Tuesday , April 16 2024

Urbanization in Bangladesh development Trend

International Perspective

The United States and most European nations began to urbanize heavily in the 19th century. One of the most profound effects of the Industrial Revolution, which developed rapidly in England during 1750-1850 and spread to the continent after the Napoleonic Wars, was to stimulate the growth of cities. Throughout Europe, only 17% of the population lived in cities in 1801. By 1851, the percentage increased to 35%, and by 1891, it was 54%. On the other hand, in 1800, only about 5% of the U.S. population lived in cities. By the late 1900s, this number had climbed to 80%. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities.

Table 1

World Urbanization, 2011

Urbanization Level (percent)

World                              52.1

Africa                               39.6

Asia                                  45.0

Eastern Asia                  55.6

South-Central Asia       32.8

South-Eastern Asia      44.7

Western Asia                 67.9

Southern Asia                32.6

India                                31.2

Pakistan                          36.2

Bangladesh                     28.4

Europe                            72.9

Latin America                 79.1

North America                82.2

Oceania                            88.7

Source: World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 Revision.

Bangladesh Perspective

The World Bank says Dhaka, with its current population of 15 million people, bears the distinction of being the fastest-growing in the world. Between 1990 and 2005, the city doubled in size — from 6 to 12 million. By 2025, the U.N. predicts Dhaka will be home to more than 20 million people.

The total urban area of Dhaka spans about 1530 square kilometers (Islam 2005). About 80% of the garments industry in Bangladesh is located in Dhaka city (World Bank 2005). Dhaka city contributes to about 13% of the country’s GDP.

More recently, Dhaka’s population grew from 3.26 million in 1980 to a staggering 10.16 million in 2000. In 2005, its population was estimated to have swollen to 12.56 million. And in 2015 its population was estimated to 17. 91 million. Dhaka mega city currently ranks as the world’s 11th largest city .

Causes of Rural-Urban Migration:

Landless and poverty Natural Hazards Loses of husband Social Factors


Mostly river bank erosion Dissolution of family Brought by relative
Economic crisis Dependents Village politics
Job opportunities

Getting charity

Communal riot


Rural-Urban Migration: Push-Pull model:

The Push-Pull model pioneered was by Everett S. Lee in 1996. Migration is the combined effect of both push and pulls factors and it is often difficult to separate the role of the two. Within the Push-Pull model,

Push factors may be identified for Bangladesh as:

1.Population pressure, adverse person-land ratio, landlessness and poverty.

  1. Frequent and severe natural disasters (particularly river bank erosion).
  2. Law and order situation.
  3. Lack of social and cultural opportunities (applicable for rural rich)
  4. Cyclone, famine, flood, river erosion.

The pull factors may be identified for Bangladesh as:

  1. Real or perceived job Opportunities and
  2. Higher wages in the city are the main pulls.
  3. Rural-urban disparities, opportunities and services are also responsible.
  4. Rural-urban migrations are due to marriage and other familial reasons.
  5. Educational facilities pull rural people to the cities

Impact of Migration and Urbanization:

Positive Impact

According to UN centre for human settlements, 50 percent of GNP comes from urban areas in the developing countries. Some positive consequences of urbanization in Bangladesh are:

  1. Economic benefits: growth of GDP, higher productivity, better income etc.
  2. Demographic benefits: lowering of age at marriage, reduction of fertility rate.
  3. Socio-cultural benefits: modernization
  4. Political benefits: Women empowerment, democracy etc.
  5. Improved access to information technology.
  6. Infrastructural development benefits: Improvement of communication and transportation
  7. Socio-economic development: Employment opportunities, Increase literacy rate, improvement in the quality of education, and better health indicators.

Negative Impact

Urbanization is not an unmixed blessing. Its negative consequences are of great concern. The negative consequences can be grouped as the following:

1.The worst negative consequence of rapid urbanization on a massive scale within a city is in the form of degradation of the urban environment.

2.Encroachment on productive agricultural land and forests

3.Extreme pressure on housing, growth of slums and the pressure on servicesa

4.Economic consequences, leading to income inequality and poverty, ill effects of globalization

5.Cultural consequences: entry of alien culture, loss of national cultural identity

6.Political consequences: Criminalization of politics.

7.Socio-economic problems: High density of population, Urban poverty, House and slum problems, Scarcity of utility services (water, sanitation, transportation, education, health, electricity,  gas, etc.), Social discrimination & inequality, Terrorism and crime.


Major Problems In Urbanization:

Urbanization brought a number of social problems and conflicts. Such as,

  1. Transport problem

2.Climate change

3.Unplanned urbanization

4.Water logging

5.Environment pollution

6.River pollution

  1. Air pollution
  2. Imbalance administrative development
  3. Over population Problem

River Pollution

Most industrial enterprises are dumping their toxic effluents into neighboring water bodies and rivers. The erroneous, Cordon Approach towards rivers, pursued for decades under foreign advice, is disrupting the rivers. Buriganga river, which flows by Dhaka, is now one of the most polluted rivers in Bangladesh because of rampant dumping of industrial and human waste.

