In today's world, urbanisation is an inescapable reality. In fact, for the first time in history, more than half the world population lives in urban areas. Primarily talked about in the context of developing countries in the current discourse, urbanisation is uniquely impacting the lives of millions in this part of the world. Dhaka's population is estimated to double by 2030 and other cities in Bangladesh such as Chattogram are also expected to witness a massive rise in population in the next couple of decades.
The compounding effects of urbanisation and industrialisation have led to a global paradigm shift in how academics and policymakers think about cities and their growth. This means that environmental factors and urban infrastructure can no longer be overlooked in urban planning decisions. Neither can we ignore the realities of a mismatch between the demand and supply of essential public goods and high levels of inequality in cities of developing countries such as ours. Dhaka's rivers are in the throes of destruction; air pollution has reached unprecedented heights; mobility due to traffic congestion has slowed to a snail's pace.
This segment of the supplement sheds light on the numerous challenges that rapid, unplanned urbanisation (of Dhaka in particular) has brought forth and what we can do to address them. At the end of the day, what is required is smart, planned urbanisation so that we can utilise the endless opportunities that urban life presents.
This issue, “Avoiding an Urban Nightmare: Time to Get Planning Right”, is the third instalment of our 200-page special supplement on the occasion of The Daily Star's 28th anniversary.
We would like to thank all the writers, who are experts, practitioners, researchers, scholars and academics, for enriching this issue with very insightful and thought-provoking articles.
We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to our readers and patrons whose endless support and dedication keep us going.
Be sure to follow up on the penultimate instalment of this special supplement titled “Deshi First” which comes out on February 23.
Editor & Publisher