Dr Ifte Ahmed
School of Architecture and Built Environment
- Phone:(02) 4921 6011
An Immersive approach to disaster resilience
Dr Ifte Ahmed believes that research should not be focussed solely on books at a desk, he takes a truly immersive approach to his research in disaster resilience. While he started on a traditional architectural path, Ifte soon moved onto a more interesting trajectory – disaster resilience and sustainable post-disaster housing systems.
Mud-architecture attracted Ifte’s early interest as an architect, in fact, it spawned his first publication Up To The Waist In Mud, which explored the study of mud-architecture in Bangladesh. The book was published in 1994 and was the result of his Masters thesis from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ifte’s academic career spans the continents – a Bachelor of Architecture from IIT, India, Master of Science in Architecture Studies from MIT in the US, and a PhD from Oxford Brookes University in the UK, so it’s not surprising that his research focus is global.
A strong theme of Ifte’s academic career is that research is not something that should be conducted in isolation. A hands-on approach to working alongside communities has informed Ifte’s research and knowledge throughout his career. Working with the Housing and Hazards group in Bangladesh while undertaking his PhD inspired Ifte to transition into the risk reduction field. While his original proposition was to explore low-income housing, he soon found that most of the housing in the country was built post-disaster and disaster impacts was a significant issue.
"Comparing housing built by agencies to that by communities themselves, the resilience and adaptive capacity of these communities became clear.”
Ifte stepped away from academia for a few years and immersed himself in the field. He’d done the research, and knew what the problems were, but wanted to actually get his hands dirty and do it. Ifte worked as Project Manager with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Thailand, and managed disaster risk reduction programs in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh. At the same time, he was also a trainer in regional and national training courses and developed training curricula too.
Ifte also worked as a Shelter Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh, building over 16,000 houses in a post-flood reconstruction program. Working alongside women who were involved in a cash-for-work program, Ifte praises the program for its ‘participatory action’. Teams would go into villages and share their technical professional knowledge, and in turn, would be informed by the local’s Indigenous knowledge.
“That’s my basic approach in life,” Ifte says. “To merge, collaborate and come up with something where one group doesn’t dominate but basically everyone has their own viewpoint and multiple perspectives are merged to come up with something unique.”
A new design parameter: designed with disaster in mind
Natural disasters dominate the news cycle: from cyclones, to tsunamis to super-storms. But are modern houses built to withstand nature’s wrath? Ifte says that building codes are usually only updated in response to a natural disaster, not in preparation for one. “For example, after the Ash Wednesday fires (which was one of Australia’s costliest natural disasters) there was no change to building laws, everything went on as usual. However after the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires in Victoria, the BAL system (Bushfire Attack Level) codes were enforced to protect homes in bushfire-prone zones.”
“Before building, homeowners need to have their area rated for a BAL before building. High levels mean that builders have to incorporate a certain amount of bushfire-resistant elements in the design. It can be costly, say up to $10 000, but what is $10 000 versus rebuilding costs of $500 000? It’s a very small investment in protection.”
Disaster resilience - a focus at UON
His appointment at the University of Newcastle (UON) in early 2016 is the next exciting step in Ifte’s career. Working collaboratively with the Disaster and Development Research Group at UON has Ifte looking forward to the next challenge. “It’s a fast-growing field, it’s everywhere,” Ifte explains. “It’s an issue that people will have to deal with and it needs to be dealt with professionally – it can’t just be left up to the government.”
Ifte will spend time at UON dividing his time between teaching courses and researching with partners to develop building solutions to deal with both rapid-onset disasters such as earthquakes and storms or slow-onset such as flood and drought. “Drought is often forgotten,” says Ifte. “But it is very insidious and harmful and can cause massive damage on a global scale. Some countries go through a cycle of massive flooding, followed by drought.”
If there’s a challenge in architecture and disaster resilience, you can be certain that Ifte’s got it in his sights. The students at UON are lucky to work with such a collaborative and innovative leader in this fast-growing field. We’re facing global challenges that are being addressed right here in Newcastle at UON.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University - UK
- Bachelor of Architecture (Honours), Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- Master of Science (Architecture Studies), Massachusetts Institute of Technology - USA
- Post-Disaster Reconstruction
- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Urban Built Enviroment
- Appropriate Construction Technology
- Community Engagement
- Vernacular Architecture
- Developmental Architecture
- Bengali (Mother)
- English (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|200103||International and Development Communication||20|
|120201||Building Construction Management and Project Planning||30|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Newcastle
School of Architecture and Built Environment
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/01/2012 - 31/12/2015||
Conducting research primarily on post-disaster housing reconstruction.
School of Architecture and Design
|1/01/2009 - 31/12/2009||
Research Fellow (part-time)
Conducting research on post-tsunami resettlement in Sri Lanka and India.
Monash Asia Institute
|1/01/2009 - 31/12/2011||
Research Fellow (part-time in 2009)
Conducting research primarily on urban climate change adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Climate Change Adaptation Program
|1/01/2008 - 31/12/2008||
Coordinator - International Research Partnerships
Managing and coordinating research partnerships mainly in Vietnam.
