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Meeting urbanisation challenge

Publication Date : 16-01-2013


According to the Bangladesh Urban Institute (BURI), the rate of expansion of the capital city, Dhaka, is alarming. Primarily because authorities have not worked out a planned and systematic urban management scheme based on reliable statistical data to meaningfully tackle the problems associated with rapid urbanisation.

The continued ignorance of the issues accompanying the fast rise in population of the capital city is likely to have grave repercussions for Dhaka in the decades to come. Problems associated with need for urban healthcare, housing and employment remain a low priority for policymakers. Due to the absence of an institutionalised urban management system, public service authorities are fighting a losing battle against the steady inflow of rural migrants to the city. Consequently urban social indicators are not improving with time. The manner in which Dhaka city has been allowed to grow without planning and haphazardly, the first guiding principle ought be bringing the whole process of urbanisation within a scientific framework of planning and management disciplines.

A large percentage of this sizeable population does not receive any city services. In an effort to build up a database of the populations of major municipal areas, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has teamed up with BURI. The work, once completed, will provide city planners a detailed layout of urban issues in municipality corporations including that of Dhaka, Chittagong and five other cities.

This of course is a major step in the right direction. The unplanned expansion of the city, especially where knowledge gaps exist for policymakers has caused enormous damage in terms of failure to preserve important archaeological and historical sites. Other than structural damage to heritage sites, more pressing needs of urban population need to be addressed. Like rural populations, urban populaces too remain vulnerable to natural disasters. In case of urban centres, the fallout from natural calamities like flooding and earthquake remain significant. Hence, a detail map of urban populations available with BBS would undoubtedly go a long way in helping planners to make informed decisions.


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