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2018 ISSUE

Restructuring Resilience: Sustainable Housing Solutions in Gyumri, Armenia


Bethany Gordon, Leon Yacoubian, Lynn Kha, Katherine Genuario, Lillie Mayfield, Meghan Jones, & Santiago Roca

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In 1988, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake left approximately 17,000 Gyumri residents homeless in the middle of winter. Since these devastating events, the residents of Gyumri District 104 in Armenia have lived in incredibly poor conditions that negatively impact their health and impede their abilities to improve their socio-economic status. This systemic problem will require a multi-faceted solution.



An interdisciplinary group of University of Virginia students formed a research team called Tuff Armenia. Our research process began in 2016 with a 10-day trip where we familiarized ourselves with the cultural context and met community members. A year later, we returned to Gyumri for six weeks to formally characterize the needs, challenges, and capabilities of the community through interviews, photovoice, and community engagement.



This data was utilized by a fourth-year capstone class in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering during the Fall 2017 semester. This class analyzed potential building sites in Gyumri and developed the first iteration of a housing construction proposal. The class intends to produce shovel-ready engineering and architectural design plans by the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

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