Criticizing the new Detailed Area Plan (DAP), a group of experts and stakeholders claimed that the middle class will become poorer and the rich will become richer if the DAP is implemented.
They said that in the new DAP, authorities have assigned areas such as Mohammadpur, Kalyanpur, Pirerbagh, Agargaon and Badda low land area ratio (FAR) values.
For all the latest news, follow the Daily Star’s Google News channel.
FAR refers to the ratio derived from the total area of all floors of a building and the size of the land on which it is built. The higher the FAR, the higher a building can be built and vice versa.
Thus, buildings higher than three to four stories cannot be built in the aforementioned areas in general. On the other hand, areas like Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara and Dhanmondi have high FAR values. Therefore, 10-story buildings or even taller structures can be built there, they added.
However, Dhaka city planners have backed the DAP, saying the values are justified as they were determined based on the civic facilities, infrastructure development and population density of the areas.
According to the authorities, if the FAR values of underdeveloped areas are low, the number of new apartments will decrease, which will encourage people to choose less populated areas to live, where apartments are more available. This will ultimately balance the population density of the areas.
On August 23, the government published the gazette notification of the 20-year-old DAP, which covers 1,528 sq km of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
Blowing through the new DAP, Mubasshar Hussain, president of the Institute of Architects Bangladesh, said in Dhaka that buildings above five storeys account for 8% of all structures and buildings with two to five storeys account for 24.6%. . One-story buildings, which are mostly in underdeveloped areas, account for 67.46%.
In developed areas, high FAR values will better facilitate the construction of buildings. Essentially, FAR values were taken from the poor and given to the rich, he said.
Now people will not be able to buy flats in areas like Mohammadpur and Kalyanpur at low prices as the shortage of flats will drive up prices, he said.
“And if you want to buy an apartment in a developed area, you have to spend Tk 4-5 crore, which is quite impossible for most people. It will make the rich richer and the poor poorer,” a- he added.
Mubasshar said there is no record anywhere in the world of reducing population density in an area by decreasing the number of apartments. This will only create a housing crisis.
Speaking in support of the DAP, Fazle Reza Sumon, Chairman of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), said the infrastructural and civic facilities in Badda are not similar to those in areas like Gulshan and Banani, which have high FAR values.
Higher average FAR values have already hurt Dhaka as they have negatively impacted various utilities, communications, infrastructure and land use, he said, implying that the increase values from underdeveloped areas will not help.
Architect Iqbal Habib said the government states that 67.46% of underdeveloped areas lack playgrounds, educational institutions, community centers, parks and other facilities, so they received low FAR values.
“But the question is, who is responsible for providing these facilities?” He asked.
Now the facilities in the surrounding areas of Dhaka need to be increased. “If you can create good educational institutions, hospitals, employment opportunities and communication systems in these areas, people will go and live there,” he said, adding that there is no was no initiative for this in the DAP.
“In the DAP, a FAR of 1.5 to 2 was given for the surrounding areas, which is unacceptable,” Iqbal said.
Sheltec Managing Director Sharif Hossain Bhuiyan said the new FAR values will negatively impact building construction.
Adil Mohammad Khan, former secretary general of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said: “We must bear in mind that higher FAR values, in general, only exacerbate the disparity that prevails between landowners and the landless urban dwellers in the city of Dhaka.
“Values much higher than 1 to 1.5 … will create disparity and discrimination. This will pave the way for landowners to start a predatory real estate business, which has already been observed in Dhaka city.”
He said that is why for plot housing development, even in cities like Singapore, the FAR value is around 1 to 1.5, or the authorities allow a maximum of two-storey buildings.
Rajuk Chairman Anisur Rahman Miah told the Daily Star that the authorities have prepared this DAP keeping long-term plans in mind. FAR values decreased for densely populated areas.
About the middle class, he said there are neighborhoods in Uttara where they can buy apartments at relatively low prices.
Speaking of outlying areas, the chairman said, “In these areas, the FAR values are not based on the whole location. If the parcel is large, the FAR will be higher.”
“For example, if four people own separate plots and combine them to build a building together, then the FAR will be higher. Therefore, we encourage large plots,” he added.
Although the first DAP was published in 2010, the authorities could not implement it for several reasons, such as the lack of necessary and effective initiatives; weak law enforcement to prevent unauthorized construction; shortage of resources; lack of coordination among stakeholders; and inconsistencies in proposed policies.