Bangladesh, 08 Nov 2021

Demonstrating smart solutions for resilient cities

Rapid urbanization in Bangladesh results in all kinds of urban infrastructure problems, especially in medium-sized cities. Change is needed to make cities to more liveable, sustainable places to live. A new initiative, led by IHE Delft together with the government of Bangladesh with the support of the Dutch Government and the Asian Development Bank, will showcase best practices in the urban environment and propose improvements to local governance.

The initiative, titled ‘Urban Demonstrators’ comprises a framework and method of working that combines state-of-the-art knowledge from around the world with local communities’ needs, opinions and initiatives. The goal is to accelerate the adoption and large-scale use of urban infrastructure for sustainable and climate-resilient development.

Urban Demonstrators focuses on four problem areas: water supply, urban drainage, sewerage and solid waste management. Initiatives in these four areas will be created in two municipalities, using a bottom-up approach that integrates to local knowledge, peer-learning and pilots across cities to demonstrate innovative and inclusive urban infrastructure solutions.

“Urban infrastructure is a local matter. However, too much infrastructure planning is organized top-down and lacks local ownership. Urban Demonstrators enables people to take action at a local scale,” says Chris Zevenbergen, Professor of Flood Resilience of Urban Systems at IHE Delft and one of the initiators of the Urban Demonstrators initiative.

At the initiative’s inaugural ceremony, organized last month in Bangladesh by IHE Delft in collaboration with the Local Government Engineering Department, the Government of the Netherlands and the Global Centre on Adaptation, key stakeholders were identified and a detailed concept prepared.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Tazul Islam MP, Honourable Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives of the Government of Bangladesh. Other speakers included Mr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Senior Secretary from the Local Government Division of the Government of Bangladesh and Ambassador Anne van Leeuwen, Head of Mission of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh.

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