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Assessment Of City Plans: Dhaka Structure Plan 2016-2035

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Introduction: Dhaka is known as the capital city of Bangladesh, world’s one of the most densely populated city and largest city in the south –East Asia (World population review 2017)5. Although Chittagong has declared as the commercial capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka is still considered as an economic, political and cultural center for Bangladesh. Recently, livability has become a prime issue as Dhaka has been ranked second least livable city according to the livability index (The financial express, 2018). Moreover, Rapid demographical changes has been a huge challenges for the Government to make the city livable. According to Bangladesh bureau of statistics (BBS) 2013 report Dhaka has been populated by 15 million people. One of the major cause of Dhaka’s rapid population growth is ‘’domestic migration’’ from rural area to urban area which was caused for 60% of the city’s growth in between 1960s and 1970s (Population of Dhaka 2017). It has also been claimed by Population of Dhaka 2017 that after the expansion of the city which was occurred during 1980, Dhaka’s population had increased by 1 million which could be the another reason for that demographical changes.

Furthermore,a large number of European, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Burmese and Sri Lankan people are currently working in different multinational companies in Dhaka and that number of international employees are increasing every year which has been considered as another cause of population growth. To ensuring better service for all resident of Dhaka, Government decided to split Dhaka into two parts as Dhaka City Corporation North and Dhaka City Corporation South (The daily star, 2011). Government is working with an aim to make Dhaka livable, functional and resilient. In this process to step forward towards sustainability a complete structure plan has introduced. This plan has prepared under Regional Development Planning (RDP) Project within City Region Development Project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works is the implementing agency on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh (Dhaka structure plan 2016-2035). One of the key of this Structure Plan is it will provide long term strategy of Dhaka Metropolitan Region for the tenure of 20 years. Two of the main criteria of this plan are it should be long term indicative and it should have such strategy which will be flexible enough that will guide the future pattern or direction of city development. It will also provide a framework for the architects, engineers or other professionals who are responsible for the development of the city. Ultimately it has some set of vision and goals to accelerate the city sustainability which are summarized in below –

  • Promote a livable city in Dhaka metropolitan area (DMR)
  • Establish and operationalize zones and centers
  • Gear-up the economy in Dhaka Metropolitan Region (DMR)
  • Provide Better Public Facilities
  • Preserve Natural Environment
  • Well connected Transportation network
  • Affordable Housing for City Dwellers
  • Putting the Plan in Practice

Consequently, this report identify direction of development as well as magnitude so far it presents some policies to achieve future goal and objectives including supporting maps and scale composite maps. Criteria for a sustainable city: Recently, concept of urban planning and sustainable development have been in continuous transformation around the world. In fact according to United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP 2009), definitions of urban planning should have fluctuated over period of time. Once urban planning was defined as it is a kind of physical design by controlling the land use. Later, the definition has changed as it is a multidisciplinary and comprehensive framework that focuses to stabilize the regional development and physical organization of space according to set of strategies (He et al., 2011). Moreover, it has been argued by the Global Report (UN-HABITAT, 2009) that urban planning should happened with the perception of the factors shaping twenty-first-century cities. Climate change, socio-spatial challenge, Social inequalities and economic challenges are the factors that has been mentioned in that UN-HABITAT 2009.

UN-HABITAT 2009 determines eight trends in the incorporation of natural system and human system to make connection between green and brown agendas. On that note brown agenda relating to pro-poor urban development and the green agenda relating to ecological sustainability (Allen et al 2002). These Eight trends by UN-HABITAT 2009 are given in below-

  1. Developing renewable energy
  2. According to UN-HABITAT 2009, cities should be moved toward renewable energy and it will enable cities to reduce ecological footprint .In addition to, it should take place with in cities and it should be incorporated with in their land use and built form and comprising a significant and important element of the urban economy. Moreover, Cities should not seemed to be merely consumer of energy, however can be catalysts for additional sustainable energy ways, and might progressively become a part of the Earth’s star cycle (UN-HABITAT 2009,p.116).

  3. Striving for carbon-neutral cities
  4. The UN-HABITAT 2009 states that the main objective of the trend to be ‘carbon-neutral’ cities is to confirm that every home, neighborhood and business should be carbon neutral. To achieve Carbon-neutral goal, cities need to bring down their ecological footprint through energy efficiency and replace fossil fuels and also create counterbalance in the bioregion through ecological regeneration. Additionally, UN-HABITAT 2009 has mentioned three steps to achieve carbon-neutral cities-

    • Minimizing possible energy use particularly in the sector like building and transportation.
    • Go for renewable energy as much as possible but it is to be bear in mind that the production of the renewable energy is not putting up anything substantial to greenhouse gases.
    • Offsetting any CO2 emitted through carbon credits and through plantation of tree.
  5. Developing distributed power and water systems
  6. The Development of distributed power and water systems will decentralize the central power and water systems to small scale system. As this particular power and water distribution system will use electronic control system which will make this system more efficient particularly through water-sensitive urban design and in this way a city can minimize its ecological footprint (UN-HABITAT 2009).

