State of Cities

Urbanization  has  become  a  powerful  force  in  developing  countries, having recently taken place in Asia,  Africa  and  Latin  America.  The world  shift  in population  from  rural  to  urban  areas,  a re-evaluation  of  the  economic  importance  of  cities,  and  a  reaffirmation  of  the  significance  of local  institution  building  for development have all become significant factors for consideration in light of this mammoth shift in the context of current development literature. In this backdrop of rapid urbanization, urban governance has become an important approach to evaluating cities’ growth, development and performance.

In this backdrop, the State of Cities report aims to provide a diagnostic of the country’s urban governance. BIGD has published three SoC research reports since 2011 focusing three cities of Bangladesh which experienced fastest urbanisation.

STATE OF CITIES 2016: Traffic Congestion in Dhaka City - Governance Perspectives

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The study focuses on the Dhaka Metropolitan area and six key government agencies in particular – Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) and Rajuk. Based on 'governance perspectives' the investigation was conducted adopting a 'political economy framework'. Data was collected from both primary and secondary sources through key informant interviews, a 'score-card' survey of the six institutions, case studies and site observations. A major questionnaire survey of 774 transport users was also carried out to obtain people's views of the main traffic issues and priorities for action.

The report examines transport demand and supply in Dhaka city and how it affects traffic congestion. Congestion is caused by transport demand outstripping the supply of infrastructure. Government authorities in Dhaka have responded by building more infrastructures, especially roads, flyovers and now elevated expressways, but the management perspectives of traffic congestion have largely been overlooked. This study found that institutional and management factors underlay most of the traffic congestion problems, including poor planning of the road network, minimal restraint of private car use, poor organisation of Dhaka's bus system and poor co-ordination of the government agencies involved in transport.

The survey of transport users found that most people identified management issues as the main causes of traffic congestion, particularly: (1) haphazard parking, (2) streets occupied by private transport, and (3) violation of traffic rules. Therefore effective traffic management, including restraining the demand for private transport, is crucial for reducing Dhaka's congestion.

STATE OF CITIES 2016: Traffic Congestion in Dhaka City - Governance Perspective

STATE OF CITIES 2015: Solid Waste Management in Dhaka City: Towards Decentralised Governance

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The report attempts to explore and understand the challenges of existing solid waste management system in Dhaka city, and unfold disjoints among the stakeholders that hinder effective governance. Unlike previous studies, the study has delved into the key micro issues from the ‘governance’ perspective with a particular focus on functioning of the various stages of the solid waste management process.

 

With the aim of bridging the gaps in past research and in order to throw some light on existing scenario of SWM in Dhaka, this study ‘State of Cities (SOC): Solid waste management of Dhaka City– Towards Decentralised Governance’ has tried to explore the role of various stakeholders and institutions through the micro lens at various stages of SWM and thereby understand the overall SWM system in Dhaka. The issue of governance and subsequently development of SWM has been addressed in this context. Given the limited timeframe of the research, this study has focused only on solid waste in terms of the waste that city corporation deals with excluding medical and hazardous waste. In doing so, the study looked at the micro level management in details at selected wards in both city corporations (Dhaka North and South). Considering the diversity of waste management at various stages, the analysis is focused in three prominent stages: I. Primary stage looks at primary waste generators (slum and non-slum households, markets and commercial establishments and public places), II. Secondary stage includes disposal to land filling from container sites and other designated sites. III. Tertiary stage studies the issues related to recycling and composting.

In line with the objectives, the study adopted a mixed methodology involving both qualitative and quantitative tools to achieve the goal. A large scale survey with 600 randomly selected sample households has been conducted in 12 randomly selected wards out of 93 wards. The fundamental basis of such selection was the density of population (high, middle and low) as it is directly related with SWM. In addition, considering the difficulty of conducting survey and to secure in depth information seven Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and 42 Key informant Interviews (KII) with relevant stakeholders were carried out. In this study, data was collected from various secondary sources (like DNCC, DSCC). Moreover, round-the-clock information tracking at selected primary waste disposal sites (container stations) were conducted. GIS data was collected and analysed for preparation of relevant maps. The survey covered the major stakeholders and institutions (including rules and regulations) relevant to solid waste management.

