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Dhaka’s Changing Landscape: Prospects for Economic Development, Social Change and Shared Prosperity


· Rita Afsar University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia)


07/28 | 11:20-11:40 UTC+2/CEST


My paper is based on an overview of my recently published book on Dhaka’s Changing Landscape. It addresses three compelling concerns arising out of contradictory signals − higher economic growth and higher risks of environment pollution and inequality of rapid urbanisation in Dhaka and many third world cities, compared with rural areas. These questions are: whether the poorer segment of urban population that migrates with dreams for better lives and livelihoods is benefitting from positive economic trends? Are these benefits sustainable in the long run? Have these benefits brought qualitative changes creating scope for this group to have a stake in the city’s growing prosperity like their non-poor counterparts? Addressing these compelling questions is necessary to create a right vision to make the city prosperous, inclusive and sustainable, prerequisites for the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Based on a longitudinal study of 600 households over a span of 20 years, the paper examines demographic and economic trends to understand the patterns, scale, and complexity of urban poverty, income inequality, and rural–urban migration. Going beyond the push−pull debate, the book recasts migration theories by considering migrants’ their self-confidence, hopes, aspirations and resilience, and provided a comprehensive analysis of migration, poverty, space and development nexus, which is necessary for a balanced, sustainable inclusive development policy. It provides a systematic review of the urban poverty, analyses progress made in employment options and occupational mobility for cross-sections. It identifies the determinants of income