In Aceh province of Indonesia, at the "ground zero" where tsunami wipe fisher-folk villages at plint level, Uplink, a team of community organisers, architects, and engineers shared trust with survivors' communities to work together for a just, equitable, and holistic rehabilitation. Participation and transparency were key elements in every stage, from mapping, village planning, house design, and construction. In two years time the progam was completed with 3.500 houses, 23 community centers, 3 mosques, and infrastructure in 23 villages built. During the time, trauma healing sessions, eco-farming rehabilitation, and other economy-generating programs were also conducted, integrate various aspects to the physical program.
Long exposure to armed conflict does not completely erase Acehnese solidarity and cohesion, instead, communities are closely knitted, with functional religious and social associations and guilds. The existing socio-cultural infrastructure is a prescious resource to tap from; such for local leaderships to arise, and keep rehabilitation process on track.
In situation of crises, Uplink managed to use scarce resources effectively; by supporting community-build temporary shelters using available materials; anticipated the construction boom by advance purchase of materials; provided alternative construction technology of soil-blocks; supported community-based material storage and distribution systems; facilitated village-based construction teams and component assembly centers; and introduced an innovative, decentralized, owner-driven construction management.
With active volcanoes inland and continental plate boundaries off the Western coasts, Sumatra is prone to tremors, earthquakes, and tsunamis. The temperature of coastal areas is pleasant, ranged between 21-32oC. Wind is seasonally strong, but possesses no hazard to buildings. Traditional Acehnese stilt house is adapted to coastal tides and seasonal floodings. Its wooden plank floor and walls vent and remove excessive humidity. Proper-pitched roof slopes with overhangs protect the house from tropical sun and rain during monsoon. These features were preserved on the new rehabilitated stilt house. The ground house met contemporary aspiration, while still providing safety and thermal comfort with its 25cm-thick load-bearing walls.