Fostering Growth in an Urban Floodplain

Abstract

This design research studies the potential for river piers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to be designed as generative urban infrastructures to allow new connections, foster healthy urban growth, mitigate wetland deterioration, and protect against extreme flooding conditions. Dhaka, Bangladesh, current population estimated at 16 million, is one of the fastest growing megacities. 65% of the city is less than 6 meters above sea level, placing the city further at risk when flood waters rise. Flooding is caused by heavy rainfall and overflow of catchment basins, filling in of wetlands and absorptive land, deforestation, river flow congestion due to pollution, improper infrastructural development, and fast, unsupported urbanization. Despite the integral relationship between the river and the Bangladeshi people, there is no formalized water transport system able to connect developing residential communities to economic centers. The project is an investigative study of the current waterfront conditions in a continually flooded, growing, urban environment, and the ability of waterborne transit infrastructure to support current and expected growth. This thesis analyzes existing urban development and infrastructural patterns to create and implement a new hybrid typology. It will consist of existing water infrastructure associated with main industries and developing residential areas better facilitating movement and connections of workers, jobs, and goods. The prototype will be implemented along a series of sites on the Buriganga River as a new system of water transit hubs, strengthening the relationship between community development and water infrastructure and improving efficiency of life along the water.