How can we build our cities back after Coronavirus in a way that is better for our health and the environment? In order to engage discussion on the topic, Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Ecocity Builders, HealthBridge, the World Bicycle Forum, and several local institutions and universities jointly organized a conference from 9-10 September 2020 on the topic of #BuildBackBetterBD: Making our Cities Healthier for People and Planet.
The conference covered four main topics: food security, air and noise pollution, wetlands and water bodies, and the climate crisis. Sub-themes included urban agriculture, school gardens, programs to support non-motorized transport, ecological ways to provide safe drinking water, activism on the climate crisis, and accessibility in cities for people with disabilities.
COVID-19 has caused enormous changes in lifestyles here in Bangladesh and in much of the world. Rather than try to return to “business as usual”, the pandemic gives us the opportunity to rethink life in cities, and particularly how to rebuild our economies and lifestyles without returning to high rates of pollution. Given the extremely high levels of air pollution in Dhaka, the current respite provides hope for a cleaner, greener future.