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Planning in an age of uncertainty


CSS students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) explored climate change impacts and adaptive measures for resilience and sustainability in the southern coastal regions of Bangladesh as part of a joint capstone course with peers from North South University in Dhaka.

The students visited eco-villages in the Sundarban (mangrove forests) region, where they interviewed residents of coastal communities impacted by sea level rise. They also met with local government and NGO representatives, such as the Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development (BASD), to gain broader perspectives about issues facing the communities and to explore solutions.

“The field trip was a great opportunity to listen to local women, NGO workers and local government officials about the emerging challenges due to sea-level rise, as well as their will and efforts to adapt with minimal resources,” said Sandy Jiyoon Kim, DURP PhD student. “The experience helped me to understand the complexities of balancing the preservation of the environment and the support of socioeconomic development on the ground. Working together with students at North South University, we got to know different cultures and backgrounds, which led to friendship beyond academic collaboration.”

The capstone collaboration is part of CSS’s ongoing efforts to deepen student understanding of critical issues such as climate change by providing hands-on experiences that enable future research and teaching to benefit from global perspectives.

“The trip was incredible. The students and I enjoyed the rich experience it afforded us in all respects — learning about the impacts of climate change, grassroots efforts to build resilience and adapt, the culture, people and religion as we were there during Ramadan,” said Priyam Das, DURP chair and trip faculty supervisor. “This capstone project showcased the potential for collaboration among students and faculty from both universities, and laid the groundwork for future projects.”