aspects of post-flood narratives during the transitional period between disaster and resettlement. This unforeseen disaster presented an opportunity to observe and experience first-hand post-disaster conditions in real-time. The study presents the argument that global climate change issues have the tendency to obscure and complicate the reality within local contexts such as Malaysia. Hence, the international dialogue should embrace the narratives of native people through evidence gathered from fieldwork, and discussions with local architects. Conversely, the local post-flood disaster discourse should understand and assimilate the international issues in order to face the future of climate change impacts. The study suggests that the transitional period concerning relocation and temporary homes is critical but often neglected. Termed as ‘transit time’, the period is essential for architects to evaluate and respond to how post-flood disaster situations are being challenged, adjusted and adapted to through time and space by the local inhabitants. The outcome of this study discusses the relevance of the architect’s role during and after the post-flood disaster resettlement. The study postulates that the period of ‘transit time’ is not only an architectural undertaking, rather it relates to the social aspects in the process of rejuvenating community trust, participation and empowerment. Therefore, architecture is considered merely a medium that reconnects both physical and social structures lost during the disaster. Hence ‘transit time’ provides the platform for architects to reconsider local communities’ cultural needs, present skill sets and existing environment in order to achieve relevant architectural adaptations; specifically, in terms of resettlement and also in facing the global climate change impact, more generally. Ultimately, the study presents the importance of transit time not only as a framework for assisting the relocation of flood affected people but also in providing them with a conducive temporary home.
Supervisor: Tyszczuk, Renata ; de Carli, Beatrice Sponsor: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) ; Malaysia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available