Incremental Housing for Resilience
Help communities to improve their resilience by providing better building materials and training in more resilient construction techniques.
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
It is well documented that the urban poor in the developing world, who often live in slums, are routinely among those who are most affected by natural hazards. With the prospect of a changing climate, which will leave them even more vulnerable and exposed as natural hazards become more frequent and intense, it is critical that we help people in such communities improve their resilience and adaptive capacity, in order to protect their livelihoods and their lives.
People living in slums or informal settlements are often left to work with only those resources available to them, which tend to be low quality, and therefore leads to lower quality housing. That said, they also exhibit an enormous amount of ingenuity and resourcefulness in constructing their own housing. This project will harness the human capital of these communities by providing them with better resources from which to work, and training on ways to improve the ability of their homes and neighborhoods to withstand the impacts of natural hazards. This will not only help them to build resilience now, but also in the future, as the training provided will improve their adaptive capacity in the face of long-term changes.
This project is tailored to benefit communities that are at risk of natural hazards, particularly flooding, but also geophysical hazards such as earthquakes. Ideally, it would be implemented in a slum community of a coastal city where the prevalence of flooding is expected to rise, such as Dhaka.
The communities will not only benefit from improved housing and community facilities, but also from improved skills in construction, which could lead to additional employment opportunities.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
Incremental housing has been implemented with success in a variety of scenarios, but to my knowledge has never been implemented as a solution to improving the resilience of slum communities. These projects are often coupled with investments in infrastructure, but that would not be within the scope of this project given the limited resources.
Still, since flooding poses such a grave risk to Dhaka, both now and in the future, any improvement to the resilience of those living in slums (estimated at roughly half the city's population) is an important contribution. Another critical aspect of this project will be to take into account the complex land tenure system of Bangladesh, and look for ways to assist the beneficiaries in obtaining more secure property rights.
Taking this a step further, by developing a micro-finance scheme that is managed by the beneficiary community, there exists the opportunity to contribute to the resilience of the slums of Dhaka in a transformational way.
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I am a climate resilience consultant for the World Bank with a Master's Degree in Urban Planning that is currently considering going back to school to earn my PhD, and to research what factors contribute to the resilience of slum communities.