Global Cities Research Institute
|20/10/2007 - 31/12/2009||
Research on post-disaster housing reconstruction, and teaching design studios on cyclone shelters and homeless centres.
|University of Melbourne
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/01/2006 - 15/06/2007||
Management of disaster risk reduction projects in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh; also trainer in regional and national training courses and training curricula development.
|Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
Urban Disaster Risk Management
|1/10/2004 - 31/12/2005||
Post flood reconstruction program of more than 16,000 houses and cash-for-work for women beneficiaries; also design of community centres for Chittagong Hill Tracts indigenous communities.
|United Nations Development Programme
Disaster Management and Crisis Prevention Team
|1/06/1989 - 30/06/1991||
Summers and postgraduate internship. Residential and commercial design projects.
|1/07/1987 - 30/06/1988||
Remodelling and renovation of rural farmhouses.
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/01/2016 - 17/06/2016||
Teaching primarily in the Master of Disaster, Design and Development (MODDD) degree and also Landscape Architecture design studio on coastal climate change adaptation.
School of Architecture and Design
|20/10/1992 - 31/12/2004||
Associate Professor/ Assistant Professor/ Lecturer
Taught various courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban & Regional Planning.
|Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
Department of Architecture
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Book (12 outputs)
|2018||Marsh G, Ahmed KI, Donovan J, Barton S, Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery, Routledge, London (2018)|
Marsh G, Ahmed I, Mulligan M, Donovan J, Barton S, Preface (2017)
Charlesworth E, Ahmed I, Sustainable housing reconstruction: Designing resilient housing after natural disasters (2015)
© 2015 Esther Charlesworth and Iftekhar Ahmed. All rights reserved. Through 12 case studies from Australia, Bangladesh, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the USA, this book focuses on... [more]
© 2015 Esther Charlesworth and Iftekhar Ahmed. All rights reserved. Through 12 case studies from Australia, Bangladesh, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the USA, this book focuses on the housing reconstruction process after an earthquake, tsunami, cyclone, flood or fire. Design of post-disaster housing is not simply replacing the destroyed house but, as these case studies highlight, a means to not only build a safer house but also a more resilient community; not to simply return to the same condition as before the disaster, but an opportunity for building back better. The book explores two main themes: Housing reconstruction is most successful when involving the users in the design and construction process. Housing reconstruction is most effective when it is integrated with community infrastructure, services and the means to create real livelihoods. The case studies included in this book highlight work completed by different agencies and built environment professionals in diverse disaster-affected contexts. With a global acceleration of natural disasters, often linked to accelerating climate change, there is a critical demand for robust housing solutions for vulnerable communities. This book provides professionals, policy makers and community stakeholders working in the international development and disaster risk management sectors, with an evidence-based exploration of how to add real value through the design process in housing reconstruction. Herein then, the knowledge we need to build, an approach to improve our processes, a window to understanding the complex domain of post-disaster housing reconstruction.
|Show 9 more books|
Chapter (19 outputs)
|2018||Marsh G, Ahmed KI, Mulligan M, Donovan J, Barton S, 'Conclusions: Emerging lessons on community engagement in post-disaster recovery', Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery, Routledge, London 203-213 (2018)|
|2018||Ireton G, Ahmed KI, 'Rebuilding lessons from bushfire-affected communities in Victoria, Australia', Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery, Routledge, London 11-21 (2018)|
|2018||Ahmed KI, 'A partnership-based community engagement approach to recovery of flood-affected communities in Bangladesh', Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery, Routledge, London (2018)|
|2017||Ahmed KI, 'Flood Adaptations in the Asian Vernacular', Habitat Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet, Thames &Hudson, London 508-513 (2017)|
|2017||Ahmed KI, 'Resilient Housing Reconstruction in the Developing World', Urban Planning for Disaster Recovery, Butterworth-Heinemann: Elsevier, Kidlington, Oxford 171-188 (2017) [B1]|
Ireton G, Ahmed I, 'Rebuilding lessons from bushfire-affected communities in Victoria, Australia', Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery 11-21 (2017)
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Graham Marsh, Iftekhar Ahmed, Martin Mulligan, Jenny Donovan and Steve Barton; individual chapters, the contributors. After the 2009 ¿Black ... [more]
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Graham Marsh, Iftekhar Ahmed, Martin Mulligan, Jenny Donovan and Steve Barton; individual chapters, the contributors. After the 2009 ¿Black Saturday¿ bushfires in Australia, the Victorian Government provided a range of rebuilding support. Quick rebuilding of housing was assumed to be the priority, but many people did not desire to rebuild or were not prepared for this. Thus ¿holding the space¿, enabling people to find suitable short-term accommodation, included building temporary villages and other forms of interim assistance. This experience points to a number of lessons indicating that policy makers and professionals should explore a range of housing options that are quick to build, offer a good quality of life, are affordable for most, and have design flexibility for future use.
