An RMIT researcher is helping guide a key United Nations project to secure climate resilient housing for vulnerable coastal communities in Bangladesh.
Dr Iftekhar Ahmed, Research Fellow in the School of Architecture and Design, was chosen as a member of the multi-disciplinary team after a successful bid to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
He will be the housing expert in the project titled Feasibility Study and Proposal Writing for Strengthening National Adaptive Capacity through Climate Resilient Rural Housing in Coastal Bangladesh.
The team will lead a proposal for the Government of Bangladesh to secure funding for resilient housing for coastal communities facing severe poverty and high vulnerability to climate change impacts such as cyclones, storm surges and sea level rise.
Ahmed said the project would be a great opportunity to use his research to make a difference.
“The project is expected to contribute to the resilience of around one million people with around 20,000 resilient houses to be built,” he said.
“Our aim is to help improve the living conditions and ultimately the lives of people in these vulnerable communities.”
Ahmed also recently received recognition for his paper detailing case studies from the Cook Islands on housing and resilience at the 5th International Conference on Building Resilience organised by the University of Newcastle.
“It was wonderful to have my work selected as one of the seven best papers out of more than 70 papers at the conference,” he said.
Ahmed works closely on disaster resilient housing research with Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth, Director of the Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau (HARB) at RMIT.
The pair’s research focus supports the launch of RMIT’s new online Master of Disaster, Design and Development.
The degree was developed in collaboration the humanitarian sector, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Vision International and UN-Habitat.
The course explores how design can be used as a strategic tool to help resolve complex global challenges, including poverty, natural disaster, civil conflict and climate control.
“What makes this appealing for people who are interested in furthering their careers in the humanitarian sector is that a majority of the subjetcs will be offered online, so you can study from anywhere in the world,” Charlesworth said.
Ahmed’s paper on the Cook Islands housing resilience project will be published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Disaster Resilience of the Built Environment.
Be true to you: Applications are open to start studying the Master of Disaster, Design and Development in July 2016.
Story: Emma Morgan