Marina Tabassum: 'Overpopulation in Dhaka was not necessary'

'The city is growing faster than we can come up with ideas to deal with the growth': The Jameel Prize-winning architect spoke at Al Burda Festival in Abu Dhabi this week

There are quite a few people in Dhaka. The city itself, located in central Bangladesh on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River, has a population of nearly nine million, while the Greater Dhaka Area is home to about 19 million people. That’s just more than 23,000 people per square kilometre.

"The city is growing faster than we can come up with ideas [to deal with this growth]," Dhaka-based architect Marina Tabassum told me at Al Burda Festival in Abu Dhabi this week, where there was a series of discussions about the future of Islamic art and culture.

And the population of Dhaka is only going to increase. There are jobs there. In 2016, the World Trade Organisation reported that Bangladesh had a 6.4 per cent global share of the clothing market. Nearly all of the factories are in Dhaka.

"These factories are like magnets," says Ms Tabassum, who won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016 and the Jameel Prize in 2018 for her design of the Bait ur Rouf mosque. "They pull people from all different parts of the country to Dhaka, where they live in a dire situation. This was not necessary."

A policy of decentralisation, Ms Tabassum argues, could have relieved the pressure on Bangladesh’s capital. “[We could] have taken certain things out of Dhaka, grown one city, let’s say in the north, as an education city,” she says. “We have two major port cities, so even the garment industry could have been taken out of Dhaka. There is no reason why [the factories] should be in Dhaka. It is only because the owners live there.”

As a result, factory workers in Dhaka are being forced to rent single rooms to share with their families. “It’s really sad and crazy,” says Ms Tabassum.

Of course, a shortage of housing is not the only problem that arises when such a large population is crammed into a relatively small area. The infrastructure of a city also becomes overwhelmed. The traffic in Dhaka is some of the worst in the world. Ms Tabassum explains that 3.2 million man hours are spent waiting in the congested streets of Dhaka each day. “It’s such a waste,” she says. “Mass transport would really help us.” The Dhaka Metro Rail is currently under construction and due to open in 2019.

Ms Tabassum is also concerned that the number of people in Dhaka will have an impact on the history of the old part of the city. “The buildings in old Dhaka are mostly privately owned, so unless the government makes an acquisition, it’s impossible for them to do anything about it,” she says. “Everybody wants to have apartment blocks, you cannot help that, people want a better life. But I think at least part of the architecture can be preserved for the sake of history.”

___________________

Read more

___________________

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Surianah's top five jazz artists

Billie Holliday: for the burn and also the way she told stories.  

Thelonius Monk: for his earnestness.

Duke Ellington: for his edge and spirituality.

Louis Armstrong: his legacy is undeniable. He is considered as one of the most revolutionary and influential musicians.

Terence Blanchard: very political - a lot of jazz musicians are making protest music right now.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst

From Conquest to Deportation

Jeronim Perovic, Hurst