In the contexts of rising population, increased urbanization, rising demands for services, congestion and pressure on environment and resources, cities, especially the mega cities of the developing world are struggling to find ways to provide better living conditions and employment opportunities for their residents, especially for the poor. Like other megacities, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and the second fastest growing megacity in the world is failing to provide housing, health, education and formal employment opportunities for the growing number of poor rural migrants, who migrate to Dhaka with a dream to change their fate for a better future. Most of these people end up living in slums and many of their livelihoods depend on the use of negotiated spaces. By ‘negotiated space’, I refer to any kind of urban space that is used by the urban poor to earn livelihoods through some kind of negotiation processes.

By an in-depth case study of Sattola slum in Dhaka, the study addresses a gap in the literature relevant to understanding the way poor people use negotiated spaces to earn an income in their own neighbourhood as well as in other areas and the kinds of contestation and negotiation that take place in complex and uncertain environments in megacities, such as Dhaka.

The study will contribute to policy by investigating the existing structural inequities that are producing spatial inequality for poor people so that the government can take initiatives to establish their rights to access to and use of negotiated spaces as well as to improve their tenure security.

Advisors: Dr Peter Walters, Dr Sonia Roitman, Adjunct Professor Adil Khan

Funding: International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS), UQ Centennial Scholarship

Project members