Innovative disaster recovery housing model wins SXSW Eco award

Above: Jesse Miller and Elaine Morales of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP with their SXSW Eco award.

We are thrilled that RAPIDO, the innovative model for disaster recovery housing developed by our friends at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP ([bc]), was recognized with a Social Impact award for Place By Design at the 2015 SXSW Eco conference, which concluded on October 7 in Austin.

RAPIDO is a crucial piece of the Disaster Recover Housing program that we helped develop with our partners at [bc], the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M, Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, La Unión del Pueblo Entero and A Resource In Serving Equality. With the great support of the State of Texas, we helped organize a committee to address Texas’ problems with disaster recovery after Hurricane Dolly struck the Rio Grande Valley in 2008. In need of a rapidly deployable disaster rehousing system that would benefit low income populations, we began to collaborate on RAPIDO.

It is a model for quick, low-cost housing rebuilding in the wake of disaster, in contrast to the slow and inefficient way that homes are typically rebuilt after damaging storms, which leaves low income families vulnerable for months and sometimes years as they wait on much-need repairs and rebuilds.

The RAPIDO model is a temporary-to-permanent housing design prototype, so that families can move back into module shelters in a matter of days while a new, innovative and collaboratively designed home is built out around it. You can learn much more about RAPIDO at [bc]’s website, as well as see photos of the RAPIDO homes built during the pilot program, which housed several displaced Rio Grande Valley families in beautiful new temp-to-perm homes. Public Radio International also covered the program in April.

[bc] also won a
SXSW Eco award in 2014, for their Libros Libres initiative, a book shelter program in Dallas. Truly, we are fortunate to work with such outstanding, community-minded partners. Congratulations to the entire [bc] team!


  1. […] The lieutenant governor’s official statement directs the committee to “develop recommendations, if necessary, to improve the efficiency of disaster recovery efforts…as well as lessons-learned from past reconstruction efforts in Texas.” During this year’s legislative session, the IGR heard a bill that did just that, proposing the creation of a disaster recovery housing program based on the model we and several of our partners developed. The program would build on the lessons the state has learned from past disasters by allowing local communities to design their own recovery strategies, procuring all necessary materials, permits, contracts and other necessary items in advance and implementing an innovative rapid rehousing model developed by our partners at [bc]workshop (which just won a design award at the SXSW Eco conference).  […]

  2. […] The ideal candidate is an experienced researcher or data collection analyst with the ability to work with and retrieve information from government and other resources. The Research Intern will report directly to Josué Ramírez, our Rio Grande Valley Director, and work closely with community organizers and regional partners. […]

  3. […] There could be a better way. We have been involved, along with several of our partners in the Rio Grande Valley including the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville and [bc]workshop, to develop a rapid housing recovery model for Texas communities. It emphasizes pre-disaster preparedness and pre-procurement of materials, a local focus on strategy and recovery plans and an innovative temporary-to-permanent modular housing design (which just won an award at the SXSW Eco conference): […]

Comments are closed.