Bangladesh Floating School : from ‘Zero to Hero’ Green Space Concept

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Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries, ranked the 2nd among world’s largest city in by 2015, according to UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) In particular, he capital city Dhaka, is becoming one of the most polluted and unhealthy cities on earth. Bangladesh’s green building market is still in development. The majority of the 11 registered or certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects are located in Dhaka. Green buildings can significantly reduce the amount of energy required for residences and other public facilities but creating public demand for green building in Bangladesh is a challenging job for government, developers and stakeholders. Bangladesh Floating School hence serves as one of the answers to this challenge that supports both the country’s green development and its citizens.

Climatic challenge and floods

Bangladesh, in short, is a climate disaster in the making. By 2030, rising water could make 20% of the country uninhabitable, forecasts show. The country has been constantly flooded by the melting Himalayan snow and the rivers flowing through. Having just a few hills and otherwise being flat where rising sea levels are having profound effects on the landscape.

Concerned by the condition, a nonprofit organization called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangsth run by architect Mohammed Rezwan introduced the Bangladesh Floating School, aiming try to adapt to the vulnerable livelihood through this small step.

More than just a boat

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Bangladesh floating school initially served as a school bus, collecting children from riverside stops then docks and class begins. It has a classroom, library and equipped with functioning electricity. Rezwan designed the school by modifying traditional Bangladeshi wooden boats, using local eco friendly materials and green building methods.

The boats are about 55 feet long and 11 feet wide, with a main cabin that can fit up to 30 children. Metal beams allow forcolumn free spaces, and the boats have flexible wooden floors,ceilings and waterproofs roofs. The multilayered roofs can withstand heavy monsoon rains. The computer and overall electricity on the vessels are powered by solar energy via panels which are installed on boat’s roof top, with the power of 200 Wp – 2 kWp. It has a charge controller, which prevents the battery from being over-charged or deep-discharged. The lighting come from thesolarpowered lamps given by the families to compensate with this regular, free education for their children-Outside of the elementary school lessons, the boats also act as venues for conducting sustainable and green development training sessions for children’s parents on subjects such as agriculture, finance, health, hygiene and nutrition.

Bangladesh floating school also trains farmers and adult villagers to grow vegetables in floating garden, raise ducks and fish, and other farming lessons.

The boat schools are the kind of measure that can support green education and living in developing nations like Bangladesh to become more resilient to extreme weather and climate impacts. Floating gardens are helping them adapt to the impacts of climate change. With this programme, students can now easily go to school and stay close to their parents – and has further helped increase  the literacy rate in the country. (AGB.com – VL)

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