Reconstruction and the Rise of One-roomed Houses in Rural Nepal
In the four years after the 2015 earthquake, some considerable progress has been seen in the private housing reconstruction. Starting with the establishment of NRA followed by Reconstruction Act 2072 and execution of Rural Housing and Reconstruction Program (RHRP), various reconstruction policies and provisions most notably, the private housing grant disbursement guidelines have been introduced and implemented with the objective to facilitate ‘earthquake resilient houses’. Out of thousands of affected families or ‘beneficiaries’, several families have rebuilt ‘one-roomed house’ adopting one of the government-prescribed designs. Although there might be multiple reasons behind adoption of the one-roomed houses, dissenting voices and dissatisfactions have been expressed against such house questing usefulness and appropriateness of the house as well as the whole concepts of ‘owner-driven reconstruction’ and ‘building back better’.
In this paper, based on several months of ethnographic work in two sites of Dhading and Sindhupalchowk districts of Nepal during 2018 and 2019, we try to address two major questions in regards to the one-roomed house: a) What are the key factors that have led some earthquake affected families or beneficiaries build a one-roomed house? and; b) How do the affected families perceive rebuilding of one roomed-house and, why?