RAJUK recently unveiled its new Detailed Area Plan (DAP) to guide the future development of Dhaka up to 2035. The new Detailed Area Plan (DAP) aims to address the city’s rapid urbanization and growth challenges through sustainable and organized planning. The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) is the urban planning authority for Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
What is the Detailed Area Plan (DAP)?
The Detailed Area Plan or DAP is a long-term land use plan that provides a framework for the orderly growth and development of Dhaka. It divides the city into several zones, specifying the allowable buildings and activities in each zone. The plan indicates the allocation of lands for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and other purposes. It also delineates the transportation network, open spaces, and infrastructure services.
Detailed Area Plan (DAP)s are prepared under the Town Improvement Act of 1953 and must be consistent with Dhaka Structure Plan (DSP) which gives the overall direction. The Detailed Area Plan (DAP) provides the details on how the Structure Plan will be implemented. It legally controls land use and prevents haphazard development.
Why has RAJUK introduced a new Detailed Area Plan (DAP)?
The last Detailed Area Plan (DAP) for Dhaka was approved in 2010. Since then, Dhaka has undergone massive and rapid urbanization, with its population increasing from 14.5 million in 2010 to 21 million today. This exponential growth has created immense pressure on urban services and infrastructure.
To address the city’s changing dynamics, RAJUK has introduced a revised Detailed Area Plan (DAP) in 2022. The new DAP aims to tackle the increasing problems of traffic congestion, housing shortages, proliferation of informal settlements, inadequate utilities, and environmental degradation. It seeks to promote organized development and make Dhaka more livable and sustainable.
What are the objectives of the new Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035?
The key objectives of Dhaka Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035 are:
- Manage growth and ensure balanced distribution of population and economic activities
- Combat environmental degradation and improve livability
- Preserve natural features like rivers, canals, lakes, and open spaces
- Enhance efficiency in land use through optimal allocation and mixed-use zoning
- Augment infrastructure facilities and upgrade existing networks
- Streamline transportation system and integrate land use with transportation
- Foster sustainable urbanization using green buildings and renewable energy
- Preserve historical and cultural identity
- Enhance economic competitiveness through strategic development
- Ensure disaster resilience and emergency preparedness
- Promote participatory planning and minimize displacement
What are the new land use proposals in Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035?
Some of the key new land use proposals in Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035 are:
- New areas demarcated for planned residential neighborhoods with amenities
- Focus on high-rise apartments and affordable housing
- Density controls for sustainable development
- New areas allocated for commercial activities based on viability
- Priority on mixed-use development combining commercial with residential
- Shifting of non-compliant industries from the city to designated zones
- Reserved lands for SMEs and clean industries within city boundaries
- Reserved right of way for circular waterways, expressways and highways
- Dedicating tracks for buses and BRTS along major roads
- Seamless integration between transport modes
- Allocated lands for creating new parks, forests, and wetlands
- Greenery augmented along streets and open spaces
- Plantation required in public and private lands
- Demarcated buffer zones along rivers and canals for conservation
- Reviving dead or encroached canals and water channels
What are the implementation challenges for the new Detailed Area Plan (DAP)?
Effective implementation of the Detailed Area Plan faces several challenges:
- Encroachment of lakes, canals, and natural drainage – Over 50% of Dhaka’s water bodies have been occupied illegally
- Growth of informal settlements and slums – About 5 million poor people live in makeshift communities lacking basic amenities
- Non-compliance by private developers – Many builders flout planning rules in pursuit of profit
- Lack of coordination between agencies – Overlapping roles of RAJUK, Dhaka City Corporation, utility agencies etc. leads to confusion
- Resource constraints – RAJUK has limited financial and trained manpower resources
- Political interference – Vested groups often try to influence plans for personal benefit
- Weak enforcement – Lax monitoring leads to regularization of planning violations
How can the new Detailed Area Plan (DAP) be implemented more effectively?
To ensure successful implementation, the following strategies are vital:
- Strong political will and zero tolerance for non-compliance
- Adequate financial allocation and skilled manpower for RAJUK
- Improved coordination between involved agencies via committees
- Tight monitoring mechanisms and stern penalties for violations
- Public awareness campaigns and citizen engagement platforms
- Phased development focusing first on critical projects
- Leveraging technology for planning, monitoring and delivery
- Public-Private Partnerships for financing infrastructure projects
- Regular plan review and updates based on ground realities
What are the public concerns about the new Detailed Area Plan (DAP)?
There are some apprehensions and concerns among the public regarding Detailed Area Plan (DAP) 2035:
- Loss of private property acquired for development schemes
- Displacement of residents from project areas without compensation
- Imbalanced focus on affluent neighborhoods versus poorer areas
- Increased building density and pressure on existing facilities
- Height restrictions may impact property values adversely
- Polluting industries may relocate into the city
- New roads may boost private transport, not public transit
- Green areas may be encroached by land grabbers later
- Delays in project delivery and fund embezzlement
- Lack of public participation in plan formulation
How can public confidence and participation be enhanced?
To enhance public confidence and participation in the Detailed Area Plan (DAP), RAJUK can take the following steps:
- Organize public hearings to incorporate feedback into the plan
- Engage community representatives and civil society in planning
- Disseminate information to citizens through media and outreach
- Implement showpiece projects demonstrating benefits
- Avoid involuntary resettlement through site selection
- Provide fair compensation and rehabilitation to displaced
- Promote PPP models for infrastructure development
- Conduct social impact assessments before projects
- Maintain transparency in financing and procurement
- Provide time-bound grievance redressal mechanisms
- Make land records accessible to citizens to prevent encroachment
- Progressively upgrade low-income informal settlements
- Pursue inclusive zoning promoting mixed-income development
The new Detailed Area Plan (DAP) has the potential to transform Dhaka into a more livable and sustainable city. But it needs to be implemented prudently in a phased manner with active community participation. With good governance and political commitment, the plan can become a reality and prepare Dhaka for the challenges of the future.