At present world is transforming rapidly towards urbanization. In 2016, an estimated 54.5 percent of the world’s population lived in urban settlements. By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants (UN Data Booklet on The World’s Cities in 2016). By 2050, the world urban population would reach a total of 6.25 billion, 80 percent of whom may be living in developing regions, and concentrated in cities of Africa and Asia (World Economic and Social Survey 2013).
So the implementation of sustainable Development Goals will be very challenging for all countries. In Bangladesh the picture is same. Dhaka’s urban population is growing at an estimated 4 percent each year since independence. More than 38 % of total urban population of Bangladesh lives in Dhaka.
Urbanization worldwide has been found to be an effective engine of economic growth and socio-cultural development. In pure economic terms, urbanization contributes significantly to the national economy. Bangladesh (with less than 28 percent of population being urban) urban sector contributed more than 60 percent of the GDP in 2009 (Choe and Roberts, 2011, p. 120). Dhaka has become the principle metropolis for socio-economic, cultural as well as political developments of the country. It has accelerated urban migration from rural area especially in Dhaka city. It has created environmental, economic and social problems for urban management of Dhaka megacity.
But Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) No-11 is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030. Bangladesh Government took initiative for full realization of SDGs, including sustainable cities through institutional mechanism. For this reason Annual Performance Agreement (APA) was signed between Cabinet Division and Ministry of Housing & Public Works for planned urbanization for ensuring sustainable city. Accordingly, APA was also further signed between Ministry and RAJUK for achieving this objective. But RAJUK (Capital Development Authority) is facing various challenges for planned urbanization and sustainable city in Dhaka. So we should find out the way forward to an eco-friendly Dhaka for socio-economic developments of Bangladesh.
1.2. Problem Statement
Dhaka is the single city that comprises 38% total urban population in Bangladesh (Brian Roberts and Trevor Kanaley, 2006, p-46). Bangladesh is a rural-agrarian country. Now it is rapidly transforming towards urbanization owing to industrialization and population migration.
As a result, urban governance has become a challenge for institution like RAJUK, which is responsible for planned urbanization for sustainable structural development in Dhaka. Draft Dhaka Structure Plan (2016-2035) focuses that very high population growth rate, wetlands’ encroachment, lack of essential urban spaces, informal city pattern, extremely rapid peri-urban expansion, jurisdiction and area coverage of institutions such as union parisad has worsened planned and ordered structural expansion of Dhaka.
In this regard, RAJUK’s Development Control Section looks after the density zoning and height zoning affairs for urban management procedures and eight zonal offices have been created by RAJUK under Development Control Section, which is facing heavy pressure for planned city development. For this problem is taken to explore the mechanism to meet the challenges.
1.3. Principal Theme or Question
What are the challenges of RAJUK in ensuring sustainable city in Dhaka?
1.4. Factors or Questions Relevant to the Issue
i. What is sustainable city?
ii. What are the indicators for sustainable city?
iii. To what extent planned urbanization can ensure sustainable city in Dkaka?
iv. What institutional role RAJUK can play for planned urbanization for sustainable Dhaka city?
v. Are legal and policy reform initiative necessary for RAJUK in this regard?
i. To identify major challenges of RAJUK in ensuring sustainable city in Dhaka,
ii. To explore the solutions and recommendations for RAJUK’s better performance for sustainable and planned Dhaka city.
i. RAJUK’s Land Use Clearance and building permission process area are to be covered for planned urbanization challenges.
ii. Building permission process whether ensures green space or not in reality.
iii. Monitoring process of deviation is also taken into consideration including eviction of unplanned construction time limit.
iv. Limited scope for reviewing the activities of other interrelated institutions like Dhaka City Corporation, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, WASA and DESCO.
v. Monitoring of private land developer.
1.7. Rationale for Such Issue
For better governance of RAJUK Zonal Office, the discussion has policy reform implication. It helps us to explore challenges of RAJUK’s Zonal Office to translate the policy into reality which will ultimately ensure eco-city in Dhaka.
i. Time limit,
ii. Limited scope interviewing authority and service recipient.
iii. Limited scope for reviewing the activities of other interrelated institutions like Dhaka City Corporation, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, WASA and DESCO.
