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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Urban Studies
Title Book Review: Urban Poverty in Bangladesh: Slum Communities, Migration and Social Integration
Volume 51
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 453-457
URL http://usj.sagepub.com/content/51/2/453.short
The study of urban poverty in Bangladesh has so far been patchy, often limited to collections of chapters (Islam, 2010; Rahman, 2011), or based on non-representative surveys (e.g. Islam et al., 1997; Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPR), 2010), or focused on municipal governance (Murtaza, 2002), or concerned primarily with Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city (Afsar, 2000; Begum, 1999; Siddiqui et al., 2000, 2010). What is missing is commanding scholarship on the urbanization process – such as the ways in which Schandel (2009) and Lewis (2011) have studied Bangladesh’s historical and governance settings.
This is clearly acknowledged in Rahman’s (2011) commentary on the challenges of Bangladesh’s emerging urban future, stating that ‘… analytical understanding of this [rapid urbanisation] process … remains fragmented and policy responses sporadic’ (p. 3). Our own review of research, policy and action on urban poverty in the country also reveals a serious dearth of understanding and information on urban poverty in Bangladesh – causing consequent problems in developing adequate policy responses (Banks et al., 2011).
Against this backdrop, Shahadat Hossain’s aim to study Urban Poverty in Bangladesh: Slum Communities, Migration and Social Integration, has the bold ambition to fill some of the critical knowledge gaps. In particular, Hossain’s effort could be a step forward in addressing the neglect of urban poverty, as he aspires to examine urban poverty through the analytical lenses of slum communities, migration and social integration.
While the book’s ambition is intellectually justified and policy-relevant, its execution has been rather problematic, in spite of the author’s admirable personal efforts in data collection and analysis. I pick five key issues to elaborate, but others remain, such as the author’s neglect of specifying the year of data collection.

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