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Nature Based Solutions for informal settlements in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands

Climate change has affected cities around the world in unprecedented ways in that it alters the ways of living of city inhabitants in coping with both everyday risks and climate risks. The disproportionate impact of climate change which tends to be [concentrated] in informal settlements.These sites are often built in hazardous locations and suffer from infrastructure deficit due to fragmented governance.Over-reliance on grey infrastructure in mitigating climate risk instead of nature-based solutions (NbS) by the state government can be unsustainable in the long run.

Based on our preliminary systematic literature review, the motivation for deploying nature-based solutions in informal settlements upgrading projects is primarily for aesthetic purposes and limited evidence found on the implementation of NbS as a means for mitigating climate risks. By taking into account the everyday risks and the challenging environment that informal dwellers are exposed to, we seek to address this gap by exploring the potentiality of NbS in building climate resilience in informal settlements upgrading projects. 

Research questions/goals


Using the conceptual triad of climate resilience, informal settlement upgrading and green infrastructure as an entry point, we aim to :

  • Examine how many informal settlements upgradings in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands have incorporated nature-based solutions as part of the projects.

  • Analyse the types of nature-based solutions that are appropriate for informal settlements -including the ecosystem services and disservices

  • De-construct the role of climate governance and public participation for building climate resilience in informal settlements 

Project leads: Hanna A Rauf and Erich Wolff

Call for Collaborators: 

We are looking for collaborators who are working on the topic of informal settlement upgrading in the context of Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. We are looking forward to co-design urban intervention with various stakeholders - community-led organisations, NGOs,academic institutions, researchers and government agencies. 

  • Participatory action research for monitoring and evaluation project on nature-based solutions in informal settlements 

  • Academic publication

  • Developing teaching module

  • Capacity building and training on assessing ecosystem services and disservices