25/10/2011The increasing number of conferences and debates about urban vulnerability show how important it is to tackle this subject and improve understanding about it within humanitarian organisations. This gradual change has a number of symptoms: the use of ‘uncommon’ approaches to post-disaster housing such as financial aid and host families means that international organisations are moving away from traditional emergency solutions like tents and tarpaulins. Finding housing solutions in emergencies in big cities is extremely complex: lives and expertise, goods and workers have been lost, there is an urgent need to identify provisional locations to re-locate people, there are political and legal constraints and issues of fairness and loss of memory and identity to consider. Many of the lessons which have been learned – in terms of building partnerships to prepare for disasters and in terms of working within the framework of legal and property procedures – can help to overcome these recurring problems. There is not just one correct answer, but it is certain that making the most of urban opportunities such as access to technology, a developed market economy and innovation can act as a guide to help design a response in relation to housing which is more adapted to needs.