Want to design resilient schools? Enroll online
MANILA, Philippines – With no match to the strength of Yolanda (Haiyan), some evacuation centers that housed the fleeing residents of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, also crumbled at the height of the typhoon.
Among them were schools – often the temporary shelter of Filipinos during disasters.
Latest reports from the Department of Education (DepEd) said a total of 5,900 classrooms were totally ruined, with 14,508 others partially damaged by the typhoon. (READ: What goes into the building of classrooms).
At the university level, the Commission on Higher Education reported 44 schools directly affected by the typhoon as of Thursday, December 26.
If there's anything Yolanda, and other recent disasters like the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol, taught educators, it's that Philippine schools are not strong enough to withstand the worst of disasters. (WATCH: Are schools in PH earthquake-proof?)
This was what prompted Dr. Ivan Shumkov and Illac Angelo Diaz to open their online university course Designing Resilient Schools to architects who, during disasters, "can help with the recovery and...build shelters that would withstand them."
Shumkov is a New York-based architect and founder of Open Online Academy. Diaz, nephew of actress and beauty queen Gloria Diaz, is the executive director of MyShelter Foundation, the non-profit behind world-renowned initative Liter of Light. (READ: Green pavilion houses green technologies)
The goal of the 5-week course is very specific: to generate design ideas for resilient schools for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and other natural disasters.
"One of the important things really is to rebuild safer, [so] people...can run for a [safer] shelter, and most of these are in schools. We ask for your help to build safer and stronger [places] for people to run to in case of these kinds of disasters," Diaz said in the video below.
Watch Shumkov and Diaz talk about the course here:
Every week for 10 to 20 hours, architects who signed up for the course will learn, among other things, how to use resilient architecture for communities that need them, as well as designing "resilient schools that could serve as community centers and shelters for the victims of the devastating typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines."
With engagement from planners, engineers, social workers, and other architects, students will discuss and design ideas, translating them into projects that may be selected and further developed after the course.
"Some of the proposals will eventually be [built] if funding and local support are secured," according to the course description. An international jury will select the best designs that could be implemented by DepEd and nonprofit group Architecture for Humanity.
Even without the promise of implementation, the projects and instructions will be placed on an open source platform Open Online Architecture (OOArch.org) for anyone to download and use.
"I strongly encourage you to participate in this course, it is a course for people from any background and expertise," Shumkov said in the video.
A few weeks after Yolanda, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) also introduced a crowdsourcing initiative that will allow communities to assess school safety through the use of technology.
The course Designing Resilient Schools will run from January 7 to Feb 12, 2014. Interested students can sign up here. – Rappler.com