Towards a more "robust" technology? Capacity building in post-tsunami Sri Lanka
AuthorPathiraja, M; Tombesi, P
Source TitleDisaster Prevention and Management: an international journal
PublisherEMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LIMITED
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsPathiraja, M. & Tombesi, P. (2009). Towards a more "robust" technology? Capacity building in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. DISASTER PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT, 18 (1), pp.55-65. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653560910938547.
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Purpose In fast urbanizing economies such as Sri Lanka, the construction industry tends to fragment into almost separate spheres of production with little or no reciprocal connection in training, know‐how and career development paths, and consequent limitations in internal knowledge dissemination and technology transfer. This type of industrial compartmentalization is detrimental to the social acquisition of skills, and restricts the operational frameworks of given technologies, especially in low‐cost sectors. Against this backdrop, this paper sets out to speculate on how design can act as an engine of social and economic growth for those involved in its production. Design/methodology/approach Based on government statistics and building output analysis, the paper argues that architects can build labour policy‐making into the design of their buildings, provided that such an agenda is developed strategically, by examining the industrial base of the region, and by defining a design and technological vocabulary that feeds off the analysis of place‐specific conditions, limitations, and ambitions. Findings The integration of technological development and broad socio‐economic growth can be facilitated by “open” (or “incremental”) industrial design strategies aimed at connecting construction markets rather than keeping them separate. To this end, it is posited that technological contamination and compromise can help the labour force to increase its own skills progressively. Research/limitations implications In practical terms, this objective translates in the definition of building implementation techniques that can adapt to the level of complexity required and the level of expenditure possible without penalizing the expected performance of the building – i.e. they must be inherently “robust” as opposed to precise and therefore more “sensitive”. Originality/value The paper is the first result of a thesis‐in‐progress that, on the basis of a technical review carried out on a small sample of ideal‐type projects in Sri Lanka, is considering ways to create and link labour development opportunities through architectural design.
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