1.9. Sustainable City
A sustainable city is one where ecological, cultural and economic systems are aligned in such a way so as to support a sustainable urban future (The Guardian, UK (Daily), 24 February, 2012). The Urban 21 Conference held in Berlin in 2000 suggested that being a sustainable city means “improving the quality of life in a city, including ecological, cultural, political, institutional, social, and economic components without leaving a burden on future generations” (Antrop 2006). Zhao indicated that a sustainable city is one that can provide and ensure sustainable welfare for its residents with the capacity of maintaining and improving its ecosystem services (Zhao et al. 2009).
In its early stages, theoretical studies of sustainable city stemmed from the urban planning and design fields. Since the concept of “sustainable development” developed in the report “Our Common Future,” a steady and fervent move toward sustainable urban planning has begun, and a series of writings drawing upon theoretical insights into urban form, the urban-rural relationship, scales and density, transportation principles and land use models have emerged. Since the 1990s, the focus of theoretical research has transited from the holistic urban system scale to the local community, covering broader dimensions of urban development ranging from physical components (urban form, system structure, function and metabolism) to abstract connotations including environment (Zingzhu Zhao. 2011).
2. Healthy City
On the other hand, a healthy city is an integrated structure of life, work and movement. It requires urban design that respects the land and the area’s ecosystem: the topography, bodies of water and vegetation. This design guides investments made by the public and private sectors and must involve the intelligent use of density, compactness and a mixture of uses and income levels (Jaime Lerner, How to build a sustainable city, The New York Times, 7 December, 2015, USA). The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) Sustainable Cities’ Programme attempted to define a sustainable city as one “where achievements in social, economic and physical development are made to last” (United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat, 2002, p. 6).
For sustainable city, sustainable planning and development require integration of social, economic, environmental and institutional and functional considerations, based on a clear vision and objectives for sustainable human, built and natural environments. An integrated approach also treats planning, implementation, operation and maintenance and replacement of infrastructure as an integrated and cyclical asset management process.
2.2. Four Pillars of Sustainable City
2.3. Sustainable Development
Sustainable city concept was emerged from sustainable development theory. Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, in her famous book “Our Common Future” popularly known as Brundtland Report defines sustainable development as “development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.” This definition includes two key elements.
First, there is recognition of essential needs and of limitation on the environment’s ability to meet those needs. The bridging of these with sustainable development is important because it offers legal and policy solutions to some most significant challenges of our era, including meeting essential need for food, energy water, sanitation, conserving and enhancing the resource base, reviving growth and changing its quality, reorienting technology and managing risk.
Second, sustainable development has significant procedural elements. It has been described as an open and participatory process of environmental, social, economic, cultural and political change that can be achieved through protecting and enhancing ecosystems, transforming the direction of investments and the orientation of technology and re-design institution to ensure current and future potential to meet the needs and aspirations of communities.
In other word, sustainable development means the process of progressive change in quality of life of human by means of economic growth with social equity and transformation of production methods and consumption patterns sustained by ecological balance and life support system of the region. The sustainable has three pillars such as social development, economic progress and environment protection.
Sustainable development is the adjustment of economic, social and political development. Actually it means reconciliation between economic and socio-political development. It brings sustainable development. It ensures equitable distribution of resources among all people and it is called sustainability. So sustainable development can be shown in the following way-
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is known as SDGs are the guiding principles for sustainable development for the next 15 years. The new Agenda containing 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets are integrated and indivisible. World leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad and universal policy agenda. They set out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting them collectively to the pursuit of global development and of “win-win” cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world. Sustainable city is one of most important goals of 17 SDGs which is described in SDG no-11 of Agenda-2030. SDG -11.3 states that by 2030 to make cities sustainable it is necessary to enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.
