In emergency conditions, the realization of a settlement develops according to an unplanned process then affecting the transformation - often permanent - of places through the imposition of uncodified rules. The research here set forth proposes criteria and guidelines for the planning of transitional housing settlement areas in order to effectively meet the requirements of emergency prevention and post-disaster reconstruction through a coordinated approach among land/town urban planners, emergency planners, disaster managers, users. The main topic is presented by following the study progress through the phases which have led to the final results. At the same time, the sequence of the single conceptual elements is based on the logic of problem-solving, as required in an architectural project so as to facilitate the interpretation by part of the final users. We believe that the research most important contribution is represented by the analytical approach towards the problem, which is based on a culture of the project, rather than on the mere identification of the technical standards. The research outcomes are represented by a framework of possible design solutions that verify the settlement patterns depending on the characteristics of the area and the size of the population. The research product is a transitional settlement planning guide to be used by local land authorities.