Water logging

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is an example of unplanned urbanisation. Every year the city dwellers of Dhaka face extensive water-logging during the monsoon. Water-logging is not a new problem rather it is one of the old problems of the capital.


Air pollution

Unfit traffic, industries, dust, particles of paints and wood are extremely high in Dhaka city what causes uncountable air pollution. Childs and women are highly vulnerable in this pollution. For example, Air pollution in capital city Dhaka has gone higher than Mexico City. According to the Department of Environment, the density of airborne particulate matter reaches 463 micrograms per cubic meter.

Unplanned urbanisation

An unplanned urbanization across the country leads to discrimination between the capital Dhaka and other metropolitan cities and district towns. Unplanned growth of cities is increasing the risks of fire hazard, building collapse, water logging, drainage congestion and road accidents.




Transport problem

Over the last few years the transportation problem of Dhaka City has visibly been deteriorating steadily. Citizens constantly complain about the unbearable twin problems of traffic jam and air pollution. Narrow roads, broken roads and unplanned repairs appeared as the 3 main causes of traffic jam.

Neglected urban issues

There is as yet no integrated, comprehensive, and effective effort to overcome the urbanization crisis facing Bangladesh. Urbanization efforts so far remain ad hoc, isolated, and partial in nature. In many cases, these efforts contradict and nullify benefits of each other. There is a lack of vision and integrated effort in resolving the. It is in this background that the current conference is convened.


Poverty and Social Insecurity

It is generally assumed that urban poverty levels are lower than rural poverty levels, but the absolute number of poor and undernourished is increasing in the cities. In Bangladesh, slumps and squatter are always considered as the breeding grounds of anti-social elements. It is true that most of the miscreants, hijackers, murderers, and drug suppliers live in this area.

Overpopulation problem

Bangladesh has the highest density of population. Dhaka has grown so crowded that existing infrastructure make it impossible to lead a comfortable life. Titled “World Urbanization Prospects: 2014 Revision” UN report projected Dhaka would become the 6th most crowded city by 2030.


Climate Change 

Bangladesh has been considered as one of the most vulnerable country because of the climate change. In a nut shell, coastal areas of Bangladesh are being converted into a unproductive, unfit for human habitat, harsh, deserted and disaster prone area due to climate change. So thousands of work-less families are rushing towards cities to live hand to mouth. So new and temporary shelters are being built in each day, which are converting to slums in next day.

Environmental Pollution

Severe environmental pollution is threatening human health and economic growth of Bangladesh. Air pollution effects the urban children. Industrial emissions cause different waterborne disease and damage to health. There have  a lot of natural disasters also.

Housing scarcity

The housing shortage is so acute that one third of the city’s population lives in slums. The influx of migrants from rural areas and deprived towns continues. The city authorities can neither respond to the problems nor coordinate their work. It is estimated that a third of Dhaka’s population live in slums. There is an estimated 4966 slum settlements scattered all over the city (Islam, 2005).

Housing scarcity: Slums in Dhaka

Years of survey Number of slums Number of slum households Slum population
1997 1579 185917 754866
2005* 4966 673883 3286770

Meeting the Challenges:

Urbanization is a compelling and growing reality. Managed or ignored, the process will soon come to determine our economic prospects and the quality of our social lives. So we have to meet the challenges by following steps:

  1. Decentralization
  2. Rural Entrepreneurship
  3. Ensuring the lodging for the urbanized people
  4. Enhancement of opportunities
  5. Focus on good governance
  6. Improving City Governance: the Principal Strategy
  7. Decentralization of Functions and Responsibilities
  8. Good Urban Planning and Sound Incentives
  9. Developing a Sound Real Estate Market

In implementing the above ideas, at least one thing will be essentially required and this is quality governance. It implies adequate

  1. Transparency  2. accountability  3.responsiveness 4. decentralization 5. participation 6. coordination 7. authority and control 8. Planning and productivity ,  efficiency and leadership

Referred Books:

  1. Ahmed A., J.K. Ahmed, and A. Mahmud, (2006), Making Dhaka Livable, World Bank Mimeo.
  2. Ahmed, S., Sustainable Urbanization
  3. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Year Book, from the year of 1996 to 2008.
  4. Islam, N., Urbanization, Migration and Development in Bangladesh: Recent Trends and Emerging Issues.
  5. World Bank (2007),Improving Living Conditions for the Urban Poor.
  6. Urbanization in Bangladesh: Present Status and Policy Implications by A.K.M. Helal uz Zaman
  7. Overview of Urbanization in Bangladesh  by Nazrul Islam

Check Also

Environmental diminution and Development of Bangladesh

Conceptual analysis of environment, eco-system &   environmental degradation Environment: The term environment has been derived …

%d bloggers like this: