This news story was written by Sumaiya Shudha and Hanna Ruszczyk from the ‘Liveable Regional Cities in Bangladesh‘ project funded by SHLC’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund The views expressed in this article are of the writers and not attributable to SHLC.

Over the last three decades Bangladesh has experienced rapid and unplanned urbanisation.

Recent collaborative research between International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) at Durham University has demonstrated a pressing need to enhance our knowledge, skills and experience of supporting urban resilience to tackle this challenge of rapid urbanisation. In response, ICCCAD and IHRR colleagues designed and organised an online short course exploring urban resilience and liveability.

Course participants included a combination of early-career professionals working on urban issues in Bangladesh, researchers and also graduate as well as senior-undergraduate students. The course covered three topics:

  1. theoretical framings of urban resilience and urban liveability;
  2. utilising interdisciplinary approaches to understand a city’s liveability and resilience; and
  3. urban resilience and vulnerability from the local perspective.
Noapara river city, Bangladesh. Credit: Jinia Nowrin
Noapara river city, Bangladesh. Credit: Jinia Nowrin

As part of this course, participants took part in a group activity and designed a small-scale project related to urban resilience and liveability in secondary coastal cities of Bangladesh. Drawing on course materials, this activity was designed to enhance the participants’ skills in developing successful project proposals.

The five teams presented their proposals to a team of judges representing ICCCAD, Durham University and the University of Glasgow. The top three proposals were awarded £1,500 funding* to carry out their project in 2021. The winning projects include:

  • Group 1: A critical Analysis of Local Governance Mechanisms for influencing Individual Level Climate Change Adaptation Decision Making: A case study for Noapara Bangladesh.
  • Group 4: Participatory resilient house design for low-income community at saline prone coastal urban regions of Bangladesh.
  • Group 5: Exploring Liveability of Seasonal Migrants in Informal Settlements

Md. Bodrud-Doza Zion, Manager in Climate Change Program at BRAC, said:

“We find this urban livability and resilience program very interesting and effective for our knowledge building. After completing our research project we hope to transform our findings into a development project for the betterment of the most vulnerable low income urban communities.”

* Funding for these small projects is jointly supported by SHLC’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund and IHRR’s ‘Impact Grant’ from Durham University.

The project was led by Hanna Ruszczyk (Durham University), Istiakh Ahmed (International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh), Alex Halligey (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa).

This research project ‘Liveable Regional Cities in Bangladesh’ was funded by the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC)’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund. SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.