Residents of Dhaka city cannot see the trees even if they open their windows. Birds cannot be heard from tall buildings. From slums to luxury flats—nowhere does sunlight penetrate. The urbanization that is taking vitamin D pills without sunlight will never be sustainable.
Urban planners said these things about urban planning in the discussion meeting titled ‘Evolution of megacity and transformation of city livability’. Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) organized this meeting at Planners Tower at Banglamotor in the capital on Tuesday afternoon.
In today’s event, the guests also unveiled a book titled ‘Megacities of the Global South in 2020’ edited by planners Taslim Shakur and Shaib Ghafoor. Many times we think that the problem is only marginal people. In fact, from the marginal to the upper class—everyone has problems in this city. Now sunlight does not enter the house. From slums to flats—nowhere does the sun shine. This model of development is not able to attract the sun.
Adil Muhammad Khan, President, Bangladesh Institute of Planners
Speakers in the meeting said that such development of megacity Dhaka can be called ‘mega catastrophe’. The development of the country including Dhaka, is it for the people? The tree cannot be seen by opening the window. Floor after floor of the building is just emptiness; Where green nature is not seen or birds are heard. In the evolution of urbanization that we are talking about, the human being should not be lost. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on town-planning that combines people with plants and biodiversity. We have to question this development in Dhaka. It is important to understand where mistakes are being made, without justifying them.
President of Urban Research Center Nazrul Islam was the chief guest in the discussion meeting. Presenting the image of Dhaka, he said, “Currently, the quarter (residential area) of Dhaka University and BUET is like paradise (heaven). Not architecturally attractive but functionally good. Best environment. There is a playground and there is 100% security. He demanded the establishment of the Ministry of Urban Affairs to take proper development plans and steps.
When he came to Dhaka in 1952, Golam Rahman, founder president of BIP, said that he drank Buriganga water. He said, now people cover their noses with handkerchiefs while crossing the Buriganga. He mentioned that there is no similarity between the previous Dhaka and the current one.
The discussion meeting was presided over by BIP president Prof. Adil Muhammad Khan, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Jahangirnagar University. Criticizing the model in which Dhaka metropolis has been developed, this urban planner said that all the residents of Dhaka are marginalized.
Adil Muhammad Khan said, “We often think that the problem is only with the marginal people. In fact, from the marginal to the upper class—everyone has problems in this city. Now sunlight does not enter the house. From slums to flats—nowhere does the sun shine. This model of development is not able to attract the sun. The urbanization that is taking place on vitamin D will never be sustainable.
Prof. Aktar Mahmud, convening planner of BIP’s advisory council, thinks that the challenge of urbanization will not be borrowed from abroad, but its own knowledge will be needed.
Planner Taslim Shakur stressed on city decentralization for Dhaka’s livability.
Ishrat Islam, Dean of Architecture and Planning Faculty of BUET, Mohammad Fazle Reza Shakur, former president of BIP, architect Shaib Ghafoor and others also spoke in the discussion meeting.
BIP General Secretary Planner Sheikh Muhammad Mehdi Ahsan presided over the meeting.
According to the prothomalo