About RCHI

The Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI), directed by Professor Lawrence Vale, explores the ways that shelter and settlements can be designed to anticipate and respond to the 21st century environmental and security challenges of an urbanized and urbanizing world. At its core, RCHI investigates the challenges of developing and redeveloping the housing environments of the least advantaged dwellers in a city-region.

In this context, the effort to design and sustain housing is about far more than the appearance of that housing. It is about the contested politics of its siting, programming, financing, policy, and integration with larger urban networks and the public realm.

RCHI supports integrated scholarship, cross-disciplinary curriculum development, and innovative practice that bring together housing design, housing policy, urban design, environmental and energy policy, real estate development, new media technologies, and the visual arts. Meet the RCHI team.


The Four Principles

Housing by itself cannot be “resilient” unless it also helps residents cope with the simultaneous challenges of economic struggle, a changing climate, dysfunctional governance, and urban violence . Accordingly, RCHI defines housing for resilient cities as that which:


Supports community structure and the economic livelihood of residents.

Reduces the vulnerability of residents to environmental risks and stresses.

Empowers communities through enhanced capacities to share in their own governance.

Enhances the personal security of residents in the face of violence or threats of displacement.


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