Students can kick the 'im' from the 'impossible'
STUDENT projects are always exciting and invigorating. Impractical as they are supposed to be studio exercises invokes intelligent discussions and gives light to a new, fresh path. That in many ways is the way forward.
The students of 4th Year Architecture of The University of Asia Pacific, as evident in today's presentation, have undertaken a noble pursuit, as do students of most other universities, of trying to find a solution to the burgeoning problem of housing the poor in the urban scenario.
They collectively delve into three sites in Dhaka city with all their natural emotions, youthful exuberance and innocent expectations, and may even wonder at the end of their submission, 'so where is the problem!'
One wonders if the adults were left out of the decision making, if politics and self-interested quarters had not put their thick fingers in to every pie, perhaps, just perhaps, many of our troubles may have seemed very far away.
In their quest for respectability for the urban poor, they have imagined streets that 'are not just for pedestrian or vehicular use, but also preferred for social, economic, and domestic uses' but they had to succumb to the need for multi-storied housing, much above the street, if only to achieve an economically viable density structure.
They had the best of intentions when they convey the passion that 'community facilities have been given more importance' and yet they cannot replicate the 'courtyard' above ground floor.
Will the word 'impossible' continue to haunt any of our pursuits to make the majority love better? Or does the future generation hold the answer? Perhaps with new materials, new technology, newer 'grounds' below earth, under water, up in the sky.
The students have shown that there is always room to improve, and that the age-old belief that open spaces are invaluable in creating a social order among dwellers in a community is true to the day. Oh! How we love to build, and build, and build! Are our residential areas even for the well-to-do any better or any more stimulating than container yards at our sea ports?
In today's instalment we also bring to you a short piece by our contributors on a praiseworthy effort by ARBAN (Association for the Realization of Basic Needs), an NGO working for the poor, which has undertaken a housing project for slum dwellers in Mirpur, Dhaka. Together they have kicked the 'im' from the 'impossible'.