The first chapter presents in a nutshell the scope of the report. Chapter two of the report gives an overview of the existing scenario of SWM. Chapter three aims at understanding the primary waste management in terms of in-house and off-house management with particular emphasis on households, since they generate about 61 percent of the total waste. In addition the chapter tries to understand the perception of the stakeholders and their grievances especially relating to the existing practices of SWM.

Chapter four focuses on the secondary stage (container site to final disposal) and tertiary stage (recycling of organic and inorganic waste) of SWM. In this connection, the coordination between waste disposal and waste clearance has been studied. It has been observed that coordination failures have occurred frequently in specific wards in Dhaka city. An explanation in terms of Governance failure has been given in this connection. In addition to this, the chapter studies in details the management system of the final dumping grounds. Lack of coordination among key departments and absence of any viable planning for the future is widely observed. Subsequent to the secondary stage, the study on tertiary stage captures the recycling mechanism existing and opportunities available in the near future. The potentiality of a large informal market expanding at rapid pace has been highlighted. The need to encourage composting in order to save land and environment has been hailed in the study.

The last chapter presents the key results and concluding remarks. It has been observed that the rate of waste collection has been at an encouraging rate of 76 percent per day on an average. Per capita waste generation is estimated to be 0.38kg compared to 0.34kg in 2005. The study concludes recommending a decentralised form of governance to address inter ward disparities in SWM.

SoC 2015: Solid Waste Management in Dhaka City: Towards Decentralized Governance (Full Report)

State of Cities 2014: Governance for a Liveable Chittagong

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State of Cities: Governance for a Liveable Chittagong is the third report of the State of Cities series published by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University (formerly Institute of Governance Studies). Given the growing challenges that Chittagong City faces with regard to its service delivery, transport provisions, environmental challenges, devolution of power, fiscal problems, inter alia, there is a need for extensive analysis on cross-cutting issues involving urban governance. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the economic and political dynamics which shape various facets of urban governance in Chittagong, and aims to provide solutions in addressing the mounting problems that the policymakers face as far as urban governance is concerned. The study adopted a mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative approaches using primary and secondary data. To conduct the study, a structured questionnaire survey was carried out among 1,200 households of Chittagong City. Moreover, four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and over 50 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted to support the research.

Drawing from the individual chapters, the report analysed a number of cross-cutting governance issues that have far reaching consequences with regard to the city's agglomeration and liveability. The final chapter suggests that there is a need for co-ordination among service delivery and regulatory agencies, streamlining of dualism in service delivery and social inclusion of low income groups, imperatives of need-based development and implementation of urban plans, importance of greater role of citizens and civil society organisations, and imperatives of practicing horizontally accountable devolved governance model.

Being third of its kind, the report has demonstrated that Chittagong's physical infrastructure and service provisions are ill-equipped to foster agglomeration, ultimately affecting its liveability adversely. This is partly, if not largely, an outcome of the ‘urban primacy’ of Dhaka that is difficult to break, if the experiences of other developing countries are any guide, as discussed in the report. The report provides a set of recommendations pertaining to the city's administrative and financial devolution by making the CCC a single point authority ensuring ultimate accountability to the city dwellers. Moreover, the literature on urbanisation in relation to developing countries and experience of other cities show that cities have to be innovative and learn from success stories of developing and developed countries by initiating financial reforms to become financially independent. This could help cities to reduce their dependency on the centre. The empowered local authorities could help rationalisation of utility prices and mobilisation of revenue to meet Chittagong city's short-term and long-term needs.

