Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone

By John Yarwood Mbe; Andreas Seebacher et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Housing

Without doubt, the greatest single effort in the reconstruction of Mostar was housing repair. It transformed the overall aspect of the city. The view from the bypass road, which was routed over the eastern hillsides, revealed a scene of utter devastation in 1994. Most roofs were destroyed and the mess of ruination was visible everywhere. Two years later, the same viewpoint revealed a sea of freshly tiled roofs, and pristine white apartment houses. The scale of the change was remarkable. Well over 6000 dwellings were repaired at a cost of DM40 million. It is, however, far easier to spend money on a few high-value buildings than to spend the same money on hundreds of low-value buildings, since each such building has a separate site, a separate owner, separate documentation and so on. The administrative complexity is formidable, and also, of course, housing generates more passion than other building types, since it affects each family more intimately. The scope for anger and resentment was there on a large scale, but, in spite of terrific pressures (particularly on municipal officials and THW [Technisches Hilfswerk]) we sustained our effort and the success was acknowledged at grass-roots level.

The local municipalities had already begun to survey damage in mid–1994. But they had no computing resources, and data were gathered in an unstructured way, so that it was hard to deduce priorities, allocate resources, manage action and monitor change. The EUAM made its own survey, which is described in Chapter 4. It became clear to me, however, that the choice of individual beneficiaries could only be done by the municipalities. At first, this opened the way to manipulation by the rich for selfish motives, and by the powerful for party advantage. But a relatively tiny EU staff had neither the time nor the detailed knowledge to carry out this task. In Chapter 7, Andreas Seebacher of THW suggests that the EU should have made a greater effort in this direction. The issue is clearly a controversial one.

The damage data-base categorised dwellings into light, medium and heavy damage; that is, less than 30 per cent, less than 50 per cent and less than 70 per cent damage. More than 70 per cent damage was regarded as a write-off.


Light Damage Housing Repair

In September 1994, as soon as I arrived, Mr Koschnick insisted on immediate action, although we had no data on damage or need. However, local colleagues had a lot of constructive suggestions, and we decided to launch into a massive programme

-46-

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Rebuilding Mostar: Urban Reconstruction in a War Zone
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 2 - The Human Factor 10
  • Chapter 3 - Organisation 16
  • Chapter 4 - Urban Planning 28
  • Chapter 5 - Project Management 36
  • Chapter 6 - Housing 46
  • Chapter 7 - The Work of Technisches Hilfswerk in Housing Repair the Human Factor 52
  • Notes by John Yarwood *
  • Chapter 8 - Health, Education and Other Building Projects 65
  • Chapter 9 - Demolition 70
  • Chapter 10 - Construction Industry Recovery 74
  • Chapter 11 - Urban Infrastructure 79
  • Chapter 12 - Conclusions 86
  • Appendix 1 - Project Schedules 95
  • Appendix 2 - Department Staff Listing 106
  • Bibliography 108
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