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Outline Summary Introduction Background Information

- Area

- Community Project Outline Existing Site Conditions Participatory Design Strategy Design Workshop

- General Aims and Objectives

- Outcome

- Design Workshop Schedule

Maintenance and Management Users Proposed Design Construction Drawings Costing Report

Outline Summary

For the past four months, SAFE (Simple Action For the Environment) has been working closely with a community in a slum area of Dinajpur called Jorgen Babu Mart. To date we have managed to build one of ten houses, proposed for the area, and have subsequently identified a need for a community space that can be used and enjoyed by all. This report outlines a feasibility study and proposed design for the new community centre. It states why there is a need for such a facility, who would use it and how it would be mananaged and maintained in the future. Currently there are no community centres in the area, so this would be a pilot project that could be used to influence other cemtres in the future. We have put together a tentative budget of 500,000Tk and ask if you would fund this proposal.


This report outlines a feasibility study for a community centre building located in a slum area of Dinajpur called Jorgen Babu Mart. For the past four months, the community of Jorgen Babu Mart has been actively involved in the design and subsequent construction of one of ten new low cost houses, proposed for the area. The first house was a great success and it is hoped that the remaining nine houses will be built in the near future. Currently there is a lack of community facilities and/or space for communal gathering. As part of the future ambitions of the people, a space to carry out weddings, funerals, festivals, social development programmes, and women empowerment groups is hoped for. Further to this, we have identified that a better ventilated and day lit space is in great need for two local school groups that run in this area. We have consciously considered all of the community’s needs in the design of Jorgen Baby Mart’s new community centre. Despite varied backgrounds, a strong sense of cohesion can be felt within the community. A Community Development Committee (CDC) set up by UPPRP is actively involved within the area. Due to a lack of space, the residents live in very small plots and have no sheltered communal space. The communal space that they do have is currently used by children as a playing field, by women to dry poppadoms and by men to repair jute sacks. A community centre that would be run, maintained and utilised by the entire community is in great need. SAFE believes that a participatory approach is essential in teaching local householders and builders, good, appropriate building materials and techniques. This method gains trust and builds relationships between the community and active NGO’s, ensuring a successful and worthy outcome. The use of natural, local material where possible, is not only important environmentally but ensures the overall build cost is kept to a minimum. The use of appropriate building materials and the implementation of good building techniques extend the lifespan of the building and will promote better construction methods in the future. If funding can be secured, this project will be the first of its kind in Dinajpur. It is hoped that the success of the project will result in more like it being built in other areas throughout the district.



Area Jorgen Babu Mart is an area of informal housing situated approximately 2km from the centre of Dinajpur town. Originally the land belonged to Jorgen Babu, a Hindu land owner who emigrated to India during the partition of India and the former East Pakistan. Over 500 families currently live on this land, and although they do not possess formal title deeds, the land is considered in private ownership, with many of the residents having built permanent or ‘paaka’ buildings. This pilot study has focussed on one section of Jorgen Babu Mart, inhabited by approximately fifty families. The land used to be waterlogged and uninhabitable but was reclaimed approximately seven years ago by the NGO; CARE. The land was primarily used to resettle families who had previously been evicted from a nearby slum area that belonged to the Bangladesh Railways.

The Community The people who make up this area of Jorgen Babu Mart are both Hindu and Muslim, and have come from many different backgrounds though most moved to Dinajpur due to economic reasons. They are involved in many different occupations from TV repair men, to day labourers, to rickshaw pullers, earning between Tk.100-250 per day. Although some women work outside the area, most stay at home but generate extra income through home based activities such as poppadom rolling and handicraft production.


