Trying to drive along a street in the Lalbagh area, in the city center of Dhaka.
After getting out of the airport in Dhaka, the first thing we noticed—the first thing every visitor notices—was the traffic. As we were heading to our hotel in a taxi, the streets around us were crowded: trucks, taxi, private cars, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, pedestrians, carts with horses… All transportation modes were sharing the same space among clouds of dust, smoke and a cacophony of sounds, without any apparent organization.
How could some of these roads be turned into walkable, human-friendly streets within a short period of 5 years? continue reading
Stuck between a street vendor, his living hens and a rickshaw (first mean of transportation in Dhaka), trying to cross a four-lane road in the middle of an intersection among clouds of dust… being a pedestrian in Dhaka can look like a risky adventure.
In 2016, Dhaka was the 11th megacity in the world with 18.237.000 inhabitants. In 2030, the UN estimate that its population will be around 27.374.000 inhabitants. In rapidly growing megacities like these, with large, unplanned neighborhoods, both private and public spaces are affected by dynamics determined mostly by the pressure of the local and global economy. Public space, in particular, tends to be approached as an afterthought and becomes the residual (and scarce) space between the buildings, merely regarded as the minimum right of way and thus becoming hugely dominated by traffic. Due to lack of planning, parks, squares or boulevards are nonexistent, and when they exist, the spaces consist of bare land, often misused and treated as dumping grounds.
Walking is the main form of transportation in the Greater Dhaka Metropolitan area since 37,2% of the trips are made by foot. However, this mode of transportation is far from being the safest. Being a pedestrian can be very complicated as one may encounters lots of obstacle through his journey. continue reading
As a recent project has led us to Dhaka, we are starting a series of posts to share with you some key topics and observations about this very interesting city.
Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, is one of the densest cities in the world, with 18 million people squishing in 1,528 square km. The average density of the central area of the city has reached a staggering 41,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. The city is considered one of the least livable cities in the world, ranked 137 out of 140 cities in 2017. It is the lowest for any South Asian city surveyed, because of, among other things, air pollution, severe traffic congestion, bad sewage system, hundreds of slums and regular river floodings.
In such a dense and crowded city, the inhabitants make the most of each square meter, making public space a truly multi-layered and multi-dimensional entity. continue reading