|Md Tariquzzaman Tomal
|Prof. Dr. Khandaker Shabbir Ahmed, Prof. Dr. Shayer Ghafur, Dr. Nasreen Hossain, Patrick D’ Rozario , Muhaimeen Islam Bhadhon, Labib Hossain
| From the submission |
Dhaka Metropolitan Region (DMR) is experiencing phenomenal growth since the independence of the country. Due to regular migration from outside of the city, it is getting over crowded with time thus influencing rapid urbanization. The problem is further aggravated by limited land supply in urban areas, lower land utilization and lack of proper policy and planning of integrated land use and transportation system. The over-congestion of the core city calls for an imminent vision for redistribution of activities for a more balanced metropolitan region. The main theme of the proposed “Multi-Core Mega Urban” concept was to decentralize concentration i.e. diffusing the major functions performed by the core city and redistributing it to different urban centers with high levels of accessibility within the regional boundary of RAJUK. Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), with a combination of train and bus, is suggested to be the most popular solution to support the masses of Dhaka. This will help to create a hierarchical framework of different magnitudes of urban centers providing corresponding levels of services and employment opportunities to meet the local demand that will reduce long-distance trip generation thus traffic congestion.
By definition, a center is a place where varying concentration and combination of retail, commercial, civic, cultural and residential uses are focused around transport facilities that make its live and vibrant. The adjacent area of the site can be characterized by as a center connecting north-south and east-west of the city with intense traffic, dense commercial & mixed use development and other recreational public spaces. The prime concern of this project was the creation of an urban tissue with metro station as a logical center, combing the functions of transportation and social communication. The intention of the project was to ensure seamless urban experience through pedestrian interconnection and land use integration with site & surroundings that will facilitate steady incoming and outgoing pedestrian traffic with obvious and convenient intermodal transfer within transit center to solve the last mile problem. Finally, to take challenges of integrating architecture and urban design which deals with the terms and issues regarding transport planning, urban intervention, pedestrian linkage and urban regeneration.
CONCEPT & CONSIDERATIONS
Strategic visioning framework
This project tried to envision some strategic framework to make it a sustainable transit center that will not only facilitate steady incoming and outgoing pedestrian traffic but also regenerates local urban fabric. The utmost consideration for this project were followings-
Complete Street Network, MRT as a system the viability of this mega project depends on other mode of transit specially walking, cycling, public transit and pedestrian oriented development strategy. To ensure those facilities within catchment area we need to establish street hierarchy, access hierarchy, should avoid cul-de-sacs, should promote integrated and continuous pedestrian access, safe and secure shared street that will allow all types of vehicles which will solve the last mile problem and will help to reduce pedestrian & vehicular congestion.
Land-use Development, to reduce travel cost MRT system must need to maximize its ridership to ensure its economic viability. To cater its transit ridership each station area should be regenerated as moderate to high density mixed use development (Transit Oriented Development (TOD),Pedestrian Oriented Development (POD)) which will allow diversity, density and pedestrian oriented development within 800m radius from station area to outward . Underutilized, small plot could be amalgamated or transformed into more efficient plot to increase its commercial and social benefit.
Place Making, MRT Infrastructure as a mega urban intervention project could change the urban fabric of the city through its appropriate integration with the adjacent land use, landscaping and with other built and natural environment which will transform the station interface to an appropriate transition area. Thus creating an active urban realm for the city dwellers that will cater waiting, drop-off, disperse and other social & cultural activity which in other way will create an positive image of the city and a strong sense of orientation towards station area.
Multimodal Transportation System, MRT as a system will not sustain until it is properly integrated with the other mode of transit like pedestrian, cycling, public transit, para-transit and water transit system within the catchment area in micro and macro scale. The network of these modes will form an urban tissue which will enhance an integrated system of transportation thus cater its sustainability as a transit center.
Protecting Natural Habitat, At the end of the day we can’t survive fighting with our natural environment. The project intervention strategy should not harm the existing natural settings rather steps should be taken to retrofit existing ecosystem which will help to improve the spatial quality, thermal environment and minimize negative micro and macro climatic impact.
DESIGN BRIEF & PROCESS
The proposed MRT LINE-6 is an elevated structure over the existing transit corridor and stations are distributed along the route at some important locations connecting administrative, cultural, commercial, residential and educational district of the city where each station area is different in its character and identity. So, in the design process the station interface has been designed in a way that reinforces the character of the site which will also act as an active public realm.
The proposed location of the station was in front of Panthakunjo Park at Kawranbazar, Dhaka. The adjacent area of the site can be characterized as a center connecting north-south and east-west of the city with intense traffic, dense commercial & mixed use development and other recreational public spaces. Also a spectacular view to Hatirjheel Lake and existing Panthakunjo Park are the major site forces for the design that will help to create an active urban oasis at the heart of the city.
The prime concern of this project was to retrofit and integrate those built and natural environment with MRT station and to transform the station area as an active, vibrant urban realm that will facilitate not only incoming and outgoing traffic but also act as a social platform for sharing feelings and emotions. In the design, the station was designed considering MRT LINE-6(Elevated) with MRT LINE 5(Conceived Underground), future inland waterways along Hatirjheel and existing ground traffic which connects the north-south and east-west of the city. The design discouraged the route of Dhaka Elevated Expressway(DEEP) along its proposed route that conflicts with the MRT station in its current location and did not comply with many other urban design issues.
The design evolved through some sequential stages. Firstly; it started through the Identification of crowd generating spot within the influence area, Secondly; creation of an active urban realm at those crowed generating spot that will help in efficient transfer of passengers and will connect it with existing urban fabric to allow seamless pedestrian interconnection, Thirdly; creation of a skywalk to connect those urban interface with MRT station to facilitate MRT passengers to find their destination without conflicting with ground traffic , Fourthly; establishment of an interconnecting network within MRT6, MRT5, water bus stand and existing ground traffic., Finally; connection and integration of the station area with the adjacent lake(Hatirjheel) and park (Panthkunjo) to form an active urban oasis.
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