|Rahman Kazi Ar- Rafiur, Farhat Khandoker, Noor Sumaiya Marzan
|Dilruba Ferdous Shuvra, Farzana Siddiqua
|American International University-Bangladesh
The project won the 2nd prize at National level category in an International competition on the “Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing”, initiated by UN-Habitat as a part of their Global Housing Strategy’s campaign. A team of faculties and students of architecture department, AIUB participated in the competition held from September 2013 to January 2014. The team proposed densification through rebuilding of Shajahanpur railway colony site with recycled shipping containers while improving microclimate through vegetation, urban agriculture and urban furniture.
Because of its Geographical location, other than being most vulnerable to Global Warming Effect, Bangladesh has some positive aspects as well. It is located very close to the two GIANT SEA PORTS of the world ( Singapore and Malaysia) and also have two of its own (CHITTAGONG and MONGLA). This has let the country acquire quite a large amount of WASTED SHIPPING CONTAINERS in the past years. The number of WASTED CONTAINERS continues to rise as the country is growing its economy (especially in the Garments Sector).
The key concept of the project is to use the RECYCLED SHIPPING CONTAINERS by providing very COMPACT MODULAR Design with minimum footprint in order solve the mass housing need of the country. Particularly, for the Govt, Railway colony site like Shajahanpur, this container unit can be easily transported as required. Never the less, housing with this solution can be used as an example all over the country to provide standard MASS HOUSING to the poor people currently residing in SLUMS.
For the record, in Shajahanpur Railway Staff Colony, the existing buildings are all 4 storied constructed with LOAD BEARING WALLS and are capable of withstanding Earthquakes of range not more than 6 in Richter scale. These buildings are at high risk to destruction at any moment and are not in any condition to be RETROFITTED. The abandoned open area (building footprint only 22%) of the site is currently occupied by unauthorized settlements and severely deteriorating the socio-ecological environment of the locality. There is a need for revitalization through densification while ensuring a balance between exiting social group and the high economic value of the site (located very close to CBD of capital Dhaka).
The proposed COMPACT MODULE of recycled container will result in prevention of UNAUTHORIZED ILLEGAL INTERVENTION, whereas a similar Housing project dedicated for the unauthorized people can produce legal grounds for them to stay in the locality and continue the EXISTING SOCIAL RELATION and INTERACTION between the user groups and also help the Government achieve the DESIRED URBAN DENSITY.
Since, Bangladesh railway have its PROJECT CONSTRUCTION range limited to its OWN EMPLOYEE HOUSING, EDUCATIONAL and RELIGIOUS structures such additional Housing for the Unauthorized will have to be commenced by Railway Staff Welfare Trust ( Non Profitable Inter Railway Ministry Organization).
This Trust can simultaneously build Projects like Unauthorized Housing , Railway Museum, Shopping Complex and even Cultivation and Agricultural works by taking land LEASE from Bangladesh Railway. The monthly profit from these projects (after paying the monthly lease) is then distributed among the Staffs. These Functions will make the locality economically more viable and will let its residents be self sufficient with Food and money.
Urban Agriculture will not only maintain balance between the URBAN and Rural LIFE, but will also compensate the loss of the Agricultural lands all over the country ( 1% annually). its open soakable GREEN SPACES will also help Dhaka to regain its GROUND WATER CONTENT which is dropping at an alarming rate every year.
Using the Containers reduces the construction cost by about 45% * and sums up into an amount of USD $ 9.1 Million. Such an amount could be financed by Bangladesh Railway, along with other FOREIGN LOANS (with an interest rate of 2%). Moreover, Bringing these RECYCLED CONTAINERS into work might reduce the use of BRICKS in construction which in turn will stop the anomalous growth of BRICK FIELDS in Bangladesh, which are responsible for a 1% ANNUAL DECLINATION of AGRICULTURAL LAND and EMISSION of HAZARDOUS GREEN HOUSE GASES ,POLLUTING THE ENVIRONMENT.
The Railway Staff welfare may also need to take loan to commence such big projects, and this can be easily done from the Government banks under EASED CONDITIONS.
it is wise to hand over the MANAGEMENT and MAINTENANCE issues to a third private and well reputed Organizations (preferably NGOs) , since so far, Bangladesh Railway have not been promising about maintenance ( As shown in report).
A certain percentage of field workers to be used for MAINTENANCE can be taken from the unauthorized populations, which will cause them a favor and will help them earn some extra money.