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The struggle for urban livelihoods and the quest for a functional city

Reconciling informal and statutory planning institutions in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Under the impact of globalisation Bangladesh is rapidly urbanising. By 2020 almost half of the population of Bangladesh will live in urban areas. The metropolitan area of Dhaka will come under intensive pressure to provide land for additional housing considering the restrictions set by flood hazards. The shrinking supply of land suitable for urban development will further increase building densities in informal inner city settlements where the poor are seeking access to urban livelihoods.

In the pursuance of livelihoods the urban poor run the risk to sacrifice the functionality of the city by blocking vehicular access, encroaching upon land reserved for public infrastructure, threatening public health and settling on flood-prone land. The statutory planning system is, however, ill equipped to establish an appropriate balance between the vital interests of individual households and enterprises on the one hand and public welfare on the other.

The proposed project is based on the proposition that the interface between statutory planning and ‘social regulation’ at the grass-roots has to be developed in order to achieve more sustainable patterns of urban growth. Information on future states of the city derived from urban growth visualisations at  the settlement level and communicated in scenarios will be shared with both informal orgamizations and the statutory planning system in participatory procedures.

Research team

at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Spatial Planning, Universität Dortmund

project speaker: Prof'in Dr.-Ing. Sabine Baumgart

project coordinator: Prof. Dr. Volker Kreibich

research associate: Dipl.-Ing. Shahadat Hossain

research associate: Dipl.-Ing. Kirsten Hackenbroch

student assitant: cand.-Ing. Maarit Benson

student assistant: cand.-Ing. Sonja Dieckmann