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What would our cities look like if they were designed by the people who would ultimately use these spaces? Following their reception of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the UIA (International Union of Architects) Award in 2022 for their work by the river Naboganga, in Jhenaidah city, Bangladesh, Kabir and Suhailey of Co.Creation.Architects discuss how designers can enhance collective experiences in the build environment by engaging with people and nature as a driving force for design and architecture.

Khondaker Hasibul Kabir introduces himself as a community architect. He prefers to work with disadvantaged human communities and spontaneously grown plant communities. He tries to understand how professional designers can engage in people’s everyday design process and be more useful. Kabir is the co-founder of Co.Creation.Architects that works with human and non-human communities to co-create better built and natural habitats. He is a core team member of Platform of Community Action and Architecture (POCAA) that works in Bangladesh and Community Architects Network (CAN) that works in 19 Asian countries. Kabir is the co-chairperson of Foundation for Architecture and Community Equity (FACE). He teaches landscape and architecture at BRAC University, Bangladesh. Kabir has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and a Master’s in Architecture in Landscape Design from the University of Sheffield, UK. His research and practice focus on ecological landscape, community-led housing and people-led city planning.

Suhailey Farzana is a community architect. Her interest is to understand and explore the “co-creation” process with people; be it housing, craft making, or city planning. Empowering herself and others through this process is the excitement of her work. She is the co-founder of Co.Creation.Architects and Platform of Community Action and Architecture (POCAA). Suhailey is also closely involved with Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) and Community Architects Network (CAN). She pursued her Bachelor of Architecture and Masters in Development Studies from BRAC University, Bangladesh. She studied leadership at University of Vermont in the USA as a part of a learning exchange program.

Organized by the South Asia GSD student organization, with support from the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute