The Role of Tradition and Belief in Physical Modifications to Housing Reconstruction after 2005 earthquake in Qeshm Island, Gavarzin village

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD, Associate Professor, Post-disaster reconstruction research group, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 MSc, post-disaster reconstruction, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Reconstruction programs often take only physical aspects into consideration, however, deep perception of the people’s lifestyle as well as their beliefs, values and culture is critically important to ensure a successful design of destroyed houses and contexture. In addition, efficient and successful management scheme after any disaster is drastically dependent on such an understanding.  Due to its position and history, Qeshm Island possesses social, religious, traditional, cultural conditions and values different from other neighbouring area the mainland of the country. These varieties emerged during reconstruction period after 2005 earthquake and resulted in people dissatisfaction and thus modification on the reconstructed houses. This paper investigates the role of belief and tradition in housing reconstruction after the earthquake in rural areas of Qeshm Island. Typical components of the native people’s beliefs generally include: being strongly influenced by religious leaders, living together in extended families, having more than one wife, fundamental religious beliefs such as prohibition of getting bank loan with interest and the traditions such as land ownership rules. In some occasions, these beliefs were in favour of, and some other times they were against the housing process. This is notable that over the past ten years, a large number of houses are still vacant or have been changed inappropriately by the people to satisfy their needs.  The methodology employed in this qualitative research is content analysis by conducting deep interviews, photography, sketching, analysing obtained data and reviewing available documents such as books, reports, articles and internet resources. In order to collect field data, four trips were programmed to the region and one village was selected. This village was selected with regard to a number of parameters such as: the amount of its devastation, the positioning method, replacement of the reconstructed village after the earthquake and formation of various contexts after the reconstruction.Furthermore, in order to select sample houses, stratified random sampling method was utilized. For this purpose, existing families of the village were divided into some numbered groups according to their location (old context, new township, Gavarzin Baalaa and emergency settlement), type of livelihood, number of wives and number of each house’s residents; and thereafter, 11 samples were selected in proportion to their frequency.  In addition, deep interviews were conducted with people of different specifications and backgrounds as well as the local leaders and relief /reconstruction officials. It was observed that in the villages of Qeshm Island, religious values play a crucial role and the local people changed their reconstructed houses based on their own needs.  The study concludes that officials concentrated on physical aspects of reconstruction only. Nevertheless, other intangible aspects such as culture and beliefs of the people and their influence on daily activities, particular cultural issues originating from ethnicity and religion, the role of religious leaders and cultural changes before the disaster are rarely taken into consideration. Therefore, it is recommended that the officials gain a comprehensive knowledge about the affected society prior to any other operations.


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