Project description

The mega-urban regions of monsoon Asia in particular, typically do not fit urban-rural dichotomies and instead exhibit complex spatial patterns in which urban and rural characteristics are seemingly interspersed and hybridized. This thesis aims to reposition and repurpose the unstable category of ‘nature’ in its current and possible role in the process of urbanization, using the case of Bangladesh and its hybrid regions located between densely populated cities, such as Dhaka, and less-dense ‘rural’ areas. The research uses a case of floodplain development to understand how households and ‘nature’ interact and how this interaction is facilitated at an institutional level, especially through Commons framework.


The thesis aims to document spatial, temporal and topographical aspects of an urban-rural landscape. The research activities relied on traditional techniques from social science, urban planning and commons research, allied with satellite imaging from GoogleMaps. Preliminary results suggest that people utilize the resources of the floodplain commons in complex and nuanced ways as part of their livelihoods, contrary to common belief that the resources are under-utilized.


The research aims to contribute to the development of sustainable pathways to urbanization in Bangladesh, and wider debates on urbanization and urban ecology. These observations support the wider hypothesis of the research concerning the complex interdependencies between human settlements and the environment in Bangladesh.