Kalobeyei Settlement Planning
Shigeru Ban Architects
The Kalobeyei Settlement is a development that provides an integrated framework for settlement and distribution of refugees from the Kakuma refugee camp.
The Kalobeyei Settlement development plan provides a settlement shelter to support refugees from the Kakuma refugee camp, it was initiated by the Government of Kenya, UNHCR, the county government of Turkana and the World Bank and designed by Shigeru Ban Architects. The development was initiated as a plan to integrate the refugees within the local surrounding communities and provide more permanent shelter to the conflict driven refugees from Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. The size of the shelter for each family is dependent on the family size. The finances are allocated to each family, which then selects the housing design that suits their needs. Three different prototypes are available for the households to choose from depending on their origin and preferences. The settlement was developed in four phases with the infrastructural phase targeting the resettlement of up to 60,000 refugees.
Kenya, Sudan, Ethipia, and Somalia
Goverment of Kenya, UNHCR, and Shigeru Ban Architects
Households are given money between ~1153 to~2248USD (140000 to 273000 Kshs) to commission the design and construction of their shelter. The money allocated depends on the housing typology, which relies on the family sizes.
The settlement plan implemented a cash-based assistance program piloted by the UNHCR for 82 households in 2018 and then scaled to 800 households. Households do not receive a pre-designed shelter as in other settlements, on the contrary, houses are built with local materials by local contractors hired directly by the households.
SDG11: Making cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable.
Refugees and displaced populations in Kakuma and Turkana county in Kenya.
The project is constructed through a community participatory approach where members from different communities are included to represent the different groups of refugees from the design to the construction. The selected members give their input into the housing design that meets their most pressing needs while still fulfilling the goal of providing a high quality of life aspect for the occupants or owners. Once the base plan is developed, an iterative process to refine the design with continuous efforts from experts and community members is used to produce the most suitable shelter design for construction.
The plan is developed together with the users (occupants) and implemented by the UNHCR, World bank and the government of Kenya, county government of Turkana. The occupants are then given cash to obtain materials and labor for constructing the actual shelter.
As at 2019, one of the proposed villages had been constructed with the remaining three still undergoing construction. 82 families had been resettled for the pilot phase of the shelter construction project.
Indication of whether design can be replicated in multiple locations
Number of individuals. 1 family = 5 persons.
Number of days from start of construction to completion
Surface area of footprint
Number of occupiable floors (ground floor only = 1)
Primary materials used
Composite estimated R-value
As calculated by designer
As calculated by designer
Based upon primary structural system as per the International Building Code
Based upon Structural Occupancy Category and soil conditions of site; as per the International Building Code
List of suitable climates for use of this design
The shelters are constructed from timber, bricks and compressed earth blocks. The size of the shelter for each family is dependent on the family size.
- Type A is made with paper tubes: this uses minimal technology from paper tubes combined with the locally available knowledge for ease of construction
- Type B with timber and mud bricks: this design uses prefabricated, earthquake resistant timber for the walls to allow easy construction. The frame is then finished with brick infills
- Type C with interlocking soil bricks: this is made of compressed earth bricks for the frame and walls.
The construction requires minimal effort to construct the shelter, with less sophisticated tools and equipment to construct. The designs are based on construction techniques that are part of the local methods and knowhow, which makes it easier to implement. The repairs can be easily done with minimal tools. The pre-assembled components facilitate easier installation and repair.
The permanent housing prototypes can withstand harsh environmental conditions such as earthquakes, tsunami while also protecting the inhabitants from the poor housing conditions previously experienced in tents.
The construction of the housing uses simple techniques and tools hence only minor safety concerns from the use of tools and methods such may be anticipated..
Betts A., Omata N., Rodgers C., Sterck O., Stierna M., 2019, The Kalobeyei Model: Towards Self-Reliance for Refugees (Oxford: RSC).
UN HABITAT, 2017-2019, Community driven public space rehabilitation Turkana, Kenya. Support to Kalobeyei New Settlement Project as Part of Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Program (KISEDP)
Ban, Shigeru., Pollock, Naomi., Weizman, Eyal., Kimmelman, Michael., Bruderlein, Claude. Shigeru Ban: Humanitarian Architecture. United States: Aspen Art Museum, 2014.
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