The livability of the cities is of crucial concern while ensuring the well-being of the inhabitants and setting a benchmark for planning and implementing sustainable habitation for the whole country. The third and final panel discussion of the 4th Bangladesh Economic Summit took place on 1 March 2022.
According to a press release, the topic of the discussion was "Reimagining rural-urban spaces and sustainable cities".
The discussion was chaired by Dr. Firdousi Naher, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Mohammad Saidur Rahman, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Bangladesh Agricultural University; Dr. Nawshad Ahmed, Economist, urban planner and former UN official; and Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh were the panelists for the session.
At the very beginning of his statement, Dr. Nawshad Ahmed drew attention to the fact that urbanization is not always bad for a city and that it brings along business, technological and infrastructural developments with it. However, he also stated that urbanization increases inequality and this problem is even more severe in our country. According to him, "Government must implement policies in order to tackle this ever growing problem of inequality that's been happening."
Later in his statement, Dr. Ahmed said, "Many of the problems of urbanization are related to the centralized system of the country." He then drew examples from some of the Latin American countries and said that our country is still not ready for the rapid urbanization that has been going on because the service sector is yet to prove their capability to facilitate it. He also added that development planning should be designed by the local government bodies to tackle the problems of urbanization.
Farah Kabir started her statement by focusing on the poor condition of the slums of Dhaka city and said, "Dhaka wasn't planned to provide services to so many people." She said that problems related to noise pollution and waste management are on the rise and the government has not come up with adequate policies to address these problems. She also talked about the fact that the vulnerability of the people living in the slums has increased during the pandemic and the government is yet to come up with plans for creating spaces for participation. According to Farah Kabir, "Social cohesion needs to increase by several folds to handle any problem in the near future."