Marsh G, Ahmed I, Mulligan M, Donovan J, Barton S, 'Conclusions: Emerging lessons on community engagement in post-disaster recovery', Community Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery 204-213 (2017)
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Graham Marsh, Iftekhar Ahmed, Martin Mulligan, Jenny Donovan and Steve Barton; individual chapters, the contributors. In concluding this boo... [more]
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Graham Marsh, Iftekhar Ahmed, Martin Mulligan, Jenny Donovan and Steve Barton; individual chapters, the contributors. In concluding this book, our aim is to highlight the fact that there is no ¿one size fits all¿ approach to post-disaster/conflict community engagement in effective reconstruction and social recovery. Every disaster has different causes and consequences and every community is different. Every nation has differing methods of responding and the resources available to them will vary, as do the institutional structures. The levels of preparedness, funding and insurance available will also vary, with richer countries clearly being better able to cope financially with a disaster than poorer ones. It is often the poorest countries which suffer the most damage, as was the case following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The efficacy of humanitarian aid will face challenges in countries that do not have the resources to distribute aid effectively or corruption may interfere with how it is distributed. We decided to create this book because we know that everyone with a professional or scholarly interest in effective reconstruction and recovery can learn a lot from reflections on diverse practical experiences. However, we also understood that effective reconstruction and recovery work needs to take into account particular physical, social, cultural and political contexts within which the work is taking place. Climate change impacts and increasing global tensions are making disaster and conflict recovery work even more important, and the negative consequences of inappropriate or wasteful practices are multiplying. We conclude as we began, by stressing that good practice must start with detailed situation analysis and we can only hope to depict underlying principles rather than uniform models and approaches. We do not intend to say, therefore, that this or that method of rebuilding a shattered community is best. Each situation demands its own well-thought-out, informed and creative response. However, we have noticed several themes emerging from the various studies in this book that we hope the reader may find interesting, and with which those responsible for postdisaster or post-conflict resolution may find resonance.
|Show 16 more chapters|
Journal article (41 outputs)
Ahmed KI, Gajendran T, Brewer G, Maund K, Von Meding J, MacKee J, 'Compliance to Building Codes for Disaster Resilience: Bangladesh and Nepal', Procedia Engineering, 212 986-993 (2018)
|2017||Ahmed KI, Johnson G, 'A Diagnosis of Urban Poor Housing in Vietnam', Open House International, 42 97-105 (2017) [C1]|
Ahmed KI, 'Housing and Resilience: Case Studies from the Cook Islands', International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 7 489-500 (2016) [C1]
Ahmed I, Charlesworth ER, 'An evaluation framework for assessing resilience of post-disaster housing', International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 6 300-312 (2015) [C1]
© 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose ¿ The purpose of this paper is to discuss the utility of a tool for assessing resilience of housing. After disasters, maximum res... [more]
© 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose ¿ The purpose of this paper is to discuss the utility of a tool for assessing resilience of housing. After disasters, maximum resources are often allocated for housing reconstruction, and most initiatives on disaster resilient housing have arisen after disasters. With widespread claims by agencies of having ¿built back better¿, it is important to establish an evaluation framework that allows understanding to what extent resilience has been successfully achieved in such housing projects. This paper discusses such a tool developed by the authors. Design/methodology/approach ¿ In a study commissioned by the Australian Shelter Reference Group, the authors have developed an evaluation tool for assessing resilience in housing and tested it in several housing reconstruction projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Various evaluation frameworks were reviewed to develop the tool. An approach derived from the log frame was adapted in alignment with other key approaches. The tool is practical and targeted for agency staff involved in housing projects, evaluators of housing reconstruction projects and communities to assess their housing in terms of resilience. It comprises three main stages of an assessment process with guided activities at each stage. Findings ¿ The tool was tested in the Cook Islands and Sri Lanka, and the key findings of the test assessments are presented to demonstrate the prospects of the tool. While the case study projects all indicated achievement of a level of resilience, problems were evident in terms of designs issues and external factors. Originality/value ¿ Such a tool has the potential to be used more widely through advocacy to prioritise resilience in post-disaster housing reconstruction.
