In the past decades, earthquakes have left millions of people without homes across the world. Safe housing is crucial for the long-term wellbeing of the affected population. This article analyses the Ecuadorian housing reconstruction developed after the 7.8 magnitude 2016 earthquake, taking as case study the cities of Portoviejo, Manta, Bahía de Caráquez and Pedernales, located in the Manabí province, which jointly accommodate more than 90% of the resettlements built by the central government. The research aims to understand the implications of the top-down management reconstruction process and its impacts, five years after the earthquake, using as critical lens the inhabitants, the UN-Habitat principles for adequate housing and the “Build Back Better” principles of the Sendai Framework for post-disaster reconstruction. The work combines policy review, risk spatial analysis, semi-structured interviews, and constructive and architectural analysis. The article is the outcome of a transdisciplinary multi-scalar approach that analyses key long-term social implications, the quality and the spatial adaptations of the built environment. It finally offers some crucial recommendations for the long-term wellbeing of post-disaster housing strategies.