The Financial Express

Experts, planners air concern over unplanned urbanisation

| Updated: November 14, 2018 12:39:54

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
A general view of the Dhaka city. Courtesy: United Nations via Flickr A general view of the Dhaka city. Courtesy: United Nations via Flickr

Urban experts and planners at a seminar in the city have expressed concern over the trend of unplanned urbanisation and blamed personal interests, non-implementation of the plans that remain only in papers and lack of good governance for the scenario.

There is a huge gap between planning for development of the cities and its implementation, they observed.

Policymakers have a kind of aversion to the philosophical aspects of urbanisation although these are important parts of the development process, they viewed.

Keeping these views in mind, they suggested that the plan should be a complete one with involvement of youths and secondary cities be developed for the sake of sustainable urbanisation.

Thursday's seminar styled 'World Town Planning Day 2018: Contemporary Planning Issues' was organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) at its auditorium, marking World Town Planning Day 2018. The theme of the day this year is 'Sustainable Cities and Communities'.

Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) executive chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman was present as the chief guest.

BIP president Professor Abul Kalam chaired the seminar while its general secretary Adil Mohammed Khan moderated the event.

Urbanisation in Bangladesh is mainly influenced by four factors and these are-focus on the expansion of cities, personal interest instead of overall development, lack of accountability and transparency and innovation in the existing haphazard context, said Hossain Zillur Rahman.

"We are at the same time optimistic and concerned regarding the expansion process of our cities. Planning has two dimensions-technical knowledge and skills and philosophy," he added.

If policymakers have aversion to the philosophical aspects of planning or management of the cities, the planners will face difficulties, he noted.

Terming urban planning a means to an end, Mr Zillur said people want to see all the cities with same features and amenities.

He laid stress on four major characteristics that the cities should have- they should have the role in economic growth, balanced development, urban aesthetics and be livable.

"Planning should be reflected in all these factors but it remains confined to paper documents only," said the noted economist.

Planner Akter Mahmud said nowadays, there is more use of the word 'planning' which was absent in the previous development documents.

But there is a huge gap between a plan in paper documents and its implementation, he added.

Prof Abul Kalam said planning is meant for development and the development must be sustainable; planning is not for cities only, he added.

Citing the example of relocating the tanneries from Hazaribagh to Savar and the consequent pollution of the Dhaleswari River, he said it was not a complete planning which has created adverse impact on the environment.

"We've relocated the tanneries to save the river Buriganga by declaring that area an industrial zone. But we're destroying the Dhaleswari river, although the relocation process was done through planning," he said, adding: it means the planning was not complete.

He laid emphasis on such planning which will not destroy climate, weather, land, forest or any other resource. Coordination between the government's initiatives and people's engagement are crucial in this regard, he added.

BIP vice president Fazle Reza Sumon said there is a huge gap between planning and implementation and failure of the relocation process of Hazaribagh tanneries is the example.

Planner Adil Mohammed Khan said the main development philosophy should be to think how to develop secondary cities and municipalities, instead of investing in Dhaka only.

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