WHAT WE DO
IRIS-Fire is an international and interdisciplinary research project, between engineers and social scientists, that are looking to Improve the Resilience of Informal Settlements to Fire. This international collaboration project, between the University of Edinburgh, UK and Stellenbosch University, South Africa, aims to develop fundamental understanding of the social, political, and technical issues regarding fire safety and fire spread within informal settlements situated in the Western Cape of South Africa and beyond.
23 Jan 2018
The beginning of January saw Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock and David Rush travel to Cape Town for three main reasons
Read more about who we met, where we went, and what surveys we are planning.
15 Aug 2017
Dr Graham Spinardi has recently been awarded an ESRC grant to look into more depth the social and technological issues within informal settlements with respect to fires.
The ESRC grant, titled "Tackling Fire in Informal Urban Settlements: An Interdisciplinary Approach", is to work alongside many aspects of the IRIS-Fire project. With this being the case, the grants will work together in terms of outputs and deliverables, to maximise the use of resources to the fullest possible extent.
More news can be found on our News page
The IRIS-Fire team, led by Lesley Gibson will be holding a fire workshop at the 2019 Festival of Creative Learning on Tuesday 19 February 2019.
Any University of Edinburgh staff or student may sign up for the event and but we think it may especially appeal to those with interest in: Fire, urban planning and design, geography and anyone interested in urbanisation in the Global South.
Fires in informal settlements are devastating to those living in these urban environments. After a fire, urban redesign (known as reblocking) can take place to facilitate the provision of formal services such as water and sanitation. Basic fire safety such as adequate spacing between homes may be implemented but innovative fire reduction design is usually not considered.
This workshop will introduce participants to the challenge of informal settlement fires, and will then enable participants to consider fire spread reduction in the designing of a reblocked informal settlement through practical learning and experimentation. Participants will work in teams to decide on a design which they will build out of prefabricated modelled dwellings. All teams will have an equal number of modelled dwellings and will be challenged to arrange the dwellings within a predefined space with a focus on fire spread prevention. At the end of the workshop a fire scientist will be invited to select a dwelling to set alight and we will observe the fire spread of each team’s modelled reblocked settlement and discuss the effectiveness of the various designs.
We have been working on the design of dwellings for the experiment and have a combination of steel and cardboard dwellings. Single dwellings, double dwellings and L-shaped dwellings.
The single dwellings are complete and testing of fuel load and optimal distance has started. Once we have the double and L-shaped dwellings welded together, we will finalise the number of dwellings for each team (it is looking like around 50 at the moment) and the density at which teams will need to arrange their dwellings.
There is plenty of creative learning happening for the organisers of this event and we can’t wait to welcome participants to learn alongside us.