Ahmed I, 'Factors in building resilience in urban slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh', 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BUILDING RESILIENCE, INCORPORATING THE 3RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE ANDROID DISASTER RESILIENCE NETWORK, 18 745-753 (2014)
|2014||Ahmed I, Charlesworth E, 'Post-disaster housing reconstruction to enable resilient communities', Open House International, 39 2-6 (2014)|
Ireton G, Ahmed I, Charlesworth E, 'Reflections on residential rebuilding after the Victorian black saturday bushfires', Open House International, 39 70-76 (2014) [C1]
After the catastrophic 2009 bushfires in the state of Victoria, Australia, the State Government provided information and advice, short-term and temporary accommodation as well as ... [more]
After the catastrophic 2009 bushfires in the state of Victoria, Australia, the State Government provided information and advice, short-term and temporary accommodation as well as financial assistance to bushfire-affected communities. A tension developed between quickly rebuilding housing and re-establishing known social and economic networks versus a slower and more deliberative process that focuses on long-term community outcomes. Whilst there was a widespread assumption that quick rebuilding would be beneficial, resulting in immediate pressure to do so, it became evident that many people were not prepared to, or even did not want to rebuild. Thus it became important to provide time and support for people to consider their options away from the immediate pressures to rebuild that are often inherent in post-disaster recovery processes. This became known as "holding the space" and included the introduction of interim supports such as building temporary villages and other supports which enable people to achieve appropriate interim accommodation without having to rebuild immediately. However, even two years after the bushfires a significant proportion of people remained undecided whether they wanted to rebuild or not. The post-bushfire experience pointed to a number of lessons including the importance of appropriate timing of post-disaster activities, careful targeting of financial assistance, need for developing better and lower cost interim housing options and pre-impact planning. Given the complex nature of rebuilding following a disaster, design professionals should focus not just on the final house, but also look at housing options that blur the distinction between temporary and permanent. Their designs should be quick to build, offer a good quality of life, be affordable for most and be flexible in design for future use.
O'Brien D, Ahmed I, 'Global and regional paradigms of reconstruction housing in Banda aceh', Open House International, 39 37-46 (2014) [C1]
This paper draws on research conducted after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, where more than 100,000 houses were built by various agencies followi... [more]
This paper draws on research conducted after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, where more than 100,000 houses were built by various agencies following the massive disaster. The research reveals that the residents in Aceh rarely see their reconstruction houses as 'complete' and modify these houses to suit their personal needs and aspirations. The relationships between the global and regional forces that drive reconstruction agency housing procurement and production are explored, and compared with the outcomes of user-initiated modifications to the houses. From the hundreds of houses reviewed, here four houses are discussed in detail, built by the Asian Development Bank, representing a global paradigm, and Bank Mandiri, representing a regional paradigm. These houses were modified and extended to varying degrees by their residents, exemplifying the ways in which reconstruction agencies, perhaps inadvertently, empowered residents by enabling them to improve their own housing. The outcomes of this transformation process underscore the advantages of a hybrid between global and regional styles, and the desire of the reconstruction housing residents to recapture some of the local housing culture and reflect regional housing characteristics.
Islam H, Jollands M, Setunge S, Ahmed I, Haque N, 'Life cycle assessment and life cycle cost implications of wall assemblages designs', Energy and Buildings, 84 33-45 (2014) [C1]
This paper describes the life cycle assessment and life cycle cost analysis of a typical Australian house designs. It evaluates the effect of selected alternative wall assemblages... [more]
This paper describes the life cycle assessment and life cycle cost analysis of a typical Australian house designs. It evaluates the effect of selected alternative wall assemblages on environmental impacts and life cycle cost over the various life stages of buildings (i.e. construction, operations, maintenance and final disposal). A case study house was used as the base case for all the alternative wall assemblage designs. This paper also reports on alternative wall assemblage designs that were produced with variations in external wall cladding, insulation type and thickness, air gap thickness and position. Each design was varied such that it achieved a chosen star rating. Five exterior wall claddings were selected, typical of the Australian building industry. These claddings were brick, autoclave aerated concrete block, fibro-cement sheet, pine saw logs and weatherboard. The results were analyzed for the whole building on a whole life cycle basis in terms of economic and environmental impact. The implications of life cycle environmental impacts and life cycle costs were evaluated and the optimum assemblage design is reported using optimization algorithm. A set of best solution is found depending on factors: the model assumptions, range of environmental and economic indicators considered, and the chosen quantitative criteria.
