Rebuilding for a better urban future

The official blog of UN-Habitat's response to Typhoon Haiyan

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LIVE FROM TACLOBAN: Public Forum on Tacloban’s Draft Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan

“It’s time to converge and think about a sustainable Tacloban.”
– Laids Cea, UN-Habitat Project Coordinator

Today, the draft Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan will be presented to the public.  All stakeholders and those interested are invited to attend.  Details are as follows:

Venue: Tacloban Astrodome

Speakers: City Mayor Hon. Alfred Romualdez, local government officers from Tacloban, and UN Habitat

Expected attendees: National government representatives, humanitarian organizations, city and barangay officials,members of the private sector, academe, and Taclobanons in general

Special thanks to: ARCADIS and ASSURE groups for assisting in the development of the plan.  This project is also made possible by funding from UNDP.

We’ll be providing live updates, photos and tweets throughout the event. Stay tuned, and let’s start looking to the future, recovery, and sustainable development!

Click here to see our ongoing tweets and photos from the public forum via Storify



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Mission complete: ARCADIS returns from supporting UN-Habitat in the field


A team of six ARCADIANs recently returned from the second Shelter Rapid Response follow-up mission to typhoon hit parts of the Philippines.

The mission team, led by Program Manager Bert Smolders, assisted UN-Habitat in its damage assessment and reconstruction efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. The ARCADIS team assisted UN-Habitat in preparing plans for coastal zone protection, the provision of water supply and the urban planning of the area.

Speaking after the mission, Bert Smolders commented: “The widespread devastation caused by typhoon Hayian was still shockingly visible everywhere we went (pictured). Conditions for the people of Tacloban and Guiuan are severe but UN-Habitat and other international organizations are working hard to provide relief and recovery, and we are proud to be part of that work. The team had an excellent experience and made a real difference the local communities there.”

Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer, Asia Pacific at UN-HABITAT gave the following feedback to the ARCADIS team:
“UN-Habitat is grateful to all the team members for the wonderful support they have provided to Tacloban and Guiuan through Shelter. The ARCADIS team’s contribution has been extremely useful to our work and is highly appreciated by the local government. We look forward to ARCADIS’ continued support to the typhoon response, in particular the coastal protection and master planning work”.


This trip followed a successful first mission carried out in the region last November. The missions were carried out at the request of UN-Habitat and performed under the Shelter program, the collaboration between ARCADIS and UN-Habitat.

The Shelter Program is supported financially by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

For more information on ARCADIS’ partnership with UN-Habitat, please visit their pages on: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Joint efforts: ARCADIS supports UN-Habitat’s ongoing work in a second follow-up mission


The second follow-up mission by the ARCADIS in partnership with UN-Habitat presented ideas for the rehabilitation of Tacloban City to the City Government. The presentation was a result of fieldwork and consultations with the city.

The team saw the need to provide appropriate coastal protection to the city, and proposed different protection measures for the various sections of the coast: soft dunes for the south, a hard levee for the airport area, a raised bay boulevard for the built up mid-section, and a mangrove forest for the north.

In terms of urban planning, the team proposed strategies for various areas of the city, anchored on the principle that business development and employment drives spatial development. The downtown was proposed to be revitalized by retaining it as a historic core, and developing the harbour for fishing and tourism while also encouraging expansion to safer areas through the development of a new central business district further inland, and a new employment zone in the north.

The Tacloban City Government with the support of UN-Habitat will be using the results of the mission as inputs for the Tacloban City Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.

See related article: Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez with members of UN-Habitat and ARCADIS.

In addition to ARCADIS’ engagement in Tacloban, they also returned to Guiuan to address water supply, coastal protection, and the proposed permanent settlement site.

With the objective of establishing and mapping Guiuan’s sensitivity to extreme events, ARCADIS illustrated the impacts of Haiyan using a numerical model that simulates the supertyphoon, tracking varying wind and pressure fields over time and space. To further improve on the initial results of the simulation, ARCADIS conducted a coastal scan along the Leyte Gulf, from Tubabao down to Sulangan. The refined results would help in mapping Guiuan’s overall vulnerability to increasingly powerful typhoons and other hazards, and would serve as inputs to the review and updating of the municipality’s Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan.

Apart from the coastal scan, ARCADIS also looked into the rehabilitation of water lines, with more detailed assessment and sample costing, and further zoomed into the LGU’s proposed permanent settlement site in Barangay Tagporo, assessing several options for water pipe routing.

See related article: ARCADIS and UN-Habitat extend partnership to improve urban quality of life


Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s recovery and rehabilitation Plan


The local government of Tacloban City with support from UN-Habitat and UNDP held a second planning charette to brainstorm and discuss strategies for the spatial development of Tacloban in order to address emergency, recovery, and long term rehabilitation needs. It was the second in a series of charettes (referring to an intense period of design of planning) intended to inform the formulation of the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (TRRP) after Typhoon Haiyan. It was attended by roughly 50 representatives from the city government, national agencies, local and international humanitarian organizations operating in Tacloban, as well as urban planners and other technical professionals.

The results of the charette will serve as inputs to the development of spatial strategies and plans for key areas of the city. UN-Habitat has partnered with the Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction (ASSURE), a local group of volunteer urban planners and other technical professionals, and ARCADIS, a leading global design and engineering firm (through SHELTER – the firm’s partnership programme with UN-Habitat), to provide technical assistance to the city in the development of these plans.

See related news article: Only 11 mayors submitted ‘Yolanda’ rehab plans–Lacson