The ‘Liveable Regional Cities in Bangladesh’ was a project run by International Centre for Climate Change and Development of the Independent University of Bangladesh in partnership with the University of Durham, UK, and the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, conducted fieldwork as part of a small scale interdisciplinary research project utilising the concept of liveability in two regional cities in Bangladesh. The project was funded by Glasgow University’s Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods through the Global Challenges Research Fund and the United Kingdom Research and Innovation Department’s Economic and Social Research Council.
This project explores what makes the regional cities of Bangladesh liveable from the perspectives of residents, officials and stakeholders in an interdisciplinary manner through the use of storytelling workshops, production of videos and interviews with case study of Mongla and Noapara – two municipalities of Khulna division. Mongla and Noapara municipalities were selected as the case study cities and partners for the proposed project because even though they are vulnerable to multiple climate change impacts, they attract migrants seeking potential employment opportunities. Much can be learned about what makes a city liveable in this context.
- The main objective of the ‘Liveable’ Project is to explore two regional under-researched yet quickly growing cities from the perspectives of residents, officials and stakeholders in order to understand interdisciplinary interpretations of sustainability, resilience and safe neighbourhoods utilising the conceptual framing of ‘liveability’.
- The long-term academic benefits include the creation of new knowledge on cities that have not been investigated and this will be utilised for long-term research into these increasingly common urban spaces through other projects in the future.
- The social impact includes the sharing of this knowledge with local and national stakeholders so as to consider and include voices of a range of residents in future planning for regional cities.
|Research methods and tools|
|Household surveys||Semi Structured Experts Interviews/KIIs|
|Focus Group Discussions FGDs||Photography|
|Workshops||Dissemination of Understanding|
Outputs and Outcomes:
- Collection of data for Noapara and Mongla (statistical data, maps, 100 household surveys per city, 10 household interviews per city, four focus group discussions per city, 10 stakeholder interviews per city).
- Analysis of data and drafting of 2 reports in both English and Bengali.
- Story telling workshops in each city.
- Production of videos and photographs for each city.
- Organisation of half day meeting with local authorities (including municipality) and other key stakeholders in each city
- Organisation of exhibitions of the videos and photographs in Noapara and Mongla.
- Organisation of national level dissemination event with MAB with participation of Mayors from different municipality
- Academic paper on the usefulness of performance-based research tools for exploring lived realities of cities.
Changes that would occur (outcomes)
- Motivation of residents, local authorities and other decision makers to rethink what is important in their cities – what makes neighbourhoods and cities liveable. This has a significant relationship with resilience, sustainability and the SDGs.
- The local authorities and other mayors would learn about what resident’s value and consider to be elements of liveability.
- Nationally, discussing the interdisciplinary insights from the storytelling workshops, videos, photographs and reports via MAB’s network was important for policy initiatives in further initiatives.
- A short policy brief related to the ‘Liveable Regional Cities in Bangladesh’ project will be published on its website.
- Capacity Building of the students and young professionals in this interdisciplinary methods.
- Lastly, the project findings was also presented at ICCCAD’s 6th Gobeshona Conference. Again, knowledge from this project will be shared in an international forum.
Project plan and proposed methodology
- The ‘Liveable Regional Cities in Bangladesh’ Project would engage with residents and development actors in two regional cities (Mongla and Noapora) to understand what liveability means for residents. This knowledge is to be shared with MAB and others with the goal of creating improved space for dialogue in cities enhance research and institutional capacities on different scales, as well as creating an opportunity for research and collaboration within and between Bangladesh, South Africa and the UK.
- This project is essential to exploring what residents think of their neighbourhoods and their cities.
- One of the core development priority is to address the multiple factors contributing to unplanned urban growth and necessity to implement measures to promote sustainability and growth of regional cities and to make these more resilient to ensure sustainable futures.
- This would give a more direct representation of residents’ own ‘voices, which in turn is to be used to raise awareness, create dialogue and ultimately action among academic, NGOs, and government actors on a local and national level.
- This project would enhance the capacity of the three ECRS to think through the relationship between humanities and social science research in urban contexts. Relationships would be strengthened and furthered.
- The research and project activities is to enable non–academic partners to use the research to effect change in society by learning what liveability means to residents.
- In the long term, it is expected that this project will lead to:
- – Small, daily actions of individuals and collectives of residents can engage in to improve the liveability of their city.
- – Ways in which collective action can be taken to make demands of local and state policy makers and administrators to improve city conditions.