Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is working to revamp 26 parks and playgrounds of the capital, with an eye on inclusiveness of people of all ages.
Among the parks, development work of four have been going on and final designs of 20 others have already been completed, said Tariq Bin Yusuf, project director of the Upgradation, Regeneration and Greening of Urban Open Spaces initiative of DNCC, adding that tenders will be floated shortly in this regard.
Primary designs of two more – Madhubagh Park and Mohammadpur Town Hall playground – have been completed and final designs are being prepared, he said.
Works to revamp all the parks will be completed by December 2020, he said.
Architecture firm Vitti Sthapati Brindo has completed the designs of the 24 parks-playgrounds while Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) have done the other two.
“As we have very limited resources, we are keeping both playground and park in the same venue, where provisions for walking and playing games will be available together,” said architect Istiak of Vitti.
Public spaces will have to be kept open and free for people, and have to be inclusive, he said, adding that they are considering these in their designs.
“We are engaging local people in the renovation, even taking opinions of youngsters through videogames like Minecraft while preparing designs of the parks,” said Istiak.
The architect said they are keeping separate spaces for the elderly and youth, setting benches following their necessities.
Older people like having a chat, for which they will set up round benches in the park so that they can engage in conversations, he added.
“We are also setting up bicycle pavements in some of the bigger parks,” he said.
Istiak said they are also installing European-style sufficient lights in the parks for safety.
Iqbal Habib, another architect of Vitti, said the late DNCC mayor Annisul Huq took the initiative to revamp parks in DNCC areas.
First he took initiative to modernise three parks with DNCC's own funds, and later initiated renovation of more parks and playgrounds under another project.
Any facility that may create a division between the wealthy and the disadvantaged will not be kept, he added.
“We are also giving emphasis on post-project management which will be held under a co-management process ensuring participation of the public,” he said.
“We are hoping that a central control unit will be prepared after completing the modernisation work,” he said.
This unit will ensure monthly and yearly allocations, specialised facilities, security, and central monitoring by setting up CCTVs, Iqbal added.
But its direction will be done by DNCC's zones or officials concerned, involving local people and organisations, he said.
“These parks will be a place for children, teenagers and young adults as a constructive sports centre, and will help the young people refrain from destructive habits,” he said.
“We have tried to ensure bringing all service structures like Wasa's pumps and Secondary Transfer Stations in a systematic way, and that they don't take up more than five percent area of a park,” Iqbal added.
There are many open spaces, parks and playgrounds under different government organisations, and if the government does not take immediate steps to protect those, they may also be destroyed, he said.