Economic decentralisation and proper planning are now crucial to make Dhaka liveable and for the growth of business and industries, urban experts and economists said yesterday.
The concept of Clustered City Development (CCD) could help harmonise the emerging challenges of urbanisation, economic activities and investment in a planned manner, experts said at a discussion on CCD in the city.
“Industries must be taken out of Dhaka and relocated, preferably along the highways, to keep the capital city functional and liveable,” noted economist and environmentalist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said at the meet.
The discussion titled “CCD: Innovative Intervention in South Asia Study on Dhaka” was jointly organised by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) and Strategic Planning and Management Services Limited (Australia).
The ADB has undertaken a study project in three south Asian capital cities including Colombo, Dhaka and New Delhi to examine ways to foster the concept of CCD as a way of achieving better economic spatial planning, development, urban management and economic governance.
“The crammed capital city can be decentralised by means of CCD, concentrating industries like readymade garments and construction materials in agglomeration,” Prof Brian H Roberts, project consultant from Strategic Planning and Management Services Limited, said.
“The ADB study is for competitive business development for more investment and more jobs,” he added.
Prof Nurul Islam Nazem, executive secretary of CUS, said that agglomeration of business and industries should be done in a planned manner with facilitation of the government not only for economic benefits but also for make the urban areas more liveable.
He pointed out that in this respect, the government’s responsiveness to business and industrial development is very low.
Prof Nurul Islam informed the discussion that 20 percent of the country’s 140 million people live in the urban areas. Sixty percent of the total urban population of the country live in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna.
The national urban growth rate at present stands at 3.5 percent, while Dhaka has a rate of five.
Three partners — National Institute for Urban Affairs (India), CUS (Bangladesh) and Sevantha-Urban (Sri Lanka) — will carry out the project for ADB.
The area of study in Bangladesh includes Dhaka, Gazipur, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj and Narsingdi.
The study area constitutes 5 percent of the total area of Bangladesh with 14 percent of the total population. Prof Nazem said that 16 percent of the total labour force and 41 percent of the industrial labour force fall in this chosen study area.
The five-member CUS team assigned with the study includes Prof Nurul Islam Nazem, Prof Amirul Islam Chowdhury, Prof AQM Mahbub, architect Salma Shafi and Prof Nazrul Islam as honorary advisers.
The study began in June this year and is expected to be completed by January.
Dr Kyeong Ae Choe, Principal Urban Development Specialist of ADB’s South Asia Division, economist Dr Atiur Rahman and president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners Dr Sarwar Jahan, among others, also spoke at the event.
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