SoC: Governance for a liveable Chittagong (Full Report)

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State of Cities 2013: Re-thinking Urban Governance in Narayanganj

 

The year 2012 was significant for urbanisation in Bangladesh due to the emergence of new City Corporations (North DCC, South DCC and Narayanganj), promulgation of city corporation laws and amendments (29 November, 2011) and the division of the capital city in order to ensure basic services, along with proper governance. State of Cities: Re-thinking Urban Governance in Narayanganj is the second report of the State of Cities series published by the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS), BRAC University.

Are we therefore witnessing a new emerging trend in the governing process of urban areas?  At this critical juncture, it is important to explore the effect of these changes, especially their impact on causing a shift from governing to governance.  In this year’s report, an effort has been made to provide such an analysis and we have focused on the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC), which is situated in the northern side and adjacent to Dhaka city. Narayanganj was very recently separated from Dhaka and upgraded to a city corporation. Studying the city, which has become an extended industrial wing of Dhaka and which has a separate governance system, thus may be considered as a natural extension and continuation of last year’s state of cities research.

Being the second of its kind, this year’s State of Cities report takes a holistic approach to understanding the existing process of urban governance and service delivery, to comprehending the present state of efficiency and effectiveness of services provided and identifying the areas for possible reforms. The report consists of six chapters. The first chapter, ‘Re-thinking Urban Governance: An Overview of Narayanganj’ starts with a brief profile of the city of Narayanganj and briefly explains the context and the perspective followed to understand the urban governance within political and economic reality and the research methodology followed. Chapter on ‘City government: contextualizing the concept in Narayanganj’ deals with the city governance system of Narayanganj. ‘Service provision at Narayanganj, actors and factors’ is a chapter which provides a description of different types of services available to the residents of Narayanganj City Corporation and explores the accessibility of these services to them. In the chapter titled, ‘Fiscal Strength of city building’ highlights the taxation and revenue issues of the Narayanganj City Corporation. From the historical analysis of taxation, the chapter has given importance to the economic reality of taxation in Narayanganj. Chapter 5 on ‘Urban Land Use and Social Space in NCC’ analyses trends of urban land use in Narayanganj city. The report ends with a conclusion which summarises the main contributions of the chapters in this report and proposes ways forward for further research on the issue of urban governance.

SoC: Re-thinking Urban Governance in Narayanganj (full report)

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State of Cities 2012: Urban Governance in Dhaka

Urbanization  has  become  a  powerful  force  in  developing  countries, having recently taken place in Asia,  Africa  and  Latin  America.  The world  shift  in population  from  rural  to  urban  areas,  a re-evaluation  of  the  economic  importance  of  cities,  and  a  reaffirmation  of  the  significance  of local  institution  building  for development have all become significant factors for consideration in light of this mammoth shift in the context of current development literature. In this backdrop of rapid urbanization, urban governance has become an important approach to evaluating cities’ growth, development and performance.

Dhaka is one of the fastest growing megacities of the world (UN-Habitat 2009) with an existing population of 13 million that is annually growing 4.4% constitutes 40% of the country’s total urban population. But the physical expansion and population growth is not reflected in city development which is mainly featured with slow and highly unequal growth, rising poverty, fragmented and inefficient service delivery.

In this backdrop, the State of Cities report aims to provide a diagnostic of the country’s urban governance.  Being the first of its kind, the report will analyze Dhaka city’s urban governance on the bases of three principles of governance namely fluidity, informal vs. formal governance and governance as a life experience.  The report consists of five chapters. The first chapter provides introduction and conceptual framework of the report. The second chapter deals with governance history of Dhaka city by taking a chronological view on Dhaka’s journey from a provincial capital of a vast empire to a chaotic megacity of today. Chapter three focuses on Dhaka’s politics by looking into both formal and informal political management through analyzing institutions and policies and thereby discusses how citizens are being marginalized through the informal governance arrangements. Chapter four covers economic governance of Dhaka city with a focus on stakeholders and institutional arrangements for the city’s transport sector. Chapter five discusses governance of urban public services that present a comparative analysis of public service delivery from the users end based on their socio-economic profile.

SoC: Urban Governance in Dhaka( full report)

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