Ahmed I, Johnson G, 'Urban safety and poverty in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Understanding the structural and institutional linkages', Australian Planner, 51 272-280 (2014) [C1]
Poverty and crime are significant problems in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of Dhaka's urban poor are forced to reside in informal settlements, which are typically characterised as... [more]
Poverty and crime are significant problems in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of Dhaka's urban poor are forced to reside in informal settlements, which are typically characterised as 'breeding grounds of evil'. Getting rid of informal settlements is widely seen as the best way of reducing crime. This paper argues this characterisation is misleading and that the processes that generate and perpetuate crime and safety issues in Dhaka are largely external to informal settlements. Drawing on interviews with residents of informal settlements as well as key stakeholders in government and non-government services, this paper suggests that crime and insecurity are perpetuated through a top-down process driven by the powerful through a chain of networks and institutional linkages that capitalise on the extreme vulnerability of the urban poor who live in informal settlements. The findings indicate that until attention is focused on the structural and institutional factors that support these networks, the opportunity for broader, sustainable social change in Dhaka is limited. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
McEvoy D, Ahmed I, Trundle A, Sang LT, Diem NN, Suu LTT, et al., 'In support of urban adaptation: a participatory assessment process for secondary cities in Vietnam and Bangladesh', Climate and Development, 6 205-215 (2014) [C1]
Vietnam and Bangladesh are countries already impacted by weather-related extreme events. Scientific modelling projections indicate that climate change, and changes to climate vari... [more]
Vietnam and Bangladesh are countries already impacted by weather-related extreme events. Scientific modelling projections indicate that climate change, and changes to climate variability, will increase risks for both countries in the future. Targeting this challenging contemporary agenda, this paper reflects on the lessons learned from a collaborative research project, funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research, which was carried out jointly in the Vietnamese city of Hu¿ and the Bangladeshi city of Satkhira. The focus on secondary cities was intentional as they face unique challenges - a combination of rapid growth and development, adverse climate-related impacts, and in many cases less institutional adaptive capacity than their primary city counterparts. Whilst numerous assessment tool kits already exist, these have typically been developed for rural or natural resource contexts. Therefore, the objective of this action research activity was to develop a flexible suite of participatory assessment tools and methodologies that were refined specifically for the urban context; as well as being easy to use by local practitioners at the city and neighbourhood scales. This paper summarizes the research and stakeholder engagement activity that was carried out before presenting the main findings from each of the case study cities (detailing both climate-related risks and potential adaptation options). This analysis is further extended to include a reflective critique of the assessment process, a comparative analysis of the activity carried out in the two case studies, and the 'South-South' learning process that occurred between project partners. Key findings are then distilled to put forward recommendations in support of climate change assessment activity in secondary cities across the Asia-Pacific region. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
Ahmed I, McEvoy D, 'Post-tsunami resettlement in Sri Lanka and India: Site planning, infrastructure and services', International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 5 53-65 (2014) [C1]
Purpose: After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, major resettlement programmes were implemented in the affected countries including Sri Lanka and India. New settlements were built fr... [more]
Purpose: After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, major resettlement programmes were implemented in the affected countries including Sri Lanka and India. New settlements were built from scratch on vacant land, which consisted of building new houses and provision of infrastructure and services. Some of these programmes in Sri Lanka and India were reviewed in an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research and this paper presents and analyses some of the findings of the research. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on interviews of residents and representatives of agencies involved in planning and implementing the resettlement programmes, and on-site observations. The investigation examined critical aspects of settlement development including site planning, transport, drainage, water supply, sanitation, waste management and security. Findings: Very little site planning guidelines were available specifically for resettlement programmes; in both the case study countries, general planning guidelines were applied. Provision and management of infrastructure and services presents great challenges in developing countries as high capital investment and good technical skills for design, implementation and maintenance are required. Some of the resettlement schemes had the advantage of being centrally located and hence had access to schools, health centres and other facilities. However, others were in isolated locations and beneficiaries faced problems in accessing basic facilities. Drainage was a problem - most schemes did not have any surface drainage plan; low areas had not been elevated, slopes not levelled, and land not compacted before construction. Electricity and water supply had been provided in all the programmes, but conditions and quality varied. In many of the schemes, sanitation presented a problem. However, in Chennai, the sewage system worked well and this was one achievement all interview respondents praised. Solid waste management and security posed additional problems. Originality/value: In the global context of increasing frequency and intensity of disasters due to climate change, adequate planning and implementation of reconstruction and resettlement programmes has become more important than ever. In this regard, the lessons gained in this paper should be of value and can provide guidance to post-disaster resettlement programmes in developing countries. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Usamah M, Handmer J, Mitchell D, Ahmed I, 'Can the vulnerable be resilient? Co-existence of vulnerability and disaster resilience: Informal settlements in the Philippines', International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 10 178-189 (2014) [C1]
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. This paper explores the relationship between vulnerability and resilience in the context of informal settlements, using a case study of two barangays in a rur... [more]
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. This paper explores the relationship between vulnerability and resilience in the context of informal settlements, using a case study of two barangays in a rural province in the Philippines. Central to the discussion in this paper is whether and how vulnerability and resilience can exist simultaneously. The authors first identify community vulnerability, which is explored through geographical, economic, and physical vulnerability. Another element involves land-related vulnerability characterised by unsustainable land use, poor urban planning, non-existence of building codes and weak land administration. Approximately sixty per cent of all properties in the case study areas are held in informal land tenures. Many of these informal settlers have established houses on land with a high hazard risk - for example, adjacent to rivers, on disused railway reserves and along road corridors. The result is they face the threat of eviction, and may have difficulty returning to their land after disasters.Qualitative analysis of households in the case study areas revealed that the strength of social relationships helps to reduce the vulnerability of the communities. A paradoxical relationship between vulnerability and resilience is evident. Strong community perceptions of their level of resilience to the impacts of disasters are supported by the social domains of the community. They have inbuilt resilience resulting from the perception of disasters as part of life, strong social bonds and government awareness of the validity of the informal settlements.
