The literal meaning of the name Dhaka is "concealed." Situated in the deltaic plain of Bengal amidst a maze of rivers and canals, the Bangladeshi capital, with a population of over 9.4 million, is one of the densest cities in the world.
Every day the people of Dhaka negotiate civic deterioration that is, ironically, exacerbated in the name of building, development, and progress. Thus the paradox of city-building: one can undo a city by building it. Nowhere is this more evident than in the wanton development of Dhaka.
While Dhaka shows signs of being a "globalized" third-world city, it cannot ignore a more fundamental reality: located amidst the most dynamic hydrological system in the world, Dhaka is first and foremost a progeny of water.
Like most metropolises in which the control of capital and land is hotly contested, Dhaka is a socially and spatially heterogeneous place. Six morphologies define the city, each representing a particular social, economic, or environmental destiny.
From an article by Kazi Ashraf, originally published in MIMAR,31, 1989.
A conversation with Nathaniel Kahn, whose 2003 film, "My Architect: A Son's Journey," explores the life and work of his father, the architect Louis I. Kahn, and focuses in particular on Kahn's Capital Complex at Dhaka.
An interview with Muzharul Islam, the renowned Bangladeshi architect whose contribution to the articulation of a regional Modernism remains unsurpassed. Recorded over twenty years ago, Islam's observations on Dhaka's development have proved to be prescient.
The advent of the garment export industry has radically transformed the gender landscape of Dhaka. Where the city's social space was once an exclusively male domain, women - at least working class women - are now everywhere, with important ramifications for Dhaka's development.
In an evocative patchwork of image and metaphor, the celebrated Bangladeshi poet Shamsur Rahman renders Dhaka's complex vitality in verse.
In this richly textured excerpt from his 1988 book The Shadow Lines, the acclaimed writer explores the changing city of Dhaka through the recollections of his grandmother and the memories of his youth.