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The struggle for urban livelihoods and the quest for a functional city - Interim results from the ongoing research project

Kirsten Hackenbroch (1), Prof. Dr. Sabine Baumgart (1), Prof. a.D. Dr. Volker Kreibich a.D. (2) (1) Fachgebiet Stadt- und Regionalplanung, Fakultät Raumplanung, TU Dortmund, (2) ehemaliger Leiter des Fachgebietes Raumplanung in Entwicklungsländern, Fakultät Raumplanung, TU Dortmund

The megacity Dhaka is facing rapid urbanisation with 21 million inhabitants projected for 2020. A disabled statutory planning system and an inappropriate institutional setup lead to inefficient urban management, especially with regard to catering for the urban poor. The functionality of the urban fabric is endangered, including urban public spaces for the livelihoods of slum dwellers. The central research issue of the research project is subdivided into the following topics:

  • the spatiality of livelihoods – to explore and explain the interdependencies between livelihoods and urban public space in informal settlements including gender issues,
  • urban governance – to identify and explain the potentials and limits of social regulation with a focus on urban public spaces, and to explore options for interfaces with statutory planning.

The presentation will focus on the first topic. Urban public space and its functionality are regarded as an important livelihoods asset for inhabitants of informal settlements and slums. It is assumed that urban public space is shaped by the livelihood activities of informal dwellers. The livelihood framework (Chambers, Conway 1992; Rakodi, Lloyd Jones 2002) is used as a comprehensive approach to analyse and understand the dynamics of urban informality in megacities and their implications for space. The analysis of urban public space includes the notions of ‘contested space’ (Brown 2006) and ‘rights to the city’.

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