Architect Ehsan Khan said that most of the locations earmarked for beautification by the city authority by now became dead spaces since the structures there either turned ugly due to negligence or occupied by an inappropriate sculpture.
‘These places never really beautified city. Rather they created visual pollution,’ he told New Age on Tuesday.
Ehsan Khan, who has become famous for designing the Mausoleum of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Gopalgonj and Nishorgo Oirabot Nature Interpretation Centre at Teknaf, found some reasons to take issue with poor planning behind urban spaces, pockets that have been created for landscaping and artwork.
Ehsan Khan felt that these were haphazard and unplanned initiatives and the built structures were all bellow quality due to the fact unskilled people were involved in making them. The other reason for such ugliness is poor maintenance and monitoring since there was corruption behind the beauty, he contended.
Ehsan, one of the architects for Hatirjheel and Dhanmondi lakes development project, said that the unplanned and haphazard structures practically destroyed the beauty of the city.
He suggested that the city authority should create more open spaces, greenery, wide footpaths, large public spaces, cultural centres, clean roads and structures for the beautification of the city rather than the sculptures at median and intersections of busy roads of the city.
‘What were built around the city look mostly ugly, distorted and meaningless and they are of no aesthetic value,’ he said, adding that structures on median and intersections made the busy and densely populated city more clumsy.
Ehsan was of the opinion that most of the spaces were developed either from true love for beauty or only to benefit some individuals in the name of beautification.
The architect suggested that the city bosses should form a detail out rules and comprehensive vision on how they want to see the city.
He suggested forming a jury board for selecting art for the specific location and their strict monitoring from the construction to maintenance.
The aims of the structures include beautification and creation of visual environment at public spaces.
He said that present structures hardly met the requirements.
Ehsan said that people found that the structures were developed as a medium of advertisement for some business enterprises.
He said that the city corporation should strictly ensure that the advertisements did not create visual pollution either.
The principal architect of Ehsan Khan Architects said that for true beautification Dhaka needed some large and some small open spaces, wide footpaths and assurance of cleanliness.
‘The small beautification site in a large, dirty city doesn’t mean anything,’ he said. Such small scale sites might be useful in beautifying a house or a building but not a city where people lack breathing places.
‘The beautification of Dhaka can only involve cleaning, ensuring green patches and most importantly the creation of open spaces,’ he said.
He suggested that the authority should create large open spaces for the multitude who have no breathing space accept Ramna Park which now seemed very inadequate.
He said that Dhaka still has the opportunity to turn it into a beautiful city by using its natural resources — those that the city has inherited from its geographical location.
He suggested building green spaces on the banks of Buriganga, Turag and Shitalakkha, which could give psychological relief to the people, which would not only be for the sculptures or fountains.
He said that real beautification initiatives were not taken, however, in the name of beautification ugly structures were being built, which only breeds corruption.
He said that instead of creating more open spaces, including parks and playgrounds, the authorities are regularly grabbing city spaces in the name so-called development.
Ehsan pointed out lack of vision among the political leaders and lack of governance for the existing situation. He said that at some locations city authority could build such structures in a planned way, which should have meaning and might even educate the next generation.
He urged the authorities to select structures through competitions as the structures would stay and were meant for the next generations and at each level true professionals must be engaged.
‘We should produce something perfect today for our tomorrow’s generation,’ he said.
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