NEXT DHAKA: An Exhibition by Bengal Institute
| Farhat Afzal |
In order to tackle the pressures created by uncoordinated planning initiatives that are leading Dhaka to an inevitable environmental degradation, Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements has been involved in researching and generating new ideas to rethink the urban future of the capital. The ideas were presented at an exhibition that was officially inaugurated on 15th October, 2016.
The exhibition titled NEXT DHAKA: NEW VISIONS OF THE CITY, was launched with the Honourable Finance Minister of the Government of Bangladesh, Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith as Chief Guest. Bengal Institute, an affiliate of Bengal Foundation, has presented its vision at the exhibition in the form of architectural drawings, computer generated renderings, animation videos and models. The visions for a new city were considered at three different scales: regional, inter-city, and civic realm.
In the past decade, Dhaka has been listed as one of the least livable cities numerous times and its dwellers have been deprived of the benefits of quality urban life. With the goal of returning Dhaka to somewhat of its previous glory, Bengal Institute has invested its resources to study, research and design solutions for creating alternative visions for a unique, greener and livable city. The urban design interventions were proposed for two critical areas: Buriganga Riverbank and Gulshan-Kawran Bazar civic corridor.
For the Buriganga Riverbank, the proposal includes: introduction of appropriate riverside activities, connecting north and south riverbanks with a continuous promenade, connecting civic and historic buildings, a large, new plaza called Sadarghat Chottor and generating an active water-based transportation system by creating ghats and stations for river buses and river taxis.
For the Gulshan Avenue to Kawran Bazar civic corridor, the proposal includes: providing a new scheme and standards for the sidewalk that connects major points, hubs and destinations; converting specific city properties to civic spaces with walkable public passages; creating generous public spaces and plazas and promoting parks and gardens.
A proposal was also made for a ‘Dhaka Nexus’ – a system in which the city and its surrounding neighbourhoods are brought under a dynamic and harmonized formation. The system would support innumerable and varied settlements by connecting all old and new nodes and hubs. Here, three transportation rings were proposed: the first ring connects Tongi, Savar and Keraniganj; the second ring connects Narayanganj, Bhulta, Pubail, Gazipur and Hemayetpur; and the third ring connects Munshiganj, Mawa, Narshingdi, Kapasia, Kaliakor and Manikganj. The proposal includes expressways, circular fast train line, circular waterways and radial roads and trainlines.
The research and design team is headed by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, Saif Ul Haque and Masudul Islam Shammo. The ‘Next Dhaka’ exhibition is open for all and will run from 1st November to 20th November, 2016, from 3pm to 8pm, at Bengal Art Lounge, in Gulshan 1.
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