Dhaka / Physical Expansion of Dhaka

Dhaka has grown from a small settlement to today’s mega city. The physical features, topography and demographic features of Dhaka City have always influenced its physical expansion. During the Mughal and British regime, the development of Dhaka city started from the southern part, then the extension continued toward the west and the north. Political importance and trade played significant roles in the city’s growth and expansion. After partitioning of the India from the British Empire, new development followed a formal plan through strong government intervention. During Pakistan period, the development advanced primarily toward the north and it continued rapidly and in an unplanned way toward all sides of the city.

The growth of Dhaka from 1949-1989 followed the limits that were determined by the Mughals. However, the growth caused many low lands to be filled up and all the low-lying areas on the eastern and western sides to become occupied. With the rise of population pressure, the high lands spreading towards the north also came to be occupied. No serious efforts has been undertaken to create a planned city and Dhaka has now been growing by its own demand.

After liberation in 1971, due to the increase in density in Dhaka by migrant workers who want to look for jobs in city as well as refugees who lost their homes due to flooding and cyclones and hope to seek for a safe living in the capital, the city has undergone major changes in its physical form, not only by territorial expansion, but also through internal physical transformations over the last decades. The characteristics of the residential area were being changed and the area was gradually being invaded by non-residential uses like commercial and professional offices, private hospitals and clinics, community centers, educational institutions etc. Plots and open spaces have been transformed into building areas, open squares into car parks, low land and water bodies into reclaimed built-up lands.

With the development of the city, however, the present Dhaka city demonstrates that the development of the city did not succeed to fully meet the requirements of a mega city. Absence of adequate parks, open water bodies, and drainage system has degraded the quality of living in the city in many ways.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.15.31 am The above figure shows the changing pattern of Dhaka City and its population over different time periods, which eventually influenced the form of the city.

Reference:
Morphological Change of Dhaka City Over a Period of 55 Years: A Case Study of Two Wards, Bayes Ahmed, Muhammad Rakibul Hasan Raj, Dr. K. M. Maniruzzaman

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