Abstract

In the West, cities have historically been defined in opposition to the rural and the idea of nature. This established a strong urban-rural dichotomy that poses particular conceptual and practical difficulties for considering the rapid development of cities in Asia. The mega-urban regions of monsoon Asia in particular, typically do not fit these paradigms 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. It looks at three case study sites to analyze different kinds of city-nature dynamic around the management of water, and the production of clay and fibre. The research aims to contribute to the development of sustainable pathways to urbanization in Bangladesh, and wider debates on urbanization and urban ecology.