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Salma Akter Surma

Salma Akter Surma

Ph.D. Student in Planning, Design, and Construction

Salma Akter Surma a Ph.D. Student in Planning, Design, and Construction, concentrating on community well-being and resilience in the built environment. Salma is particularly interested in working for the grassroots, marginalized, and displaced communities' health and well-being who cannot afford the services of an architect.

A Bangladeshi socially responsible architect, Salma has worked for community well-being for over 17 years. After completing her B. Arch degree from Khulna University (K.U.), Bangladesh (B.D.) in 2006, she started practicing architecture for landless and homeless people until today. Her commitment to Humanitarian architecture flourished during her master’s degree in human settlements at 2017 KU. She developed an inclusive conceptual framework through inductive approaches following the human ecological model to ensure migrants' quality of life, and she received the prestigious Dean's Award for recognition of her work. Along with architecture practice, Salma also worked as a faculty in the architecture department at Premier University, Bangladesh, for five years (from 2018 to 2022); she advised and taught undergraduate thesis projects, mostly on sustainable human settlement focusing on SDG11. She researched slum and refugee settlements in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. For example, Salma's research on the Resiliency of Rohingya refugees' during COVID-19 and Planning for the Pandemic for slum dwellers have been published in Q1-ranked Journals in 2021. She volunteered in the "Zero-carbon prefabricated bamboo housing for Bihari refugees in Bangladesh" collaboration with Heritage Foundation, Pakistan, and Brac, Bangladesh. She attended the Beahrs ELP, UC Berkeley, with research support. Recently, Salma received the GDAA award, PRE grant, and Graduate student research fellowship from women and gender studies at OU.  All her applied research is aligned with people-place connection and humanity in architecture.

Salma's lived and professional experiences on community well-being have motivated her to explore architecture with a specific focus on benefiting the well-being of refugee children within the built environment during their resettlement in the United States as the subject of her doctoral research.

Research Interest:

·       Community Activism

·       Refugee Wellbeing

·       Healthy built environment.

·       Sustainable cities and communities