Tackling Fire in Informal Urban Settlements: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Duration: 01/18 - 12/20

Around a billion people across the world live in shack settlements where fire outbreaks pose a constant threat to life, health and property. In a context where many residents lack access to electricity and the absence of secure land tenure mitigates against the use of fire resilient materials such as brick, the widespread use of open flame lighting and flammable construction materials leaves many settlements highly vulnerable.

Tackling Fire in Informal Urban Settlements: An Interdisciplinary Approach focuses on the Cape Town region in South Africa to examine the range of factors that contribute to risk. Through a multidisciplinary perspective, the research aims to combine technical solutions with social considerations to support the development of locally appropriate solutions to improve fire safety for residents of informal settlements.

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Graham Spinardi (Principal Investigator, Senior Lecturer)
Sarah Jane Cooper-Knock (Lecturer in International Development)
Luke Bisby (Chair of Fire and Structures)
Rory Hadden (Senior Lecturer)

  • Promotion of multi-stakeholder dialogue and knowledge exchange between communities, policy makers, NGOs, fire services and other groups.
  • Comprehensive survey of risk factors and vulnerabilities to fire in informal settlements in Cape Town region.
  • Development of technical guidelines and policy recommendations to improve fire safety.