The city of Dhaka lacks enough parks and playgrounds and it is an obstacle towards good health of city dwellers. Also, it snatches opportunity of socialization. If the unused spaces of the communities are converted into small informal public spaces, then it will provide socialization opportunity to the community people. But these are not alternate of parks and playgrounds. It is also important to ensure parks and playgrounds in community, city and regional level. Most importantly these parks and playgrounds should be inclusive. On 29th March 2018 Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) jointly organized a view exchange meeting on ‘Proposal on Creating Community based Informal Public Space’ and speakers expressed above view in the meeting.
Students of 13th Batch of Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) identified 10 places (5 from each City Corporation) from 10 zones of both City Corporations, where parks or playgrounds are either absent or very few. They have selected potential places to create a community based informal public space.
Keynote speakers of the program were MD Hedayetul Islam, Nasim Hasan and Junayed Ahmed Talukder, students of 3th Batch of Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). They said, 93.33% people are interested to visit informal public spaces if available. Students have prepared a design of informal public space near Goal Ghat water pump at Tipu Sultan Road of Dhaka South City Corporation. If the design is implemented, it can be replicated in other areas.
Director of Policy Research Institute Dr. Sarwar Jahan said that, we need to consider three things before creating community based public space- who will be the users, who will be responsible for maintenance and how to make these places attractive, Also community engagement is very important in this regard.
Honorary Advisor of United International University Dr. Golam Rahman said community-based public spaces are seen in many cities of the world. It is possible to create those in Dhaka. Local Ward Councilors can play important role in this regard.
Superintending Engineer of Dhaka North City Corporation Dr. Tariq Bin Yousuf said that Dhaka North City Corporation has taken initiative to develop parks and playgrounds. But coordination with relevant agencies is essential. City Corporation has limitation. The idea of creating a community-based public space is really appreciable. He committed to implementing the idea in the areas under research.
Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust Gaous Pearee said that considering the need of our future generation we should create community-based public space. The places should be accessible for all and should not be used for commercial purpose.
The view exchange meeting was presided by Head of Urban and Regional Planning Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Dr. Shakil Akter said that we should not ignore mainstream parks and playgrounds while making community-based public spaces. Community engagement is very important to create informal public spaces.
The program was moderated by Program Manager of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust Maruf Hossain and other speakers were Asst Urban Planner of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) Nabayan Kheesha, General Secretary of Protyasha Helal Ahmed, Executive Director of Scope Kazi Enayet Hossain, Mahbubul Haque from BCHRD and many more.