The Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) has demanded the country's future urban development be done according to plans. The speakers at a webinar titled "Future Urbanization in Bangladesh: Priority Issues" made the demand on Sunday.
The virtual discussion was held in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The speakers said, "Prerequisites for planned urbanisation are sound and sustainable planning; but, planning practice is missing at different stages of Bangladesh's development implementation."
BIP's leaders also said the housing policy implementation rate is very low in Bangladesh.
President of BIP, Professor Dr Akter Mahmud, presented the keynote paper at the webinar. He said, "The population of 18 cities in Bangladesh is more than 200,000; therefore, the cities with medium-sized populations should be the main focus of future city activities."
"Dhaka is far ahead of other cities in terms of education, administration, medicine, and population; but, among the divisional cities, the population of Khulna has been declining since 2000, which paints a picture of the country's unbalanced urban planning," he added.
The 8th five-year plan points out the outlines of cities.
He further said, "Arrangements should be made to deliver city services to the villages. In addition, regional and national planning needs to be coordinated with local level planning to eliminate development inequalities."
General Secretary of BIP, Dr Adil Muhammod Khan, said, "The big projects of this country are not people-friendly. Planning always follows development [elsewhere] but in our country, it is the opposite."
"If we cannot question this upside-down process, the success of our big projects will not come. Nor will our lifestyle be changed for the better," he added.
"We have not been able to establish the philosophy of such a plan that would be able to contain the socio-culture of Bangladesh, even in fifty years of independence. The social and environmental impact analysis of each infrastructure development plan is very important but in our major projects no such analysis is planned and there is no public involvement in project adoption and implementation," he continued.
Md Maksud Hashem, chief urban planner, Dhaka South City Corporation; Md Akhtaruzzaman, country representative, UN-Habitat Bangladesh; Dr Md Liaquat Ali, director of Brac's Urban Development Project; Professor Halima Begum, president of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Jahangirnagar University; also spoke at the event, among others.