Course Title: Shelter and Settlements in Disasters and Development

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Shelter and Settlements in Disasters and Development

Credit Points: 24.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


320H Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: Leila Irajifar

Course Coordinator Phone: Contact via email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Contact via email

Course Coordinator Availability: Contact via email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

In this course you will explore the response and recovery of shelter and settlements after disaster. You will investigate  design strategies that promote sustainability in the context of natural disasters, climate change and conflict. Diverse approaches to designing shelter and planning settlements in disaster-prone or disaster affected places will be investigated. This will be examined at different stages after a disaster and/or crisis, including emergency, transitional and permanent shelter.

You will learn how shelter provision by leading humanitarian agencies such as The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is provided. Of key focus is the IFRC led Shelter Cluster System, established to make post-disaster operations more effective and timely. You will learn how to effectively plan and coordinate shelter needs assessments, develop strategies and implement plans with international organisations, national authorities, the displaced and the affected population.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program-level learning outcomes:

  • Master a body of knowledge and specific technical skills to progress your professional career within the contemporary disaster management, design and development arena.
  • Formulate and evaluate collaborative design informed strategies before and after disaster, while working within the constraints of industry needs in the post-disaster and development sectors.
  • Determine and apply specialist knowledge and technical skills required to creatively solve problems, demonstrating expert judgment and ethical responsibility relating to your professional practice in disaster, design and development.
  • Professionally communicate propositions, processes and outcomes to address specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Provide leadership within your discipline as well as collaborate with others in multi-disciplinary contexts across the disaster and development sector.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to: 

  1. Synthesise and apply empirical and practical knowledge for shelter and settlement design, planning and programming in disaster and development settings.
  2. Explain the Shelter Cluster System and how key humanitarian agencies operate in post disaster situations.
  3. Work effectively with others in a range of roles, contexts and scenarios demonstrating cultural, environmental and social awareness.
  4. Create Shelter needs assessment plans that demonstrate creative, innovative and critical thinking skills
  5. Reflect on the process of monitoring and evaluation of shelter projects and the role of humanitarian actors in providing sustainable and resilient shelter.
  6. Communicate using diverse formats and strategies to engage with a range of stakeholders.  



Overview of Learning Activities

You will engage in learning that involves a range of online activities, such as discussions, group work, simulations and research. Learning how to analyse and comment on your own and others’ work will be achieved through group reviews and discussions.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems including myRMIT. Discussions with experts and organisations as well as will comprise key learning activities and resources.

Additionally, a list of recommended learning resources will be provided, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own developing personal and professional interests.

The RMIT Library has extensive resources for students. A MoDDD guide that includes quality online and print resources may be found on the Canvas pages for the MoDDD program at


The RMIT Library also provides guides on academic referencing: and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you achieve the course learning outcomes, and in relation to the program learning outcomes. Assessment will be done individually and/or in groups.

Assessment Schedule

Assessment Task 1

A series of exercises that apply an analytical framework for effective shelter and settlement solutions to highlight principles and strategies for sustainable human development post crises.

  • Weight: 40%
  • This assessment task relates to the following course learning outcomes: CLO 1, 2, 4.

Assessment Task 2

Online discussion forum.

You will be provided with a variety of on line learning resources together with guidelines for on line discussions.  Reflecting on your own knowledge as the resources provided, you will participate in on line discussions.

  • Weight: 20%
  • This assessment task relates to the following course learning outcomes: CLO 1, 2, 4, 5.

Assessment Task 3

Simulation Exercises

Working in groups you will role play in different stakeholder roles in a camp planning and informal settlement planning simulation. You will then present your proposed solutions. 

  • Weight: 40%
  • This assessment task relates to the following course learning outcomes: CLO 3, 4, 5, 6.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Equitable Services if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: