The EIU has ranked Dhaka as the third worst liveable city in the world and Architect and Environmental Activist Iqbal Habib discusses the issue with The Business Standard
Dhaka city has a population density of 47,800 people per square kilometre, despite the fact that 55 percent of the city is unliveable. In terms of density, Bombay comes in second with 24 thousand to 26 thousand people living in each square kilometre.
When it comes to the planning of this city, plot-wise planning can be seen instead of the more appropriate area-wise planning. While cities like Kolkata and Bangkok are endorsing area-wise plans, the pro-rich government of Bangladesh seems unconcerned about the implementation of the Detailed Area Plan and the Strategic Transportation Plan.
Well-planned and technology-based management is very important. We need to ensure the proper utilisation of existing assets. We have to strictly implement the plans keeping the sustainable development goals in mind.
Sustainable development encompasses the environment, equity and economy. The government needs to follow the Detailed Area Plan strictly for the use of land. It needs to develop a master plan for the use of land in the city, and prepare for the implementation of the Revised Detailed Area Plan.
The implementation of an equity based revised strategic transportation plan is a must. At present we have three major roads - Mirpur Road, Airport Road and Pragati Sarani. Around 70 percent of these roads are occupied by cars. If the number of cars on the streets is reduced and the number of public buses is increased at the same time, the capacity of these roads can be increased fourfold.
Nearly four crores trips are made every day in Dhaka city alone. According to a recent survey on the movement of people, it was found that around 40 percent of the people in Dhaka live within two kilometres of their destinations.
With this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that people can walk this distance instead of using cars. But to make that happen, the footpaths must be properly developed.
Traffic congestion will decrease in Dhaka only when these two issues – increasing the number of public buses and developing of proper footpaths – are ensured.