NOW ONLINE: HUAIROU COMMISSION UTC REPORT ON The Participatory and People-Centered New Urban Agenda: Voice from the Grassroots level

NOW ONLINE: HUAIROU COMMISSION UTC REPORT ON The Participatory and People-Centered New Urban Agenda: Voice from the Grassroots level

Bangladesh is experiencing rapid urbanization. Dhaka, the epicenter of Bangladesh’s urban expansion, is said to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Urban slums, poor environmental conditions, and lack of access to basic services are common features in the growing city.  Participatory Development Action Program (PDAP) and Coalition for the Urban Poor (CUP) have been working on improving the socio-economic conditions of the urban poor in Bangladesh for many years.

On May 20-21, the two organizations organized an Urban Thinkers Campus at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The successful event had more than 200 participants, all representing a diverse set of stakeholders. The event was led by grassroots women, with Quazi Baby, executive director of PDAP, at the forefront. The event titled “The Participatory and People-Centered New Urban Agenda: Voice from the grassroots level” explored the question of how to make a city for all through roundtable discussions, workshops, and engaging presentations. 

Through these discussions, recommendations about the city was made. The recommendations include promoting an inclusive city that recognize the urban poor, ensure rights of informal workers, and respect diversity.  In order to implement urban services, it was recommended to build a transportation system that is affordable and easily reached by the poor, creating a support system culturally  and socially, along with education free from discrimination for the children of the poor so that they can become the leaders of tomorrow, and encouraging innovative technology that is aimed for the needs of all societies. To instill recommendations about housing and shelter, provisions about affordable housing should be put in place as well as access to land, housing and services with an addition of a short-term loan to low income groups, and promoting specialityhousing  and day-care for women who are working. In terms of financing urban management, there will have to be an increase in resource generation at an equitable rate.  Lastly, in order to promote a green city, affordable transportation must be put into effect as well as giving importance to public spaces and parks for all. Further discussions and recognition of environmental pollution is needed.

The main outcome of the Campus is a declaration that outlines future action by all stakeholders. The goal is to engender inclusive urban planning and development that addresses the needs of the people on the ground. In order to implement above recommendations and see a city for all, it will be crucial to engage a diverse range of stakeholders in urban planning and implementation.

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Article by RritaOsmani/ Lene Egeli
Photo Credits: Huairou Commission