So a sustainable city is that meets its present needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. More specifically, a sustainable city is one that improves and enhances its natural, social and economic resources in ways that allow current and future members of the community to lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives (Santa Monica, Page 28). For a sustainable city the things such as Resource Conservation, Environmental and Public Health, Transportation, Sustainable Local Economy, Open Space and Land Use, Housing, Community Education and City Participation, Arts and Culture and Human Dignity are essential (Sustainable City Plan: City of Santa Monica-2014, P-5).
On the other hand “Our Cities, Our Future: Policies and Action Plans for Health and Sustainable Development” edited by Charles Price and Agis Tsouros (1996) offers a more extensive focus on Healthy cities’ developments in the North, primarily those belonging to the European Healthy Cities Network. In addition to case studies from cities, it provides an examination of the Healthy Municipals’ programmes which currently exist in the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as keynote speeches on action plans presented at the Madrid Conference in 1996.
The third book, published late in 1998, is “Healthy City Projects in Developing Countries: An International Approach to Local Problems” by Edmundo Werna, Trudy Harpham, Ilona Blue and Greg Goldstein. After discussing the key elements of a Healthy Cities programme and how they evolved, it describes the different phases of Healthy Cities Projects, including planning, implementation and evaluation with illustrations drawn from case studies in Quetta (Pakistan), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Fayoum (Egypt), Campinas (Brazil) and Bangkok (Thailand). Although these overviews provide a good insight into Healthy Cities’ developments in both the North and South, most Healthy Cities’ programmes are too recent for there to be much detailed documentation about them, let alone evaluations of their impacts (Marina Kenzer, 1999, p-203).
In Agenda 21, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, “promoting human settlement development” was regarded as an important discussion area under the headings of human settlement management, sustainable land-use planning, sustainable energy and transports systems, human resource development and integrated provision of environmental infrastructure. In the declaration, “promoting human settlement planning and management in disaster-prone areas” can be evaluated as an important programme area to reveal how the development goals for human settlements, economic sectors and environmental resources must be reformulated to establish both “a culture of safety” and “pre-disaster planning” in urban and rural communities [UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division of Sustainable Development (Ü. Manderetal (2006)].
New Urban Agenda in Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All 2016 which urges the equal use and enjoyment of cities and human settlements, seeking to promote inclusivity and ensure that all inhabitants of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.( UN General Assembly Resolution, 2016).
2.4. Relevancy of Urban Law and Policy
To ensure planned urbanization and sustainable city better urban law policies are the precondition to it. The Habitat III -2016 states that Urban law is the collection of policies, laws, decisions and practices that govern the management and development of the urban environment. It is a broad and diverse field but one that justifies being considered collectively because of the interaction of its various elements within the single, inclusive but diverse, space that is the urban environment. Urban law has several important characteristics. These are:
i. It governs the key functions of towns and cities and reflects the rights and responsibilities of the residents and users of these urban areas. The functions are diverse, including urban planning municipal finance, urban land administration and management, infrastructure provision, mobility and local economic development among others.
ii. It exists at various levels from internationally recognized rights, such as the right to housing, to national legislation and on to municipal rules or by-laws that often govern local issues such as the provision of services or the management of public space.
iii. Terminology may vary among countries, but law may be expressed through a variety of instruments that primarily fall within the three categories of: a) primary legislation; b) subsidiary or delegated regulations (law made by powers conferred in primary legislation and usually including many forms of rules, codes, orders etc), and c) also ‘softer’ instruments such as policies and administrative instructions of governments at all levels.
iv. It often has a dual character with an apparently neutral technical nature accompanied by a complex social aspect including the potential for differential impact on different groups within the urban environment. Impacts on vulnerable groups, such as the poor and the socially marginalized, being of particular concern.
v. It must be considered in the context of the institutions and processes that are established by it or that are expected to implement it.
2.4. Relevant Laws and Policies
A) The Building Construction Act-1952: The Building Construction Act-1952 is an Act to provide for the prevention of haphazard constructions of buildings and excavation of tanks which are likely to interfere with the planning of certain areas in Bangladesh. The Act provides for rules to comply with, in particular, when excavating or re-excavating a tank in a certain area of the country. The term “tank” includes ditch, drain, well and channel as per clause f, Section 2. Excavation or re-excavation of a tank must be sanctioned by an Authorized Officer, and restrictions apply to cutting or razing hills (Section 3C and 3D) especially if there is danger of siltation or obstructing any drain, river or stream as per clause b of Section 3C.
