Research Output
Narrative modelling: A comparison of high and low mass dwelling solutions in Afghanistan and Peru
  Displaced populations are housed in various constructions, including lightweight predesigned structures. Theoretically, self-built heavyweight structures should ensure better temperatures and be closer to cultural norms. To examine this directly for the first time, lightweight pre-designed solutions are compared with high-mass self-built alternatives in Afghanistan and Peru, via monitoring, dynamic simulation, occupant surveys, the Shelter Assessment Matrix (SAM) and ShelTherm. Lightweight solutions increase peak summer temperatures, but only by 2°C, but reduce minimum temperatures by up to 5°C. Simulations only provided a qualitatively similar time series to the monitoring, because identical homes showed a large variance in temperatures. This questions the benefit of simulation compared to approaches which concentrate on whether shelters exacerbate or ameliorate external temperatures. In addition, a dwelling provides more than comfort, it supports family life, which is best addressed by tools like SAM, not thermal simulation. Hence it might be ideal to recommend high-mass self-build if possible, and to focus modelling efforts on qualitative aspects of simulation time-series, such as whether the building suppresses or exacerbates external conditions, and equally on psycho-cultural aspects. The term narrative modelling is introduced to describe this new approach which will be of direct benefit to the humanitarian community.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    10 September 2022

  • Publication Status:

    In Press

  • Publisher

    SAGE Publications

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Funders:

    Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Global Challenges Research Fund


Eltaweel, A., Kuchai, N., Albadra, D., Coley, D., Hart, J., Acevedo-De-los-Ríos, A., & Rondinel-Oviedo, D. R. (in press). Narrative modelling: A comparison of high and low mass dwelling solutions in Afghanistan and Peru. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology,



narrative modelling, simulation, displacement, thermal mass, informal settlements

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