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Narrative modelling: A comparison of high and low mass dwelling solutions in Afghanistan and Peru

Eltaweel, Ahmad; Kuchai, Noorullah; Albadra, Dima; Coley, David; Hart, Jason; Acevedo-De-los-Ríos, Alejandra; Rondinel-Oviedo, Daniel R


Noorullah Kuchai

Dima Albadra

David Coley

Jason Hart

Alejandra Acevedo-De-los-Ríos

Daniel R Rondinel-Oviedo


Displaced populations are housed in various constructions, including lightweight predesigned structures. Theoretically, self-built heavyweight structures should ensure better temperatures and be closer to cultural norms. To examine this directly for the first time, lightweight pre-designed solutions are compared with high-mass self-built alternatives in Afghanistan and Peru, via monitoring, dynamic simulation, occupant surveys, the Shelter Assessment Matrix (SAM) and ShelTherm. Lightweight solutions increase peak summer temperatures, but only by 2°C, but reduce minimum temperatures by up to 5°C. Simulations only provided a qualitatively similar time series to the monitoring, because identical homes showed a large variance in temperatures. This questions the benefit of simulation compared to approaches which concentrate on whether shelters exacerbate or ameliorate external temperatures. In addition, a dwelling provides more than comfort, it supports family life, which is best addressed by tools like SAM, not thermal simulation. Hence it might be ideal to recommend high-mass self-build if possible, and to focus modelling efforts on qualitative aspects of simulation time-series, such as whether the building suppresses or exacerbates external conditions, and equally on psycho-cultural aspects. The term narrative modelling is introduced to describe this new approach which will be of direct benefit to the humanitarian community.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Sep 10, 2022
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Dec 16, 2022
Journal Building Services Engineering Research and Technology
Print ISSN 0143-6244
Electronic ISSN 1477-0849
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 1
Pages 5-24
Keywords narrative modelling, simulation, displacement, thermal mass, informal settlements
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