B) Town Improvement Act-1953: Town Improvement Act-1953 is an Act to provide for the development, improvement and expansion of the Capital of the Republic and Narayangonj and Tongi Municipalities and certain areas to their vicinity and the constitution of a Kartripakkha there for. It is the first statute which recognized the need for planning approach and created a special agency for development such as preparation of master plans, improvement schemes and their implementations. The objectives of the TI Act- 1953 are to-
i. Develop, improve and expand city of Dhaka by opening up congested areas,
ii. Laying out of altering streets,
iii. Providing open spaces for the purpose of ventilation or recreation,
iv. Demolition or construction buildings,
v. Acquiring land for the said purpose and for,
vi. Re?housing of persons displaced by the exclusion of improvement schemes.
C) The Dhaka Metropolitan Building Construction Rules-2008: It controls development by imposing conditions on setbacks, site coverage, construction of garages, access to plot, provision of lift, land use of that particular plot and height of building. Restricting the height of a building in BC Rules-2008 helps to control the density of an area and manage the growth of the city in some ways. It provides more authority to RAJUK in the following ways:
1. Clear-cut responsibility to monitor the development of the city,
2. Spread out the responsibilities to various actors,
3. Spelled out responsibilities of building designers, structural engineers, site supervisors and their penalties etc.
4. Ensuring proper plan of the building construction.
D) Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC): The Building Code would serve the purpose of a uniform national standard. The work to develop the Code began in 1992 and was completed by the end of 1993.
Purpose of the Code: The purpose of the Code is to establish minimum standards for design, construction, quality of materials, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of buildings within Bangladesh in order to safeguard, within achievable limits, life, limb, health, property and public welfare.
Scope of the Code: The provisions of this Code shall apply to the design, construction or occupancy, alteration, moving, demolition, repair of any building or structure and to any appurtenances installed therein or connected or attached thereto, except such matters as are otherwise provided in other ordinances and statues controlling and regulating buildings. It is stated that the provisions of the code are applicable to all persons of Bangladesh.
E) DAP (Detailed Area Plan): The general objectives of DAP are to implement the provisions of the DMDP Structure Plan (SP) and Urban Area Plan (UAP) policies and recommendations. The preparation of DAP is to be based on detailed surveys, studies and analysis of the study area. The DAP processes are to be prepared and implemented through community participation to make the planning more people oriented.
Purpose of DAP: The provision of DAP is inherent in the Structure Plan with some specific purposes. These are to-
a. Provide basic infrastructure and services in the study are through systematic planning.
b. Create congenial environment to promote economic activities.
c. Improve drainage system of the area and protect flood flow from encroachment.
d. Create service centers to enable urban growth.
E) Land Development Rules for Private Housing-2004: This is a legal instrument for controlling land development in private sector housing. It provides procedures and guidelines for land development protecting the environment. It also spells out the percentages of land that must be kept for community facilities, amount of land to be sold out, school sites, road hierarchy and importantly planning standards, for example, allocation of land per 1000 population.
2.5. Dhaka Structure Plan
Draft Dhaka Structural plan (2016-2035) states that its vision is to making Dhaka a livable, functional and resilient metropolis respecting local socio-cultural fabric and environmental sustainability. The vision stands upon three pillars- Livability, Functionality and Resilience. It also has two conditions-respects towards a. local socio-cultural fabric and b. environmental sustainability. The pillars are forward looking in nature playing the role of driving forces for the plan.
Livability here refers to a collection of qualities considered desirable by inhabitants of a locality. It is concerned mainly with the experience from an individual resident’s perspective. Consequently, enhancing livability is supposed to enhance the experience of a resident living within a community in a positive way. Parameters that come forth while judging livability of an area may include, but not limited to, the followings:
i. Accessibility to services and facilities,
ii. Affordability (housing, transportation etc.),
iii. Meaningful employment opportunity,
iv. Safety and security,
v. Cleanliness and hygiene,
vi. Social equity and justice,
vii. Sense of community,
viii. Availability of quality education & healthy facilities,
ix. Attractiveness and adequacy public places,
xi. Healthy natural environment,
xii. Interesting cultural activities,
xiii. Opportunities for public participation.
Functionality is related to the efficiency with which the components of an urban system operate. It sees the settlement from above to get the larger picture. In a way it is the organizational or city manager’s perspective that is more concerned with large systems and their functioning than an individual’s experience of those systems. The essence of functionality is the effectiveness and efficiency of key systems like the followings:
iii. Social services (health and education),
iv. Utility/life support systems,
vii. Natural environment and ecosystem,
Resilience is perceived here as the capability of a community to prevent catastrophic events and also the ability to recover in case the event occurs. It can be compared with the immune system of human body. Regarding the metropolitan region, essential components of resilience are, first, to be aware of the disaster risks that threaten everyday life of its inhabitants and, second, to create the capacity to prevent and recover from any disaster that occurs. Thus it incorporates both the preventive and curative aspects. The vision is to make the metropolitan region resilient to the followings:
i. Natural and anthropogenic hazards,
ii. Economic downturn/depression,
iii. Climate change impacts [Draft Dhaka Structure Plan (2016-2035), Page 2]. The Structure Plan has been prepared for the whole development control area of RAJUK. The topics covered by the Dhaka Metropolitan Region (DMR) Structure Plan are as follows:
iv. The Vision,
v. Dhaka: Past and Present,
vi. Future Growth Direction,
vii. Effective Land Use Management for Livable Dhaka,
viii. Transport for Efficient Connectivity,
ix. Affordable Housing for All,
x. Enhancing Dhaka’s Employment and Productivity,
xi. Public Facilities For Better Living,
xii. Protecting Natural And Healthy Environment,
xiii. Preserving Open Space For Recreation, Livability And Identity,
xiv. Resilience through Disaster Prevention and Mitigation,
xv. Enhance the Cityscape with Urban Design and Landscape,
xvi. Governance and Institutional Development of Dhaka [Dhaka Structure Plan (2016-2035), P-23]
Dhaka has 18.8 million populations with 7.4 % growth rate and in 2030 total population will be 27.3 million and growth rate will be 12.5% (World Population Review, 2017). It shows that a sustainable city is the only solution for urban development in Dhaka. Accordingly the Perspective Plan (2010-2021) has put emphasis on urban management and development.
Ambitious urban development programs during the perspective plan period will be adopted. These programs will be based on the policies and strategies as set out below:
Patterns and Process of Urbanization: To achieve this more balanced distribution of urban centres in terms of population size, employment opportunities, housing and essential infrastructure and services is to be ensured.
Urban Governance: Policies and focus on institutional reforms and decentralization of responsibilities, building capacity of all actors (institutions, groups and individuals) to contribute fully to decision-making and urban development processes and facilitating networking at all levels.
Urban Economic Development: This involves initiative to combine available skills to be suitably upgraded, resources and ideas to stimulate the local economy towards the goals of job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Urban Environmental Management: Policies and strategies to promote cleaner environment, control pollution and protect public health from environmental hazards.
Urban Housing: Access to affordable urban housing for all.
Urban Transportation: Policies and strategies in developing an integrated and balanced transportation system.
Urban Land Management and Planning: Basic infrastructure and services at the community level include the delivery of safe water, sanitation, waste management, social welfare, transport and communications facilities, energy, health and emergency services, schools, public safety, and the management of open spaces.
Implementation of policies and strategies as set out in the perspective plan will help the country manage its ongoing urbanization process in a better way and to make full use of our cities and towns as engines of development. [Bangladesh Perspective Plan (2010-2021), P74-76]
All the goals set in the Perspective Plan include the characteristics of sustainable city. It is, therefore, a guiding principle for sustainable urban development. Urban areas particularly the big cities including Dhaka have serious pollution problems with respect to solid waste management, growth of slum areas without supply of clean water, and sanitation facilities, with congested living conditions, inadequate drainage system, and untreated industrial waste disposal.
