After giving a preliminary report in my last blogpost about my fieldwork in Dhaka, I would like to provide, herewith, an impression of my findings after my fieldwork is finished. Slums are characterized by informality and mostly people regard them as self-organised. And having a look at the initial phases of squatter communities, rightly so. Occupying vacant land, staking their claims and providing the most basic services is organised by the occupants themselves and usually does not follow a greater plan. Even though, it is evident in slums, in my eyes literature about this type of settlement is too obsessed with self-organisation, leaving out issues of hierarchy. My hypothesis is that hierarchy plays a crucial role during a slum’s development. certain formerly self-organised things are hierarchically made more effective, and hierarchy gets important when there are attempts to build up certain degrees of resilience.
There is a further very interesting research project we want to report about. TRANSIT (TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory) investigates the interactions between social innovations and other forms of transformative change. The project will run until the end of the year 2017 and will develop a theory of transformative social innovation which is about empowerment and change in society. You find more about TRANSIT on their homepage.
Next to our project SELFCITY, there exist some different research projects with a similar approach in Europe. We would like to present you one of them: TESS – Towards European Societal Sustainability.
This European research project is focussing on the contribution of community-based initiatives to a low-carbon future. It aims on investigation how these initiatives can maximise their impact and what to do to improve their success. Next to the analysis of multiple European community-based initiatives, TESS will develop an accounting system for finding out the success factors.
Moreover, TESS supports the networking process between initiatives, stakeholders, policy makers and the media. This happens through the online platform Sustainable Communities, where interested persons and initiatives may find support for creating networks.