While undertaking plans and policies regarding urbanisation, the government should look at poor, low and lower-middle income groups so that they are having “liveable” housing, urban expert Prof Nazrul Islam said yesterday.
About one lakh people live in a 90 acres of land in Dhaka’s Karail slum. There, a single family of five to eight members live in one room, he said, while delivering a lecture at Dhaka University’s Professor Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury Auditorium.
“We don’t want this. We want at least a two-room house,” he added.
His solo lecture, on the topic “Urbanization in Bangladesh: Past, Present & Future” was part of Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Distinguished Lecture series, organised by the Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Foundation.
In his over one-hour lecture, Prof Nazrul, former chairman of the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh, said poor, low income and lower-middle income groups constitute 70 percent or more of the urban population.
They are more concerned about liveable housing, he said.
Referring to the United Nations definition, he said a liveable house will consist of minimum two rooms, and it will be protected from all types of hazards.
In a changed residential pattern, now it can be found that well-off families are also living in apartment flats, he said. Besides, there are “gated communities” of different classes like the Defense Officers Housing Society (DOHS) or staff and teachers’ quarters at Dhaka University or Buet, Prof Nazrul said.
So, an idea about Bangladesh’s social system could be found through analysing its residential patterns from the sociological perspective, he said.
Terming Dhaka a “monolingual city”, he said research should be done on the city to know why it attracts so many people despite being labeled as one of the “worst liveable cities” in the world.
He also said future urban cities should not consist of buildings higher than six storeys.
Chairing the programme, National Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury said Dhaka city’s communications system will be developed significantly in about 15 years, once the on-going projects including the construction of mass rapid transit are completed.
Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Foundation Director General Prof Ahrar Ahmad delivered the welcome address.
Yesterday’s lecture was the second of the second edition of the Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq Distinguished Lectures.
In the first edition, seven eminent personalities delivered as many lectures in 2017-2018.
Those were compiled in a book published recently by Bengal Publications.