UNPLANNED and uncontrolled pace of urbanisation of the capital Dhaka has been taking its toll on the city's living condition. Add to this the chaotic traffic system which is getting worse by the day as private cars, buses, motorised and manually-driven vehicles are jostling for space on the city's roads constituting less than 8 per cent of the city's land area in place of the ideal 25 per cent. This explosive mix of negative factors is robbing Dhaka, which was once famed for its beautiful cityscape girdled by rivers, lakes, greenery and open grounds, of its liveability.
To stem this alarming trend, experts on urban planning and housing, transport and traffic and government officials concerned came up with recommendations to address these problems related to city's urbanisation at a recent discussion. Their recommendations stressed mainly vertical expansion of the city to save space and avoid sprawl, introducing mass transports in place of private vehicles on the roads and reclaiming the lost open grounds, wetlands, rivers and greenery to improve the city's natural environment.
Dhaka's ever-worsening liveability index also came up in a recent EU-conducted survey in which the city was ranked as the worst liveable metropolis in the world. Though that survey focused more on social dimensions of liveability than its physical characteristics, the fact of the matter is that both these aspects are interlinked so far as they relate to the city's ability to provide a decent living condition for its citizens.
Hopefully, policymakers in the government will take due note of the valuable suggestions being made by experts and others concerned in various forums to arrest the city's apparently unstoppable slide into an abyss. What is of supreme importance here is the political will to change things around. We believe the government can muster the necessary political will to radically improve the situation.