In line with SAFE’s ethos, the community of Jorgen Babu Mart have been actively involved throughout the entire process. The design team along with SAFE employees have met with the community on a number of occasions to gather as much information as possible and gain the trust and support of the residents. On each occasion, the participants have been able to express their opinions on a number of aspects including issues such as maintenance and general day to day running of the community centre once complete. The design process has been undertaken in conjunction with the community and local builders. This participatory approach is essential in ensuring that the proposed design meets the requirements of the local community and a strong sense of ownership is instilled within them. It is hoped that this will ensure the building is used, looked after and maintained by the community. The process we have undertaken for this project is outlined below: 1. Initial meetings: Primarily with the CDC and members of the community to explain the project’s aims and objectives. 2. Study: Indentify and survey the chosen site within Jorgen Babu Mart. 3. Design workshop: A two day workshop attended by eight members of the community, four CDC members, UNDP Representative, Work Commissioner and facilitated by the SAFE team and two architecture students from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland). 4. Subsequent meeting: Principally with the CDC and members of the community to finalise the maintenance and management strategy for the proposed community centre. 5. Proposed design: Appropriate improvements were selected and the design options merged to create the final design proposal.

6. Detailed design and costing report: Prepared by architecture students from the University of Strathclyde in conjunction with SAFE staff. Sketch site plan

EXISTING SITE CONDITIONS The chosen site for the new community centre is located on the opposite side of the road to the houses of Jorgen Babu Mart. The land is owned by the community but is currently vacant, being used only to store two or three rickshaws. The site was put forward by the community and agreed by the design team. The site is close to the entrance to the slum making it visible to all who enter and leave Jorgen Babu Mart. On the north boundary, sits the rear wall of the market stalls that face onto the main road. This red brick wall reaches a height of approx 5m or 16ft. Its roof is constructed using bamboo and is covered with sheets of corrugated iron. On the south side sits the house of Mr Shudja. This house is masonry construction with plaster finish. Mr Shudja has expressed his delight at the prospect of having the new community centre next door. The road lines the east boundary and beyond sits the linear housing plots of Jorgen Babu Mart. A small brick wall encloses the site to the west. Site SlumPanorama houses.

Due to the restrictions in the size of the site (984ft2) the building requires two floors to meet the needs of the community. The community have expressed the need for one large room with secondary accommodation and facilities including an administration office, meeting room, kitchen, tube-well and W.C. The site is long and narrow and requires careful planning to maximise its full potential. A double story building will not only meet the needs of the community spatially but is also contextually appropriate with regards to the surrounding buildings. Currently the existing infrastructure is sound with communal latrines and electricity supply to most of the plots. However, the drainage system is inadequate and the area is regularly flooded during the monsoon season. It is essential that a maintenance strategy is arranged as part of the overall approach to ensure continued upkeep of the finished building. Such a strategy is outlined in an upcoming chapter. First of the ten houses to be built by SAFE.

Street Condition

SAFE’s first demonstration house


A participatory approach has been used throughout the design of the community centre to ensure the needs of the community are met, design aspirations considered and a sense of ownership instilled. SAFE believes that a participatory approach is essential in ensuring the success of any project. This belief is based on firsthand experience on a number of projects that have successfully used community participation throughout the design and construction phases. Involving the community at the outset has allowed trust to build up between the design team and the community. This trust will reduce the chance of problems or disputes arising as the project progresses. And if problems do occur, this trust will help them be resolved quickly and efficiently. Transparency at every stage has helped this process evolve. A design workshop has been used as a tool not only to gain an understanding of what the community want spatially but also to generate enthusiasm and excitement for the project. The results from the two day workshop suggest that we have achieved this. The workshop also goes some way to instil a sense of ownership over the building. Community members have been actively involved throughout and it is hoped that they will make sure those appointed to run and maintain the building are actively fulfilling their duties. The locals showed their commitment to the project by taking two days off work to attend the workshop.


General Aims and Objectives The 2 day design workshop was attended by 12 members of the community including carpenters, builders, CDC, Work Commissioner, UNDP representative. A further 10 persons were involved including architects, engineers and SAFE staff. The objective was to understand the community’s requirements and design aspirations for the community centre, by developing model designs within the chosen site and producing an outline plan for the proposal. The design process has been undertaken in conjunction with the community and local builders to ensure that our design fulfilled the requirements of those using the centre and that the design was specific to Jorgen Babu Mart by using available materials and addressing the needs specific to this place.