  7. Increasing photosynthetic spaces as part of green infrastructure
  8. Improved energy growth and domestic supply of food and material is a part of urban infrastructure development. By replacing fossil fuels and focusing more on natural system, cities can reduce their ecological footprint through the use of photosynthetic spaces. The concept of ‘’green infrastructure’’ is based on photosynthetic processes. Basically, Green infrastructure point out green and ecological features. Through the transformation of wetlands to urban forest will bring several benefits to cities including clean water, storm water collection and management, climate moderation and cleansing of urban air (UN-HABITAT 2009).

  9. Improving eco-efficiency
  10. Eco-efficient cities reduce their ecological footprint by minimizing waste and resource requirement and can also incorporate green agenda issues within the process. Improving eco-efficiency indicates change from linear to circular loop system where a substantial amount of energy will produce from waste stream (UN-HABITAT 2009, p.121).

  11. Increasing a sense of place
  12. The more place oriented and locally self-sufficient a city’s economy is, the more it will reduce its ecological footprint and ensure that its valuable ecological features are enhanced. Sustainable development is integrated to development of local economy including the ability of people to less travel as their work becomes local. Moreover, generating power from solar, wind or biomass in the locality or region brings economic development that can open more local jobs and revenue as well (UN-HABITAT 2009, p.123).

  13. Developing sustainable transport
  14. Cities that run sustainable transport system can reduce their ecological foot print while density of a city and infrastructure of private and public transport is vital in this regard (UN-HABITAT 2009). Cities should implement walkable transit orient transport system and reducing urban sprawl as well.

  15. Developing ‘cities without slums
  16. Cities without slums is one of the priority goal of UN-HABITAT 2009 in terms of urban development in developing countries. Cities without slums will require innovative approaches through sustainability or brown and green agenda issues of poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as degrading environmental conditions ((UN-HABITAT 2009, p.127)

Assessment: A decade ago, less than 50 percent of people of Bangladesh had access to electricity; Now-a-days, 78 percent have it, underlining the spectacular progress created by the Government of Bangladesh in providing power to all resident (The Daily star, 2016). Power sector of Bangladesh is heavily depends on natural gas which is 88% of total production and 12% on coal and other sources. According to World Bank report Bangladesh has 20.5 TFC recoverable natural gas reserve and 420 million tons of coal reserve. On the other hand, 40% of the total electricity generation is consumed by the capital city of Dhaka. However, electricity demand is increasing by 10% per annum. In fact Bangladesh has an extensive opportunities in renewable energy sector and significant availability of biomass, solar, bio gas, hydropower and wind energy can bring opportunities to the sustainable energy development (Chowdhury N, 2015).

To step forward to renewable energy efficient project Dhaka strategic plan (policy-Eng./1.2) focuses more on research and development initiatives. Over a decade, universities and research institutes has not shown their interest to research on that particular renewable energy sector due to lack of financial resources. Moreover, lack of expert knowledge has been a challenge for promoting renewable energy. As a consequence, this sector is getting less prioritized. To implement more energy efficient project firstly, allotment of budget is necessary for research and development. Secondly, solar-powered vehicles should be introduced as Bangladesh is the most climatic endangered country in the world (Barua D, 2017).

Besides, Introducing new technologies on wind base energy for both utility scale and micro generation level will be an effective way. Also conservation of energy will be substantial and to get the desirable result it is important to ensure the efficient use of energy in the industrial, building, transport and consumer sectors. Another implementation tool that has been indicated in Dhaka structure plan is the integration of energy storage system and the use of cleaner energy sources must be encouraged. The second trend of sustainable city according to UN-HABITAT 2009 is making the city carbon neutral. Moreover, cities have a vital role to play in the war against climate change. They need to assemble more stakeholders of the urban landscape to make them a part of a cycle to minimize carbon emissions (Le lab, 2017). As Dhaka is currently far ahead from its carrying capacity, waste management is a challenging issue. Moreover, significant amount of methane (CH4) is producing everyday as most of the waste is composed of organic material (Dhaka Structure plan Policy-SW/1.4). It is certainly true that minimizing carbon emissions in Dhaka in a quick succession is nearly impossible because of its population and other issues. In fact an improved legislative process and strong legislative bodies is important to mitigate high carbon emissions.

In the strategic level Dhaka structure plan outlines the process of capturing CHG emissions from solid waste. Although, poor technological capabilities is a challenge in this process, taking technological support from technological advance countries may be a solution to set up power generating plant from organic waste. In addition to that local technology should be improved by involving universities and research institute. At the end of the day it is compulsory that both city corporation (DCC south & DCC north) should play an active role to involve community people in this process to reduce ecological footprints.

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