The design proposal for Portoviejo offers scenarios for an alternative (re)settlement, developed both at the urban and at the architectural scale, that can be compared, in terms of size and location, to the resettlements realized after the 2016 earthquake in the Manabí Province.
The objective is to design a new part of the city rather that an enclosure. This is in direct antithesis to the resettlements logic adopted by the Ecuadorian central government after the 2016 earthquake. A new barrio with small public buildings, residences, facilities, able to give place to a new community after the losses caused by the catastrophic event. According to the NOVAVIDA research program, the general aims of the design proposals are (i) the reduction of the vulnerability, according to the Sendai principles of Building Back Better , (ii) improving the environmental and social sustainability through the use of local resources and boost the local economy, (iii) involve the communities in the design of the resettlements, in order to define a new bottom-up strategy for the post-disaster reconstruction.
In an attempt to overcome the criticalities discussed in Sect. 2 of this paper, the new urban and architectural design aims to: (i) design the new resettlement as a proper urban part of the city, made by private and public spaces, housing and collective buildings, amenities and facilities, (ii) provide some degree of flexibility to the housing, to allow economic development with the creation of small retail activities, as well as future housing development to accommodate new inhabitants needs, (iii) the adoption of the vernacular knowledge to face the climate conditions, pursue a passive thermal strategy, and the use local materials to optimize available resources.
An area located in the south of Portoviejo, that is listed among those for social housing developments, and located not in risk areas has been chosen for the new design proposal. The characteristics of the existing city elucidated with the morphological analysis, represented an important reference for the design of the new urban scenarios. Our aims is to define a new piece of the city, made by different parts, each with precise characteristics, with collective and private spaces, streets and different housing typologies. Therefore, a variety of housing typologies is proposed to accommodate a range of families, and allow them future expansions. Starting from the principles highlighted during the typological analysis of the vernacular architecture, it was developed a contemporary proposal able to meet the inhabitants needs and the requirement of a more sustainable architecture.
In order to carry out the design proposal in a real environment, it was selected a development area in the district of Portoviejo that was comparable for size and characteristics to one of the resettlement already built in this city (Fig. 4). The area Empresa Publica Agua de Manta is a void already designated by the local authorities for a residential development, presenting low risk of natural hazards, and already partially connected to the existing city through public infrastructures. Rather than the indiscriminate repetitions of the houses, the new resettlement was conceived as a new part of the city, made by the urban elements, housing, amenities and public spaces. The recurring cross section of the streets in the city centre of Portoviejo, common also to many cities in the Manabí Province, with the main road at the centre and the buildings facing each other with the galería at the ground floor (Fig. 5), was the starting point for the urban proposal. With the intent to extend this character in the new urban scenario, the residential buildings were conceived as terraced houses, with a portico on the main façade and the opportunity to house small commercial activities on the ground floor. A variety of buildings arrangements has been considered, and finally defined, considering the intention to reach a low density built environment for better living conditions (Fig. 6). Four different housing typologies, presented in the next paragraph, were combined in the urban environment in order to alternate residential buildings to public spaces and amenities. Green areas, parking lots and small public buildings such as community centres, nurseries and shops, are all integrated in the new (re)settlement to foster a healthy social development and attract people from the surrounding areas to increase connectiveness with the consolidated city (Fig. 6).
The vernacular architecture study strongly influenced the design proposal for the new housing in terms of layout, tectonic and thermal strategies. The vivienda-comercio (Fig. 3), as well as many characteristic elements, such as the galería and the patio have been included in the new proposal in order to meet the inhabitants habits and needs. The housing are conceived as flexible systems, able to accommodate a variety of uses, to expand in future, and to be built in phases. The houses are all two storeys hight, to be combined as terraced houses, on a structural model of 3.60 by 3.60 m with the opportunity to grow on the side. The request for future development and modification of the houses was a very common requirements expressed by the inhabitants interviewed during the first part of the research project, so the incremental housing became a central topic of the design proposal. In order to better understand the dynamics linked to the participatory practices and the level of acceptance by the inhabitants in the short and the long term, some examples built in South America in the last 20 years  and in other global south countries  were examined. As a result of that investigation, an array of incremental houses were developed, to respond to a variety of potential functional programs, until four of them were selected for further development. The type A, is a two storeys house suitable for a family of three people at the initial stage, that can double its initial size and home up to 6 people. The type B, is a two storeys patio house of 78 m2, suitable for a family of 4 at the initial stage and that can be expanded to accommodate up to 8 people. Both typologies (A and B) are suitable to home some commercial activities within either part or the entire ground floor. The type C is a two storeys patio house, suitable for two small families, with an initial size of 39 m2 each floor that can be extended up to 65 m2. The last type (D) is a 78 m2, which was developed to be a wheelchair accessible home for four people (Fig. 7).