Outcome Four groups of five were set up and each group was given materials and asked to make a model of what they would like the community centre to look like. The only constraint was it must be contained within the boundary of the chosen site. Throughout the two day design workshop the participants were able to express their spatial requirements and design aspirations. After each

task a general discussion between all participants took place to ensure the continued crossover of ideas and opinions. The ideas and spatial arrangements from these four designs were integrated into two more developed proposals. These again were modelled to gain a volumetric understanding of the spaces. By continually developing the design throughout the two days it ensured that by the end of day two we had a full understanding of the area, what materials were available and what the community wanted and needed from the community centre. This provided a good knowledge base to build upon throughout the final design stage. Rooms required: large hall, office, kitchen, W.C., tube-well. Additional rooms: meeting space, library, computer room, school, guest rooms. Available materials: mud, timber, bamboo, CI sheet, brick, concrete. The participants agreed that the community would help during construction of the centre. Every workshop attendee agreed to give at least one day of labour towards the build.


Schedule 2 day design workshop with 20 members of the community of Jorgen Babu Mart: Architects, engineers, carpenters, builders and CDC. Objectives: To understand the community’s requirements and design ideas for a community centre in Jorgen Babu Mart, by developing model designs within a specific budget and producing an outline plan for construction. Day 1 30/07/2011 – Group Model Making Activities

10:00 – 11:00

Introduction – getting to know each other. Objectives (see above) SAFE – about us

11:00 – 11:30

11:10 – 13:30

10:00 – 10:30

Review 1st Day workshop work

10:30 – 11:00

Group Making – Create 2 groups of 10 people. Activity – Give each group two models from Day 1 to discuss the good and bad parts.

What materials are available? Activity – discuss what recycled materials are available in Dinajpur.

11:00 – 11:10

Day 2 31/07/2011 – Design Refinement and Costings Activity

11:00 – 13:30

Model Making

Group Making

Activity – Model a refined design, using the good parts from Day 1.

Activity: Organise people into teams of 5. There should be 4 teams.


Model Making Activity – Each team should discuss different ideas and then start to make a model communicating the ideas.

13:30 – 14:30


14:30 – 15:30

Model Making – Continue to model make, each group should finish their design.

15:30 – 17:00

Presentation Activity – Each group will present their model explaining their design and construction ideas.

13:30 – 14:30


14:30 – 15:30

Calculate costings for each model.

15:30 – 16:00

Discuss improvements to reduce costs.

16:00 – 17:00

Presentation Activity – Each group will present their model explaining their design and construction ideas in relation to cost report.


The team have been fully aware of the importance of agreeing a maintenance and management strategy for the day to day running of the community centre post construction. Without such a strategy being agreed upon in advance, the future of any building is questionable. This topic has been repeatedly raised throughout our initial discussions with the community. We gave them time to talk it over amongst themselves and with those who could not attend the meetings. After the design workshop we met with all the key members to finalise the strategy. CDC (Community Development Committee) has been actively involved within the community to date. Due to CDC’s direct relationship with UNDP it was felt that their involvement was unequivocal. The community, however, expressed that they did not want CDC to be solely responsible and suggested that a new committee be formed that incorporating both CDC and community members. This way, the community will be actively involved, take ownership and be exposed to new challenges and problems that they will have to overcome. This will empower the people of Jorgen Babu Mart and give new strengths and skills to those directly involved. The Management Committee will consist of eleven people: seven community members and four CDC women. The committee will include a Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Treasurer and Secretary. A larger community group will review the committee every five years and new members selected. This rotation will allow transparency and bring new people and ideas to the centre.

Maintenance and running cost need to be considered and generated through the services that the community centre provides. The building needs to be used as a community resource to make enough income to keep the building running. We have approached a number of small groups to try and kick-start this income generation but inevitably it will be down to the community and the appointed committee to ensure running costs are covered. There are two NGO’s running schools within Jorgen Babu Mart. We are currently undergoing discussions with both BRAC and World Vision to propose that they use the new community centre as a teaching facility for the children. We have identified that the space they are using is poorly ventilated and has little light. BRAC teaches a school in the morning and World Vision in the afternoon. Porimol Hemrom from World Vision said that he was fully behind the proposal and agreed that the community is in great need of such a space. They have recently created a new space for the children within the slum and so could not see themselves using the centre for this purpose, however, he expressed his interest in using the facility for other purposes. Md. Nabiul Hassan from Brac, was very interested in using the new space for this purpose. At present Brac pays 225Tk per month in rent for the current space. This rent would help cover the maintenance costs of the building and would ensure the building was used daily.


