Dhaka burgeoning unplanned

Dhaka city with its estimated population of 21.7 million has been expanding rapidly over the last few years, but in an unplanned and unhealthy way. 

A lot of plans have been devised to direct the expansion in a systematic way, but to no avail. The situation remains unchanged due to lack of implementation of the plans.

While the existing developed part of Dhaka city remains a matter of concern for the urban planners, the parts that are yet to expand could be saved with proper planning. 

Urban planner Professor Nazrul Islam told the Bangladesh Post the DAP of Rajuk has to be implemented for planned expansion of Dhaka. But it has not even been approved yet, let alone implementation. Every year, four to five lakh people come to Dhaka. The city keeps expanding whether the plans get approved or not”.    

Md Ashraful Islam, Town Planner (Town Planning & Implementation) of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) told Bangladesh Post that both horizontal and vertical expansion of the city is needed for urbanization, but the expansion has to be guided.  

“The areas of Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation require horizontal expansion. The vertical infrastructure development of the city has to be guided. Block-based residential areas should be built with supported facilities and amenities in order to reduce the pressure on small areas,” he added. 

The total area of greater Dhaka is around 1,528 square kilometres. 

According to Rajuk officials, the total road area of the capital city is around seven per cent whereas 20-25 per cent space allocation for roads is  indispensably essential for an ideal city.  

In the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035 of Rajuk, it has been suggested to promote future new developments in the North-Eastern direction towards Purbachal since this part of Dhaka is relatively underdeveloped despite its proximity to the existing built-up areas.  

Adil Mohammad Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Institute of Planners told the Bangladesh Post, that the initial plan was to build a new town away from the mother city to reduce the pressure on it. 

“Due to lack of supervision, delay in implementation and urbanization trend, the previous DAP plan of Rajuk has failed to preserve the buffer area between the mother city and Purbachal, and it has already been developed,” he said.  

Regarding the Central Business District (CBD) at Purbachal, he said the implementation of CBD will generate commercial activities. However, it is doubtful whether the new town will be able to endure the pressure. 

He further said, “The design population of Purbachal was prepared taking into account a population of 10 lakh. If the design population exceeds and the town develops in an unplanned way, Purbachal might not be able to contain the traffic impact caused by this”. 

He suggested formulating a plan regarding the buffer area between the mother city and Purbachal; otherwise greater Dhaka will hinder Purbachal from becoming an independent town.