Cairns G, Ahmed I, Mullett J, Wright G, 'Scenario method and stakeholder engagement: Critical reflections on a climate change scenarios case study', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 80 1-10 (2013) [C1]
Scenario method is presented in the literature as a means for engaging heterogeneous stakeholder groups to explore climate change futures and to inform policy and planning for ada... [more]
Scenario method is presented in the literature as a means for engaging heterogeneous stakeholder groups to explore climate change futures and to inform policy and planning for adaptation responses. We discuss a case study project investigating possible interactions between climate change impacts and a proposed major port expansion in Australia. The study engaged participants from the private sector, government and environmental groups, with input from college students from the local area. Semi-structured interviews and a scenario workshop were employed, creating individual space for expression of ideas, then a collaborative space for sharing these, exploring differences of perception and meaning, and developing a set of possible and plausible scenarios. Whilst the workshop resulted in consensus on key issues and proposed actions, intended to inform policy formation and planning, there was an unforeseen lack of short term follow up and of the groups working more closely together. We discuss the reasons for this through reflective critical analysis of both our own process and of contingent factors in the wider contextual environment. We conclude that the basic scenario approach is valuable, but does not itself act as a catalyst for effecting change when multiple agencies, interests and agendas and strong contingent factors are present. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Ahmed I, 'The courtyard in rural homesteads of Bangladesh', Vernacular Architecture, 43 47-57 (2012) [C1]
In rural settlements of the floodplains in Bangladesh, an intrinsic element is the homestead. The homestead layout is defined by the courtyard, formed by the arrangement of dwelli... [more]
In rural settlements of the floodplains in Bangladesh, an intrinsic element is the homestead. The homestead layout is defined by the courtyard, formed by the arrangement of dwelling units and ancillary buildings around a rectangular open space. The courtyard has important physical and functional characteristics derived from local climatic requirements and living patterns. However, particularly in this predominantly Muslim society, the cultural norm of maintaining women's privacy is an important factor behind the development of this archetypal space. Nonetheless, other ethnic communities in the floodplains also often have courtyards, suggesting that it is a regional archetype. The archetypal courtyard is now subject to transformation due to social, economic and environmental changes. If this trend continues, it would signal the loss of an important and long-lasting regional expression that has resulted from the blending of culture, climate and nature. © The Vernacular Architecture Group 2012.
McEvoy D, Ahmed I, Mullett J, 'The impact of the 2009 heat wave on Melbourne's critical infrastructure', Local Environment, 17 783-796 (2012) [C1]
The impact of the extreme heat wave that affected Melbourne, Australia, in two distinct phases in January and February 2009 was severe, with 374 (heat) and 173 (bushfire) excess d... [more]
The impact of the extreme heat wave that affected Melbourne, Australia, in two distinct phases in January and February 2009 was severe, with 374 (heat) and 173 (bushfire) excess deaths. Whilst the human health issues have been covered in detail in policy and academic arenas, much less attention has been paid to the adverse impacts on urban infrastructure. Analysis of this event, underpinned by participatory actor-based research, has shown that the impacts were experienced disproportionately across different infrastructure types. For water, telecommunications and airports, the impacts were relatively minor and the impact on rail transport and roads (and to a lesser extent, seaports) was of moderate significance, whereas research findings indicate that the electricity sector was found to be the most vulnerable. This paper focuses on the sectors that were worst impacted: electricity, rail and road transport. Commentary identifies the direct and indirect impacts of the heat event, including associated cascading effects, as well as considering actual and potential adaptation responses both before and after the event. Concluding, the authors reflect on the implications of the heat wave for urban resilience, emphasising the crucial importance of understanding the urban environment as a complex and interconnected system. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Mulligan M, Ahmed I, Shaw J, Mercer D, Nadarajah Y, 'Lessons for long-term social recovery following the 2004 tsunami: Community, livelihoods, tourism and housing', Environmental Hazards, 11 38-51 (2012)
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 galvanized world attention like no other natural disaster before. Unprecedented amounts of aid were given and a record number of international aid... [more]
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 galvanized world attention like no other natural disaster before. Unprecedented amounts of aid were given and a record number of international aid agencies were involved in relief and recovery operations. Major reviews of the response to the disaster have suggested that the immediate relief effort was better than expected. However, weaknesses in the longer term recovery work were identified within months of the disaster and yet the same weaknesses were being confirmed four and five years later. Even though many studies have been published on the tsunami disaster there are still many lessons to be learnt, particularly in relation to social recovery as distinct from the restoration of destroyed or damaged infrastructure. This paper presents an overview of the findings of a study that was conducted over a period of four years across five different tsunami-affected local areas of Sri Lanka and southern India. The study focused on lessons to be learnt in relation to rebuilding community, restoring livelihoods, recreating an appropriate tourism industry and providing relevant housing and planned settlements for disaster survivors. The paper argues that 'build back better' is possible, but only if 'asset replacement' strategies are replaced by integrated physical and social planning to address local needs in culturally appropriate ways. Much of what the authors advocate may seem to be little more than 'common sense' and many of our findings echo those of many other post-tsunami evaluations. Yet patient and well-integrated approaches to disaster recovery are all too rare in a world that is experiencing so many natural disasters. Because the 2004 tsunami evoked an unprecedented global response it is important to ensure that the lessons of the recovery effort are clearly learnt and this paper aims to convert research findings into a clear strategy for long-term social recovery. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Ahmed I, 'Lifestyle and affordability choices in traditional housing of old Dhaka', Open House International, 36 74-84 (2011) [C1]
