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Role-play about sustainable transport (in Dhaka) 

Students research and then adopt different roles to learn about issues around urban mobility in Dhaka. This activity can be adapted to focus on economic, environmental or social issues.

Activity Outline

I have not yet tried this activity in my own class. It was co-designed with Paul Gilbert and presented during a workshop at Indiana University, July 2021. 

1. Explain activity context 


This activity is based in real-world situations, in this case ongoing developments to make Dhaka's transport infrastructure more environmentally sustainable that are funded by the Japanese Development Agency. A fictionalized stakeholder workshop is being organized by donor agencies to get feedback on the proposed development and to manage the concerns of affected groups.  

2. Students select and research roles 


Students select the roles they want to assume from a pre-set list. They then research their roles and formulate their positions vis-à-vis the proposed development as a short opening statement and arguments to defend their position in an informed and realistic way. 


3. Role play  


Students enact the meeting, guided by the educator-facilitator who ensures that the role-play approximates power relations in international development.


4. Discussion


The debrief draws out learnings from the activity, about transport issues and development dynamics in Dhaka, but also about students’ own experiences with the role play.  

Workshop Participation Comments

Other Teaching Resources


Personal Diverse 

Economic Portfolios



Future Food

Bag of Fruits



Designing Alternative Urban Scenarios

Green Buildings
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