In Dhaka city, there is no open space for leisure and entertainment. Children don’t have any play space. Due to the increase in the number of private cars, the space required to provide parking facilities on the roads is shrinking to meet the basic needs of the citizens. Even if you want to now, you may not be able to build a big park or playground. The space occupied by parking can be temporarily socialized by creating parklets (small spaces for socialization). This was stated by the speakers at a virtual discussion on "Importance of Parklet in Creating Opportunities for Socialization" jointly organized by Prattasha Social Development Organization, Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh, Car Free Cities Alliance and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust on Thursday, September 18, 2021 at 11.30 am.
Note that ‘Parklet’ is a small recreation center in the parking lot. This small park (Parklet) can be built on the side of the road, in the extended part of the house and in the parking lot of the market. The first Parklet program began in 2010 in San Francisco, USA. Parklet is now being developed in other cities of the world following the example of San Francisco. Since 2015, The Institute of Wellbeing has launched seven parklets in Dhaka and one in Chittagong.
The discussion was chaired by Gaous Pearee, Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust. Debra Efroymson, Regional Director of Health Bridge Foundation of Canada, presented the issues at the event. Mr. Jahangir Alam Malik Khokon, Mayor of Chuadanga Municipal Council was present as the special guest. Hamidul Hasan Nabin, Planner of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) and Md Billal Hassan, Executive Director of Prattasha Social Development Organization.
Debra Efroymson said we’re wasting entertainment and children’s playgrounds by providing parking spaces for cars. Children in the city are not getting enough space for sports. As a result, children are not developing healthy mental. To socialize and entertain the children, a lot of parklets have to be built in the cities. Jahangir Alam Malik Khokon said our way of life is responsible for the destruction of our environment. There is a river in Chuadanga. Various measures are being taken to save the 'Vanga' river. But to make the city livable, we need a long-term action plan. Parklet is an epoch-making idea and has its necessities in the town of Chuadanga. Through these initiatives, I will make Chuadanga an ideal district.
Gaous Pearee said we need to plan our cities while maintaining transportation, socialization and public health. Not only economic development but also social development should be given priority. Otherwise we will not be able to save future generations.
Hamidul Hasan Nabin said we need to pay more attention to the use of space. Urban planning should be done considering the playground for children. Initiatives should be taken to implement ideas like parklet in the policy label. Alia Shahed said that permanent parklets or mini parks are not only considered as children's playgrounds or recreation areas. Other animals also appeared there. For example, if there are trees in the parklet, there are also insects, birds, bats, butterflies etc. in the trees. So if you are in a park, the presence of life occurs.
Md. Billal Hassan said we are working to make Chuadanga an ideal city. Parklets will be set up so that the tired people walking on the streets can sit and rest for a while and have access to drinking water.