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Managing megacities: a case study of metroplitan regional governance for Dhaka

Talukder, Sirajul Haq (2006) Managing megacities: a case study of metroplitan regional governance for Dhaka. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Megacities of over 10 million population are a phenomenon not seen before in human history. Among 19 Megacities, 14 are in developing countries and 11 are in Asia. Dhaka represents one of the most extreme examples of rapid Megacity growth having a mere 129,000 at the start of the 20th century, 417,000 by 1950 and more than 12 million in 2001.

How can a city be governed that has increased 30 times in size over a person?s lifetime? This thesis makes a case for integrated Metropolitan Regional Governance (MRG) of the Extended Metropolitan Region of Dhaka.

The growing problems of Asian Megacities in general and Dhaka in particular are outlined, showing how governance has developed in a sectoral and national way rather than being place oriented. This has fractured and become totally inadequate as a means of solving the deep environmental, social and economic problems of the Megacity.

The governance issues of Megacities are traced to the primary problem of the need for integrative functions in strategic and statutory planning as well as development facilitation of the Extended Metropolitan Region (EMR). Ten core principles of Metropolitan Regional Governance are established. Without this, the Megacity's functions of infrastructure, investment, housing, environmental management, employment etc. are not coordinated or prioritised in ways that lead to 'common good' sustainability outcomes.

The ten principles are applied to four Asian Megacities - Metro-Manila, Tokyo, Bangkok and Jakarta - to confirm their relevance and application before applying them to Dhaka.

The problems of Dhaka are outlined then an analysis of Dhaka governance options is attempted based on the ten core principles of MRG. Four possibilities are analysed and a way forward is suggested combining the options.

The proposed structure will build on the present system with greater responsibilities for strategic planning, statutory planning and development facilitation. It will also build up municipalities through a more transparent and engaged local planning process and create partnerships for infrastructure development.

The proposed governance structure would use the dynamism of the Megacity to create sustainable solutions and hope for the future of the city. The key to implementation will be finding the political solution to make such painful change, and training professionals in the broad integrative skills of urban sustainability and community engagement that are required for the region as well as the participation and partnership skills at local level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Supervisor(s): Newman, Peter
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