A small library space has been provided in the design and so a book renting facility could be incorporated into the income strategy. Computers, internet and printing facilities could also be provided and used to generate money. The community have proposed to use the large hall for weddings and funerals. A small fee could be charged for this purpose. The entire community could utilise the facility for large gatherings during festivals such as Durgapuja, Kalipuja and Eid. The centre could be used to hold youth groups, family planning clinics, women empowerment groups, community meetings, mens club, womens club, school groups, conferences and meetings. We have approached Dr. Dipendra Nath Roy, Executive Director of BSS (Bangladesh Seba Sangstha), a homeopathic medical clinic who currently run fifteen mobile clinics in villages around the Sundarban area. Funded by PLAN Bangladesh, BSS plan to open a further 10 mobile clinics and is very interested in using the new community centre in Jorgen Babu Mart to facilitate one of these new clinics. The clinic would run on the same day every week and would be supported by the community. Patients pay a small few for treatment but the service is free for the extremely poor. This would be a great resource for the community and would provide a vital service.

Proposed Design

Three main factors inform the proposed design for the community centre; the location, materials available and the community’s requirements. The size of the site and the surrounding buildings indicate that the building should be double storey. This is also necessary if we are to fulfil the minimum requirements of the community. Positioning of rooms has been thought about carefully to maximise the site’s potential and utilise the space available. On the ground floor the proposal provides one medium sized meeting space, two W.C., tube-well and kitchen. The second floor provides one large function space and office. All of the needs and wants expressed by the community could not be met due to restriction in space; however, all the rooms have been designed to be flexible enough to alter their change in use. For example the office upstairs could become a meeting space or storage space if required. The meeting space directly off from the street could be used as a school room or library/computer room. Essentially each of the spaces can be multi functional and serve different purposes when required. Light and ventilation has played a key role in the design of the building. At ground level thick mud walls are punctured by windows, allowing controlled light to flood into the key spaces. The mud walls will regulate the internal air temperature keeping the rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Large doors to the street open up to allow the meeting space to spill out onto the veranda and street beyond. A different material and fenestration has been used on the upper floor where the large function room sits. Here, large bamboo shutters rap around the entire south and east facade giving a light and airy feel to the space. At night the building will glow as light penetrates the bamboo walls. The design proposes a rain water harvesting system, which has informed the shape and orientation of the roof. The shape is aesthetically pleasing and positioning, clearly differentiates the public and private areas of the building. The public areas are towards the street to the east and the kitchen and private office areas are to the rear of the site. Timber is proposed for the roof’s structural components and clay/mud bricks for the external covering. The foundations will be concrete strip. A 20’ concrete plinth will then create the finished floor level. 12’ concrete walls will sit above the plinth, on top of which will sit the thick earthen walls. The use of concrete for the foundations, plinth and lower part of the walls provide protection against flooding, water ingress and burrowing animals. It will ensure the longevity of the building and minimise the need for maintenance. The external walls will be rammed earth construction and the internal walls will be block construction with a coloured lime rendered finish. The thick wall in the downstairs meeting room will be carved into, creating a mixture of seating, bookshelves and windows. This will give a playful feel to the space. We propose to use horizintal strips of brick in the mud walls to protect them from weather damage. Further to this the design of the roof can be adapted to provide a greater overhang, to prolong the lifespan of the building.

Ground Floor Plan 1:100

First Floor Plan 1:100

Street Elevation 1:100

Rear Elevation 1:100

Side Elevation 1:100

Section 1:100

Design Team: Marianne Keating Cara Shields

With thanks to: Ajit Roy Pulin Roy Parimol Roy John Arnold Anna Ray Work Commissioner Workshop Attendees:

Simple Action For the Environment (SAFE) and Housing and Hazards ( In partnership with Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction Programme (UPPRP)

Community Centre Design Proposal  
Community Centre Design Proposal  

(July 2011 / C. Shields & M. Keating) A feasibility study and outline design of a community centre in Jorgen Babur Mart, a slum area in Dina...