Unplanned urbanisation

Strengthen urban governance to end it

Published : 01 Apr 2022 07:54 PM

Over the last decade construction of high-rises has overthrown Dhaka’s lands and playgrounds while the screams of the drill machines, brick crushers have occupied the silence of most the residential in Dhaka. The consequences of unplanned urbanisation are already evident in the poor living condition. Urbanisation as a phenomenon has become a reality of the modern world. This phenomenon is now being accelerated by the rapid globalisation and expansion of local economies. Bangladesh, a predominantly rural country, is undergoing a transformation towards urbanisation at a rapid pace.

It needs no emphasising that Dhaka is becoming more and more vulnerable to both natural and man-made hazards due to rapid urbanisation. Dhaka is characterised by the poor living standards, building construction without consideration of safety measures, lack of public awareness to hazards, and poorly enforced building code.

Proper implementation of land use plan and 

enforcement of building code are important to 

make Dhaka more resilient to disasters

Many buildings are rising without proper zoning concept and guidelines as the city authorities allow poorly constructed buildings and old buildings to live. These buildings are very much vulnerable to earthquake, fire hazards and other types of building collapse causing unnecessary deaths. Living in this overcrowded jungle of concrete, it is horrifying to imagine how would this town survive if an earthquake takes place?

Besides the mentioned vulnerabilities the urban habitants are living with increased risk of industrial hazards and health related risks. Increasing number of industrial complexes is taking place with rapid urbanisation and when a natural or man-made disaster occurs in an urban area, these industrial complexes and hazardous materials cause considerable disasters such as fire, explosions, radioactive radiation and so on.

Multi-hazard approaches need to be ensured in policies, regulations and plans to reduce urban risk that will make Dhaka safer in the long-run. In order to reduce disaster risks, it is of great concern to have good control over the entire practice of design and construction of structures. Loss of human life and properties can considerably be reduced if the entire system can be brought under a well-planned strategy. Experts from related arena and different stakeholders who are properly trained should work together under one umbrella to ensure a risk resilient infrastructure system. Reinforcing urban governance has become very much necessary on the part of the government and city planners. Proper implementation of land use plan and enforcement of building code are important to make Dhaka more resilient to disasters.