Most of these factors affect the urban poor in terms of general hardship, ill-health and even death. Another serious problem in the urban areas is improperly planned land development, whereby low lying lands, canals, and ponds are filled up for constructing residential and commercial buildings. Apart from housing shortage, the majority of houses is structurally poor, lack services and utilities and built without proper planning which demands proper action plan and institutional initiatives make Dhaka city livable and sustainable.
Accordingly capital development authority (i.e. RAJUK) is entrusted with responsibilities in ensuring sustainable city in Dhaka. The Building Construction Act-1953 and the Building Construction Rules-2008 are enacted to control and to ensure planned urbanization. The section -3 provides restriction on construction of building and excavation of tank and section-3A sets the rule for restriction on improper use of lands and buildings and section 3B for direction for removal of construction. The Building Construction Rule-2008 provides the procedures for approval of building construction and prevention.
But all things are in theory not in practice. The Play Ground, Open Space, Park and Natural Water Bodies Conservation Act-2000 contains the provisions for open space, play ground, park and natural water bodies conservation in Dhaka city including other urban areas. Real Estate Development and Management Act-2010 prescribes the construction of building as per approved plan design from RAJUK.
Moreover, the Private Housing Project Land Development Rules 2004 prevents the private party and companies the use of restricted land for public purposes. So we find more rule and legal provision in favour of RAJUK, but it does not show its application in reality. Now Dhaka has become the 2nd worst livable city in World Ranking (The Daily Star, 19 August, 2015). It is because of absence of proper city planning, lack of zoning in reality, inadequate green space, play ground, children park, elderly people space, cultural facility and non-availability of health facilities, city drainage system, water retention pond, flash flood, monsoon rainfall, inadequate road space, water ways, encroachment in river canals and other water bodies, slums, rural urban rapid migration, unplanned land development violating urban law and RAJUK Rules and instruction.
Thus RAJUK is facing so many emerging problems. It has accelerated the situation bad owing to corruption of RAJUK officials. To overcome problems RAJUK institutional approach is evidently essential. In this regard city to city cooperation under UN-HABITAT and sister city concept can be the best example to follow to ensure sustainable city. The model below can be an example of initiating a sustainable city programme in sustainable city in Dhaka. The UNHABITAT’s 2009 Global Report on Human Resettlement reveals that cities today are approaching these challenges by the following-
i. Enriching the content of SUD framework to integrate more proactive and incentivizing measures toward certain urbanization issues of great importance (e.g. poverty reduction or climate change).
ii. Setting up institutional and regulatory mechanisms to support good planning.
iii. Enhancing the process of city planning through participatory and coordination mechanisms.
Here city to city cooperation can be introduced for better city life. Cities see tangible benefits for themselves and their citizens in engaging in international exchange. The development of C2C from the original culturally-based town twinning concepts to the present much broader range of motivations could not have occurred without the keen interest and active commitment of elected members and officials. City to City Cooperation between BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) and Yokohoma city are an example for this regard. Another example is Metro Manila which consists of district and 17 small cities.
Case study: managing rapid urban growth in a sustainable way in Curitiba, Brazil is important model for Dhaka in ensuring sustainable city (Internet source: Coolgeograpy.Co.UK). According to Agenda 21, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, building sustainable cities require investment in (a) renewable energy sources, (b) efficiency in the use of water and electricity, (c) design and implementation of compact cities, (d) retrofitting of buildings and increase of green areas, (e) fast, reliable and affordable public transportation and (f) improved waste and recycling systems. Cities in poor countries need resources to support green technology transfer, and capacity development and to improve access to soundly constructed housing, water and sanitation, electricity, health and education [World Economic and Social Survey (2013), p-53].
For the above mentioned purpose relevant books are Agenda 21, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, UN Department of Economic and social affairs, Division of Sustainable Development Report, UN Habitat Report, The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS