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Informal settlement communities in Fiji and Indonesia co-design water-sensitive upgrading plans under RISE

4 October 2017

A team from MADA led by Professor Diego Ramirez-Lovering, has just returned from Suva, Fiji after implementing the first co-design workshop under the global, interdisciplinary Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE)program.

Adopting the Water Sensitive Cities approach, RISE hopes to advance health and well-being across 24 informal settlements in Fiji and Indonesia, establishing water services and revitalising the environment. MADA is leading the Design and Engagement component, engaging communities in a co-design process to integrate nature-based water management solutions into buildings and landscapes.

Together with Professor Tony Wong, Peter Breen and Kerrie Burge from the CRC for Water Sensitive CitiesMichaela Prescott, Monash Research Fellow; and Matthew French, RISE Program Manager from the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), the team undertook a co-design workshop with assistance from University of the South Pacific (USP) students.

“It was fantastic to see the USP students’ enthusiasm, whose participation went a long way to ensuring the program received full community support,” said Professor Ramirez-Lovering.

Camari Koto from USP was very positive about the students’ participation, highlighting the experience they gained through working with the RISE team, while being able to contribute their local knowledge.

"Involving the USP students in the workshop gave them a chance to work with informal settlement residents and experience first-hand the challenges of working in complex environments. The students played a key role in undertaking the housing surveys and co-design to get the community’s visions and ideas of how to create a safer neighbourhood,” said Ms Koto.

This followed the first co-design workshop in Makassar, Indonesia in early September. In December, the RISE team will be heading back to Indonesia and Fiji to present detailed design to the communities, local leaders and governments before commencing construction in early 2018.

Children's Co-Design in Makassar

Children's drawing activity in Makassar, Indonesia

Women participating in co-design in Suva

Women participating in co-design in Suva, Fiji