Friday, June 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Rethinking our cities

Urbanization must be carried out in a planned manner


Update : 15 Jan 2024, 10:15 PM

Bangladesh has undergone remarkable growth in the more than 50 years it has been since independence, and nowhere can that growth be more visible than our capital city. But while an increasing number of skyscrapers and highways are a good marker of progress, they are ultimately ornamental in nature.

As our capital city, Dhaka is still plagued by numerous issues which drastically reduce the quality of life for citizens -- from the city’s constant battle with air pollution and, of course, its notorious traffic, Dhaka as a city is often at odds with its own people.

According to noted economist Rehman Sobhan, in a statement made during the "Sustainable Urbanization: Problem and Solution" conference, a lot of these issues can be attributed to unchecked bureaucracy and red tape which exist within our urban governance, pointing at employee appointment policies as an example.

It only takes a cursory glance at Dhaka to know that our urbanization policies are inadequate and lack any semblance of coordination, further exacerbated by the dividing of the capital into two separate city corporations. Fractured decision-making can never result in efficient governance, especially our capital city which hosts the brunt of the nation’s economic activity. A perfect example of just how poorly the two corporation system has fared can be seen in how both the DNCC and the DSCC continue to fumble the dengue situation.

While there is little scope for Dhaka’s development trajectory to slow down, the government must take this opportunity to revise its urbanization strategies and implement it in a way that takes retaining environmental integrity and the decentralization of the economy into account.

Urbanization must be carried out in a planned manner, and that requires coordination and decisive policy-making.


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