To address the challenges of urbanisation such as high levels of poverty, increased vulnerability to climate change, rapid urbanisation, Bangladesh needs to build the capacity of it’s local governments, said experts at a conference, on Saturday.
The two-day long conference called ‘Building Knowledge Networks and Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development in Bangladesh’ was organised by Cities Forum at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon where experts from around the world spoke about on sustainable urban development.
“The urbanisation in Bangladesh is mostly unplanned with around eight million people in urban areas living in informal settlements. There is no alternative to strengthening local government in order to achieve SDG 2030.
“The population in urban areas is been rising everyday because of migration from rural areas caused by climate change and natural disasters. The density of urban population is very high on the adjacent areas of six highways’ starting points of Dhaka’s corridors – highways of Dhaka-Gazipur, Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Chittagong, Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Maowa and Dhaka-Narayanganj. Traffic congestion is a big problem there because of a huge number of industries mostly garments,” said Proffessor Akhter Mahmud, chairman of Urban and Regional Planning Department at Jahangirnagar University, said when he discussing the challenges of urbanisation in Bangladesh.
He said the local governments among other regulatory bodies should have their wages increased. He said that the yearly average expenditures of the two city cooperations of Dhaka go beyond Tk4100 crore, Rajuk spends Tk3500 crore and Dhaka Wasa’s expenditure is Tk900 crore.
Chaired by Evangeline Kim Cuenco of the World Bank the plenary session 2, titled “Urban Planning and Sustainable Infrastructure” was addressed by Proffessor Dr Akhter Mahmud, chairman of Urban and Regional Planning Department at Jahangirnagar University, Prof Robert Cervero, Department of City and Regional Planning of University of California, Debra Lam, Managing Director of Gorgia Institute of Technology, Prof James H Spencer of Clemson University, Mayor Roberto Claudio of Fortaleza, Brazil among others.
Urban Planner Akhter Mahmud claimed the cities in Bangladesh mostly Dhaka and Chittagong cities have been in an unplanned manner by filling up lakes, ponds and rivers, deforestation and the degradation of other natural environment.
Prof Robert Cervero discussed the issue of urban transportation system focusing on motorisation and car-dependent cities including organic urbanism of Dhaka, Bankok and other cities in the developing world.
He also spoke about pollution emission from motor vehicles, traffic flow, traffic congestion in Dhaka city and urbanisation model in the context of the United States and others smart cities in the developed world.
The conference was attended by public representatives, mayors of cities and municipalities came from across the country, government high officials among others.