Affordability and lifestyle choices in housing are critical to meet basic human needs for shelter, security and wellbeing. The meaning of a house for a particular group of people ... [more]
Affordability and lifestyle choices in housing are critical to meet basic human needs for shelter, security and wellbeing. The meaning of a house for a particular group of people and what is 'affordable' for a particular community is the critical issue. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has greater population density and rate of expansion compared to almost any other mega cities of Asia. The historic core of the city known as old Dhaka is a combination of several traditional neighborhoods. Houses in these traditional neighborhoods are not only places to live, rather an integral unit of a social system, having a good mix of place of work and individual expression in living. They also show flexibility and adaptability (with more scope for personalization and individual life style choices) compared to the contemporary housing stock. One of the success factors in these traditional houses is the healthy mix of the income ranges to avoid a ghetto effect of low cost housing. The recent rapid urbanization has led to a discontinuity of the traditional housing form of old Dhaka, leading to a disintegration of the mix of lifestyle choices and affordability. Following popular market trends, they are often replaced by housing blocks in a higher density ignoring the need for a diverse mix. This paper studies the traditional housing of old Dhaka with two case study neighborhoods. Several elements of housing like the common price, materials and construction, space layout, scale, social space, facades, street interface, etc are selected for a qualitative study. Local residents interview, archival records, maps, Plans, figure-ground, aerial images are used to analyze, identify and demonstrate the elements that made them socio-culturally sustainable and affordable for the community. With the analysis, lessons from the traditional housing form that may contribute to the new housing in Dhaka are identified.
Ahmed I, 'An overview of post-disaster permanent housing reconstruction in developing countries', International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 2 148-164 (2011) [C1]
Purpose: A set of guidelines widely agreed by the international humanitarian aid community, such as the Sphere Handbook, is currently lacking for permanent housing reconstruction ... [more]
Purpose: A set of guidelines widely agreed by the international humanitarian aid community, such as the Sphere Handbook, is currently lacking for permanent housing reconstruction in developing countries. The paper aims to address this gap by reviewing the field and presenting a set of selected examples that offer lessons for informing, developing and promoting wider good practice. Design/methodology/approach: An extensive literature review on post-disaster housing reconstruction in developing countries pointed to the significant impacts of disasters on housing in developing countries and the great challenges involved in the reconstruction process; it also allowed identifying efforts at framing good practice guidelines by humanitarian and other agencies. Findings: The paper finds that, while the review largely indicated the major challenges and shortcomings in the field, it also allowed identifying some examples of good practice and the reasons for their effectiveness. Originality/value: As argued here, there are a number of independent guidelines for post-disaster reconstruction in developing countries, but hardly any which are widely endorsed and can be followed by humanitarian agencies. The paper therefore draws together the key issues and examples of good practice as a basis for informing the development of guidelines. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Ahmed I, Sager J, Cuong LV, 'Sustainable low-income urban housing in Vietnam: Context and strategies', Open House International, 35 56-65 (2010)
This paper presents concepts important for understanding the potential of sustainable low-income housing in Vietnam, with a focus on key environmental, socio-economic, and cultura... [more]
This paper presents concepts important for understanding the potential of sustainable low-income housing in Vietnam, with a focus on key environmental, socio-economic, and cultural dimensions that bear on its housing sector. It examines challenges for sustainable urban development in Hanoi and HCMC, Vietnam's two main cities. Recognising the current challenges in balancing affordability and sustainability, the study explores Vietnam's lack of adequate and affordable housing and the problem of its urban slums. Synergistic strategies suitable for the Vietnamese context are then suggested for sustainable low-income housing in these two cities.
Ahmed I, 'Crisis of natural building materials and institutionalised self-help housing: the case of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh', Habitat International, 22 355-374 (1998)
Traditional rural housing is largely based on the use of locally available natural resources as prime building materials, usually in a process of self-help building undertaken by ... [more]
Traditional rural housing is largely based on the use of locally available natural resources as prime building materials, usually in a process of self-help building undertaken by the community. Such housing is well adopted to a natural environment with widely available resources, and supports people's direct involvement in the construction of their dwellings. However, the advent of a cash economy and current scarcity of natural resources has greatly affected the self-help building process. In rural Bangladesh, affluent households are shifting to manufactured materials and skilled builders, and the quality of housing of low-income households is declining. For the latter, self-help is the only option, and recognition of this fact and of the increasing decline in the quality of their housing has prompted institutional intervention. This paper discusses the Grameen Bank's rural housing programme in Bangladesh which provides loans for manufactured building components for low-income rural households to build houses on a self-help basis. A review of this programme indicates some of its strengths and shortcomings in the context of scarcity of natural building materials and widespread poverty.
