Monday 28 June 2010

Access to urban planning information is a basic right, Where is DAP? Where is DMDP?

on Monday 28 June 2010 - 19:32:43 | by admin
From last couple of weeks the ongoing hot-humid talk of the country was the DAP (Detailed Area Plan) of RAJUK. However, this writing is not a typical criticism of DAP, DMDP, Housing and Public Works Ministry or the recent Review Committee of DAP. Here we are trying to highlight some basic problems of the activities.

DAP is the final tire of the DMDP (Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan) 1995-2015. As far as I know, RAJUK website’s planning section is the only open source from where we may know about the in-&-out of DMDP. Understanding and observing the development of DMDP is a basic right of not just the architects and planners of the country but also of every conscious citizen.

The major problem, is the lack of open 'detailed' information of the DAP and the whole process. All the recent media coverage and publications on DAP only talk about the ongoing issues, problems, business of developers etc. However, where is the DAP? Where are the maps? Where does everyone get the Detailed Area Plan drawings to comment or talk about? Those who are writing about DAP in the media do they really have ever seen the proper DAP drawings themselves?

Well I can not comment or talk about something I have never seen properly. In RAJUK’s website there is no ‘proper’ copy of DAP, the drawing does not offer enough information to understand the plan totally. By the word ‘proper’ here I mean a map that gives detail information. Preferably it should be on any vector CAD format, be it GIS or AutoCAD or PDF. RAJUK’s website only provides an uncclear JPG copy of ‘integrated composite DAP Map’. And I could understand very little of that drawing. Here it is: and RAJUK has declared that "it is an offense to make and issue any copy or copies (soft & hard copy) of this map without written permission of the Chairman". Same goes with other DMDP Maps available, are in a low resolution jpg format and I am not authorized to download or copy!
We understand that DMDP is the decision that will directly affect our lives and economy of Dhaka. It is also somewhat like a prescription to a patient or a sentence from a court. But unfortunately we don’t have a readable copy of it and 'it is an offense to make a copy of it'. This is very unfortunate. These are the information which are more important than AIDS campaigns. Urban planning directly affects our health, mental well-being, economy and almost everything of life in a city. All information and drawings of DMDP should be 'Open-source' digitally published in usable format and free to copy and use.

I am not discussing the flaws of DAP, that is the problems of the detail planning here. That is a seperate issue. Before going to that point we need the information to be open. Yes 'legally open'.

Problem number two: Whatever we are getting from RAJUK's DMDP and DAP all are the answers of ‘What’. Where are the answers to ‘Why’? Publishing finalized drawings is not enough. It's not a furniture you are designing! Those are the decisions which will affect us and our next generations who will live in these areas. The drawings should come along with all the studies and researches done to take the decisions. We need to know what is what and why it is like that. Planning and urban-design is not just 'prescribing' or 'imposing' decisions. It should come along with explanations with relevant studies and references.
RAJUK may open a whole separate website to host all these information. As they always complain they don't have enough 'man power' I am sure even if they try to open and publish the data they will say this same stuff. No organization has enough man-power. That's why they 'hire' other professional organization to deal with. If RAJUK can not handle this alone they should take help from other organizations.
Urban planning and design are the kind of decisions and information which are as important as 'basic health information' for the people. And every citizen has the right to gain access to every information of DMDP, DAP and the right to copy and use those data.
Mohammad Tauheed,

Edited by
Mehnaz Ahmed

Friday 21 May 2010

Design Against the Elements: International Design Competition

on Friday 21 May 2010 - 15:13:37 | by admin
Design Against Elements competition

It's the time to change the climate change. And there are several opportunities around you to get involved in the change. And as architects and designers we have certain responsibilities we should take care of.

The City of Taguig, United Architects of the Philippines and others jointly organizing an international design competition of it's kind you will certainly get the opportunity to get involved in the change-making by architecture. The competition is entitled as 'Design Against the Elements' initiated after the tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) in Philippines.

The winning design will be built as a prototype disaster-resistant and livable eco-village in Taguig City, Metro Manila. The village will be the first green and disaster-resistant community in Philippines.

The design task include an urban housing development masterplan which may be replicated in similar areas; an integrated innovative sustainable solution by understanding of the local economy, society and environment.

The competition is divided into two categories of entries,
Category 1 is open to all architects from any country registered according to the relevant laws in their respective countries.
Category 2 is open to all students in architecture in their senior years and to graduates of an architecture degree.
Registration Deadline: September 24, 2010
Submission Deadline: November 19, 2010
For category 1 a 30 USD registration fee applies payable via bank transfers.
There is no registration fee for Category 2 participants.
Awards: Category-1 first prize: $10,000 USD, Category-2 first prize: $3,000 USD and other prizes.

For more details: Visit the competition website,
the competition manual, registration form

Thursday 06 May 2010

Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest!

on Thursday 06 May 2010 - 18:55:58 | by admin
Cocktail Napkiin Sketch ContestCocktail napkins are infamous for architects' casual tool of sketching instant output of tea table brainstorming. Sometimes napkins are also used to even explain design to a client while meeting in a cafe. Stories abound about famous works of architecture coming out of these spontaneous sketches. Architectural Record brings out an interesting contest of sketch on cocktail napkin, may be a short relief from the meticulously digital age of CAD.

The submission is obviously NOT online. Participants must send their sketches drawn on 5x5 inch cocktail napkins (up to 6 sketches per participant) to the Architecture Record office. All materials must be postmarked no later than Monday, June 21, 2010.

For details and registration download this PDF file.
And start sketching wherever, whenever you get something in your mind, yeh keep some napkins always in your pocket!

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