Urban policy in Bangladesh: the state, inequality and housing crises in Dhaka city

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Urbanization in Less Developed Countries (LDCs) is very different from that in More Developed Countries (MDCs). While the urban growth rate of MDCs has been stable for a long time, the large cities in LDCs are growing enormously. Consequently, pollution, high density, shantytowns, as well as development of an informal economy have been the major features of cities in LDCs. Among other issues, urban housing in LDCs is a source of concern for policymakers and academics. This thesis studies housing policy in Dhaka City, and considers the implications for Dhaka's future. Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, has faced a housing crisis as increases in land values and the scarcity of land create conditions of urban exclusion for a large number of urban inhabitants who live without civic amenities. Indeed, urban housing policy cannot mitigate the growing housing crisis in Dhaka City. While taking into account ecological variables such as migration and technological development, I argue that long-term historical processes related to the world system have shaped the underdevelopment of LDCs and the emergence of dominant social classes that, along with the state, ignore the needs of the majority of urban inhabitants. I then apply this framework to Dhaka by using historical analysis, textual document analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviewing. This thesis is organized into seven chapters which reconstruct the theoretical framework and historical development of Bangladesh and Dhaka City before dealing directly with housing policies in contemporary Dhaka City. Data show that state interventions in the field of housing mainly serve the interests of government officials, armed forces officers, politicians and other urban elites. The social inequality created by the state is grounded in the historical and colonial legacies of Bangladesh. These legacies, and the present state interventions that have borrowed from those legacies, have resulted in rising land values, unfairly planned urbanization, rent exploitation and land speculation. Data also show that political patronage plays a vital role in land and housing allocation in Dhaka City.
Bibliography: p. 142-154.
Rahman, M. Z. (2003). Urban policy in Bangladesh: the state, inequality and housing crises in Dhaka city (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/16420