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Planning for sustainable urbanisation in fast growing cities: mitigation and adaption issues addressed in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2009
JournalHabitat International
Journal number3
Volume33
Number of pages11
Pages276-286
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Issues related to sustainable urbanisation are best addressed when coordinated within a strategic framework and facilitated by a system of policy formulation that combines local opinions with scientific insights. This implies that planning for sustainable urbanisation has the potential to minimise climate change threats. While there is a pressing need for this potential to be realised globally, the current level of success in fast growing cities of the developing world is very limited. An approach to overcome this limitation has recently been successful in Dhaka, one of the fastest growing global megacities. It involved the identification of a strategic framework for the city. This framework was then combined with a locallyinformed model of sustainable urbanisation to produce the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Planning Support System (DMDPSS). This paper discusses the climate change adaptation and mitigation issues that can be addressed through such a method in Dhaka, using a scenario-based approach. Two alternative development options (constrained and unconstrained) are constructed and analysed. A common set of indicators are used: first to evaluate which alternative is more sustainable; and then the mitigation and adaptation issues addressed. Results show that the ‘constrained’ scenario, which includes a series of development limitations, is both more sustainable and can address more mitigation and adaptation issues than the other alternative. The scenario analysis, however, is only a part of the strategic framework needed for Dhaka. Indeed other factors, such as dissemination of facts and issues, and the ease and equity of communication in the community, are critical both for progress towards sustainability and to enhance community resilience to climate change. The paper concludes that the optimum combination of adaptation and mitigation measures can be identified in fast growing cities by using systems, such as the DMDPSS, based on the core principles of sustainable development.