Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Analysis: points of interest

Currently we are working on collecting basic data, which we will be combining in an evolutionary timeline in the coming weeks. These include graphs regarding demographic statistics and the disaster events and impacts. Below you can read some of our first ideas. Mostly we are interested in looking at the way the Bangladeshi cope with the threat of different natural disasters, and how this affects especially their daily lives. Whereas most research and relief aid is done on a rational or pragmatic level, we aim to also investigate these daily lives on a bottom-up manner, through interconnectivity, flows, and specific mapping techniques.

Comparison with the Netherlands: it is interesting to compare the Bangladesh delta with that of the Netherlands. Both countries are densely populated, are flat and are very low-lying. Obviously, the two contrast strongly economically. How do economically challenged (we will stay politically correct here) countries cope with similar issues of water quantity (storm surges) and water quality (drinking water).

Comparing the 1991 Chittagong Cyclone with the 2007 Sidr Cyclone: in Bangladesh we will, firstly, research the impacts of the 1991 cyclone on the redevelopment within Chittagong city. Based on the data and timeline that we will produce there, we will research in more detail the effects of the Sidr Cyclone in the Barisal/Patuakhali/Barguna region. The area is a densely populated semi-urban rural area. What differences will there be in redevelopment, and at which phase on the Chittagong timeline will the redevelopment be?

Comparing different disasters: if we have time to do so, it would be interesting to look at the 2007 and 2008 landslides in Chittagong. We could also have a quick look at the Chars and see how flooding affects the way of life of the inhabitants there.

Nomadic culture: we are interested in the almost nomadic life of some Bangladeshi due to the recurring natural disasters. The large concrete shelters that have been built can now function as a temporary shelter until the disaster has passed. Houses are rebuilt, and they build them to be destroyed later on. How, then, does this nomadic life affect city life? Although Bangladesh is densely populated, only a quarter of the people live in cities. This is a low amount compared to the average of fifty percent. If houses are built flexible, is infrastructure built in the same way? Or does infrastructure have a more permanent nature? And how are land right issues settled?

Rapid reconstruction: when looking more closely to cities like Chittagong, there is a potential to reconstruct parts of the city often due to the recurring disasters. Are houses in cities built more rigidly? If not, then how is redevelopment done? How much planning intervention is apparent?

Tools: to do our research we will make use of several tools or methods. We have been learned a few of them briefly in the last few lectures: GIS, combined with GPS software, and Space Syntax. We are planning to use GIS to research how close concrete shelters are placed to the neighbouring cities. Space Syntax can be used to see how safe distant villages combined with evacuation routes. And finally we can use GPS software to do help us with mapping techniques of flows in especially Chittagong city. This could help us in researching, bottom-up, the daily lives on the population.

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