Dhaka problems

Peri-urban issues

Dhaka spatial mapping analysis.png

  • From the previous equal split of urban / non-urban, high density urban population has tripled. Both urban / non-urban also peak in the 15-3500 p/km2 band.
  • The Dhaka Metro Area is a fast-growing FUA with an average density of 1500 people/Km2, at the confluence of 3 major river systems. Dhaka’s urban areas expanded mainly towards the south-east with growth of residential areas and industries converting large amount of agricultural lands. Most of the lands is not under the ownership of private sectors.
  • The peri-urban was pictured as a fluid space where at current times there are strong blending between urban and rural in terms of physical landscape and socio-cultural conditions. These typical areas existed beyond the border of the metro area (over 100 km). The problem with Dhaka’s urban growth is that it exacerbates the vulnerability of flooding as water flows from the north towards the south east. Dhaka’s urban centre has an elevation above the surrounding regions with large areas of urban slums blocking the flow of water. This made Dhaka’s south and east peri-urban areas prone to flooding (Mortoja and Yigitcanlar, 2020)
  • Many informal slums are insecure, & seen by elites as a rural problem. Land prices very high in some parts, so development pushed outwards.
  • Multi-national firms finance local industries via local elites, very difficult to set social-environmental standards

Climate change issues

  • Temperature projection 1.5-5 degrees by 2100 - Precipitation: winter fall of 40%, summer rise of 40% in watershed and Sea level rise – indirect effects on river flows
  • Increase in event rainfall intensity for short duration events. Cyclones and storm surges are set to increase. Urban Heat Island causes 2 °C uplift: extreme wet heat days may double
  • Temp increase: Increased energy demand, degraded air quality, water scarcity. Rainfall increase: increased flooding, increased water logging, increased inward migration due to river bank erosion.
  • Urban expansion lacks adequate drainage, destroys wetlands with adaptive capacity, leads to traffic & industrial air pollution, depletes groundwater, contributes to UHI, increases energy demand

dhaka climate mapping.jpg

Societal issues

  • Much urban green infrastructure is polluted & degraded. Farming in hinterland is declining as land is sold for development. Loss of forest cover in hills
  • Informal & insecure settlements lack flood investment from govt and/or residents: poor construction (e.g. tin roofs) adds to heat stress
  • Widening gaps of rich / poor, with elite / gang control of policy & resources. Many transient & migrant communities with lack of social cohesion.

Governance issues

  • Clientelist state with a dual ‘party-archy’. Spatial planning is disconnected between local, metropolitan and national level. Climate policy is recognized but not yet mainstream.
  • Many civil society organizations in a complex mix of patronage. NGOS are active in slum dwelling advocacy, for security & services
  • Corruption & elite capture is standard. Informal settlements often without basic services are in the grip of local elite & enforcers
  • However, Bangladesh is a known development ‘success story’, due to high levels of education and gender empowerment.

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