|Show 38 more journal articles|
Review (2 outputs)
|2010||Ahmed KI, Fien J, 'Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (2010)|
|1997||Ahmed KI, 'Bangladesh; Bengalee; Namoshudra; Kitchen (1997)|
Conference (27 outputs)
Ahmed KI, Gajendran T, Brewer G, Maund K, Von Meding J, MacKee J, 'Compliance to Building Codes for Disaster Resilience: Bangladesh and Nepal', Procedia Engineering (2018) [E1]
Karunaratne TLW, Ahmed KI, Jayawickrama TS, Maund K, Sandanayake YG, Gajendran T, 'An Investigation into Disaster Management Practices in Relation to Recent Disaster Events in Sri Lanka', Proceedings of the 10thInternational Conference of Faculty of Architecture Research Unit (FARU), University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, (Vol. 02), Wadduwa, Sri Lanka (2017)
|2017||Ahmed KI, O'Brien D, 'Dynamics of the Urban Built Environment in Vietnam', Hong Kong (2017)|
Ahmed I, 'Building Resilience of Urban Slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh', Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences (2016) [E1]
|2016||Ahmed KI, 'Safety and Security in Slum Upgrading Initiatives: The Case of LPUPAP, Bangladesh', Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Building Resilience, Auckland, NZ (2016) [E1]|
|Show 24 more conferences|
Other (1 outputs)
Von Meding JK, Shrestha H, Kabir H, Ahmed K, 'Nepal earthquake reconstruction won¿t succeed until the vulnerability of survivors is addressed', The Conversation (2017)
Report (34 outputs)
|2016||Ahmed KI, 'Drought Risk Assessment in the Province of Balochistan, Pakistan', 87 (2016)|
|2015||Ahmed KI, 'Housing Technical Report for the Feasibility Study and Proposal Writing for Strengthening National Adaptive Capacity through Climate Resilient Rural Housing in Coastal Bangladesh', United Nations Development Programme, 50 (2015)|
|2014||Ahmed KI, 'Bushfires and Housing: A Housing Reference Tool for At-Risk Communities', RMIT, 50 (2014)|
|Show 31 more reports|
Thesis / Dissertation (3 outputs)
|1999||Ahmed KI, A micro-level view of low-income rural housing in Bangladesh, Oxford Brooke University (1999)|
|1991||Ahmed KI, Up to the waist in mud: the assessment and application of earth-derivative architecture in rural Bangladesh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1991)|
|1986||Ahmed KI, Institutional and educational complex, Patuakhali, Bangladesh, Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur (1986)|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||4|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20174 grants / $188,239
Critical Factors for Post-Disaster Educational Continuity in Urban Flood Impacts in South and South East Asia$92,463
Funding body: Save the Children
|Funding body||Save the Children|
|Project Team||Doctor Jason Von Meding, Doctor Amanda Howard, Doctor Ifte Ahmed, Professor Humayun Kabir, Dr Hai Nam, Dr Indrajit Pal|
|Type Of Funding||C3212 - International Not for profit|
Understanding the opportunities and challenges of compliance to safe building codes for disaster resilience in South Asia - the cases of Bangladesh and Nepal$53,776
Funding body: Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)
|Funding body||Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)|
|Project Team||Doctor Ifte Ahmed, Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran, Doctor Kim Maund, Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Doctor Jason Von Meding, Professor Humayun Kabir, Mohammed Faruk, Hari Shrestha, Mr Nagendra Sitaula|
|Scheme||Collaborative Regional Research Programme|
|Type Of Funding||C3211 - International For profit|
Funding body: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
|Funding body||Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Project Team||Doctor Sittimont Kanjanabootra, Doctor Jason Von Meding, Doctor Helen Giggins, Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran, Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Associate Professor Jamie MacKee, Doctor Ifte Ahmed, Mr Ali Papzan, Dr Jeffery Walters, Professor Jose Rubens Morato Leite, Dr Holmes Julian Paez Martinez|
|Scheme||Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)|
|Type Of Funding||C2110 - Aust Commonwealth - Own Purpose|
Funding body: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
|Funding body||Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Project Team||Doctor Ifte Ahmed, Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Doctor Helen Giggins, Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran|
|Scheme||Australian National Commission for UNESCO Grant|
|Type Of Funding||C2110 - Aust Commonwealth - Own Purpose|
Number of supervisions
Total current UON EFTSL
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2017||PhD||Context Responsive Water Urbanism: Exploring Indigenous Knowledge for Water Resource Management in Bangladesh||PhD (Architecture), Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||PhD||Retrofitting Methods and Modelling Tools for Enhanced Energy Efficiency and Preservation of Historic Buildings in Australia||PhD (Architecture), Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||PhD||Building Social Flood Resilience Through Community Preparedness Case of Kan Watershed, Tehran, Iran and Hunter Region, NSW, Australia||PhD (Disaster Management), Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.
|Country||Count of Publications|
August 28, 2017
December 19, 2016