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Bangladesh needs to plan cities better

  • Published at 12:54 am December 18th, 2016
  • Last updated at 08:41 pm December 18th, 2016
Bangladesh needs to plan cities better
Speakers at a discussion on Saturday stressed the need for taking comprehensive and judicious planning to make cities sustainable for the future. They also said the services for city dwellers, especially for those who are living in slums should be increased as they are beyond the adequate level. The views came from the inaugural session of the first annual national conference on urban resilience, held at city's Spectra Convention Centre, jointly organised by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network. Bangladesh has one of the highest population densities and the highest growth of urban population in the world. More than 30% people live in urban areas in Bangladesh, which will be around 50% by 2050. “This population growth and rapid urbanization tend to follow an unplanned pattern, making Bangladesh a disaster prone country,” said Dr Saleemul Huq, director of ICCCAD. “When a disaster happens, any system of the city can fail resulting in negative impacts that can disrupt the availability of clean water, electricity, and communications.” The complexities of urban risks demand a special focus within the new framework of action to absorb disaster and shocks, as well as the ability to restore the urban system to pre-shock levels, he added while addressing the programme. Dr Atiq Rahman, executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies said it is important to know cities current status of resilience and planning, identify the knowledge gap regarding resilience and how to reduce the gap. According to Fifth Assessment Report of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, people migrate to cities from rural areas, particularly from disaster prone areas. Much of the key climate risks are concentrated in urban areas. In case of Bangladesh the situation is worst as most of the migrated people wish to gather in the capital city, Dhaka. Climate change will exacerbate the already severe environmental problems and threaten the living conditions required to meet the challenges of rapid urbanization. Regarding the rapid urbanization, Prof M Omar Rahman, vice-chancellor of Independent University, Bangladesh said that population growth is not a problem. “Rather, we need to ensure the adequate communication system and better facilities in the peri-urban  areas so that the pressure on cities would be reduced and people can avoid the large cities.” John I Carruthers, director of Sustainable Urban Planning Program at The George Washington University also attended the programme as key-note speaker. The three day conference will end on Monday where the people from different sectors including government, academicians, non-government organisations and urban planner will discuss and share their views, on how to make the Bangladesh’s city's sustainable in future.