Since 2015, Associate Professor Christine Wamsler, has been involved in the project BINUCOM - Building Inclusive Urban Communities. Here she explains what the project is about and why she thinks the work is so important.
What is BINUCOM about?
BINUCOM is about capacity development in Higher Education. The aim of the project is to improve the relevance of Architecture and Planning Education in developing inclusive urban communities in India. Through our work we foster collaboration between different Higher Education Institutes both within and outside India. Together we challenge current teaching approaches and assist new course and curriculum development that take account of societal needs and the complex challenges of sustainable social housing and planning.
Why is it important?
Rapid urbanisation is leading to appalling conditions for the urban poor. India's slum population, a population, who by definition lives in dwellings that are unfit for human habitation, is expected to increase to 104 million by 2017, nearly 10 percent of the projected population.
This means that architects and urban planners face escalating challenges. The situation requires that architecture and planning students receive professional training so they can adequately address informality and poverty and the associated growing social, economic and environmental problems.
What is your role in the project?
My role is to support capacity development in the field of inclusive climate change adaptation and risk reduction. For those that live in slums in cities, the daily challenges are increasingly exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. They are increasingly exposed to the impacts of landslides, flooding, sea level rise, heat stress and other hazards that increase the risks in already vulnerable communities. Together with other LUCSUS staff, last year we organized a thematic workshop and site visits about this topic for all project participants.
Where are you now in the project?
Different thematic workshops and site visits have been carried out. Apart from inclusive climate change adaptation and risk reduction, the topics covered social inclusion, participatory planning approaches and sustainable housing. These workshop provided input for the development of case studies and new course developments at the four partner Institutions in India. Both the case studies and the new courses are currently jointly developed. Regular meetings, workshops and conferences are planned to support this process and disseminate the outcomes over the next two years.
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