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By : David O’Brien, Iftekhar Ahmed

This paper draws on research conducted after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, where more than 100,000 houses were built by various agencies following the massive disaster. The research reveals that the residents in Aceh rarely see their reconstruction houses as ‘complete’ and modify these houses to suit their personal needs and aspirations. The relationships between the global and regional forces that drive reconstruction agency housing procurement and production are explored, and compared with the outcomes of user-initiated modifications to the houses. From the hundreds of houses reviewed, here four houses are discussed in detail, built by the Asian Development Bank, representing a global paradigm, and Bank Mandiri, representing a regional paradigm. These houses were modified and extended to varying degrees by their residents, exemplifying the ways in which reconstruction agencies, perhaps inadvertently, empowered residents by enabling them to improve their own housing. The outcomes of this transformation process underscore the advantages of a hybrid between global and regional styles, and the desire of the reconstruction housing residents to recapture some of the local housing culture and reflect regional housing characteristics.
Keywords: Aceh, Global/Regional Styles, Indian Ocean Tsunami, Reconstruction Housing, User-Initiated Modification.

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