Dhaka / Metropolitan Development Plan 1995-2015

Dhaka Structure Plan (1995-2015)

For development of the Plan, a project titled ” Preparation of Structure Plan, Master Plan, and Detailed Area Plan-Metropolitan Development and Plans Preparation and Management in Dhaka”. was implemented. The project addressed Dhaka’s urban planning issues at three geographic levels: sub-regional, urban and sub-urban.

The DMDP Structure Plan outlines the long-term development strategy for the period of 1995-2015 for the Dhaka Metropolitan Area allowing for a projected population of 15 million. The plan is contained in a report with the principle strategies shown on accompanying maps. The plan defines a broad set of long-term spatial and sectoral policies for the entire development area under RAJUK’s control. It considers the micro environmental aspects of Dhaka, both in its existing urban form as well as for future development to keep the city free from natural and manmade hazards. The plan promotes the positive and sustainable role of green belts, as well as preserves high quality wet and agricultural lands and existing rivers in and around the city limits and their continuous upgrading and evaluation and thus recommends for building a circular waterways round the city. The plan also proposes a number of retention ponds around the city limits for retaining rain water as well as for maintains the ecological balance and a healthy environment.

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Urban area plan (1995-2005)

The urban area plan was proposed as a midterm development strategy for 10 years for the existing metropolitan area and areas that are to be brought under urban development over the next decade. The urban area plan was a flexible interim development management document designed to eventually be replaced by the detailed area plan (DAP).

According to RAJUK, the full DMDP urban area plan comprises an Explanatory Report which also describes the major features for each of the 26 spatial planning zones (SPZ), the resources map, showing existing infrastructure locations, along with public and private sector development commitments. It also includes an interim management report, interim planning rules, a multi-sectoral investment programme and an urban area plan, showing designated land-use zones.

The detailed area plan (2010)

The detailed area plan (DAP) provides detailed planning proposals for specific subareas in accordance with the broader policies and guidelines outlined in the structure plan and the urban area plan, respectively. A DAP has been prepared for each of the 26 strategic planning zones (SPZ). Each DAP provides a detailed analysis of the area and acts as a reference document, supported by detailed land-use maps and related information, for effective land management.

The DMDP, although following similar strategies to the previous plans, seems to have been able to avoid some of their shortcomings. It advocates the use of flooding-free land in dealing with rising population growth and pressure. Different plans and strategies have been recommended for areas which are at different stages of urban growth. The strategies have been supplemented by a number of phased programmes and projects, especially the construction and extension of roads.

Unlike the plans in 1959 and 1981, it not only advocates growth in peripheral areas but also foresees growth in flood risk area in the eastern fringes. This is facilitated by the construction of flood protection measures in area with high demand for future urban development.

The DMDP was originally thought to have learned from previous failures; however, in reality it was not the case. On the other hand, the planning and management tasks for the DMDP plan were more complex due to considerable changes in the social and political environment since 1959, and to the city having become more dynamic with very rapid change in both population and the urban footprint. Pressure on the natural environment had also increase. Even though the DMDP team formulated a series of plans at different spatio-temporal scales, growth has outpaced those plans. This is attributable to the fact that the plan-making process did not include any state-of-art planning, forecasting on decision support tools, and thus, the plans did not benefit from any proper synthesis of trends in socio-economic data, location analysis, separate or integrated land-use-transport modelling. The DAP was not completed until 5 years after its planned start date and became controversial due to there being more breaches and deviations from the plan than adherence. Planned land-use changes have never been implemented, while much unplanned growth was not foreseen.

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