Regional Economy Boosters

Coastal area of Bangladesh is the least developed part of the country having highest potential for economic growth. The percentage of people living below poverty line is higher in the coastal zone in comparison to overall percentage for the country. The ironical truth is that the coast has distinctive development opportunities that can be instrumental in reducing poverty and can contribute significantly to the development of Bangladesh as a whole. There are untapped resources and also weak policy and planning approach which is hindering the developmental progress. Land use in coastal Bangladesh is diverse, competitive and conflicting. Agriculture, shrimp farming, salt production, forestry, ship-breaking yards, ports, industry, settlements and wetlands are some of the uses. Land uses have gone through major changes over the last half century. In the 1950s land was used mainly for paddy cultivation, but salinity intrusion and tidal flooding prevented further intensification. Hence, in the 1960s–1980s, the World Bank and others helped with large-scale polderization in order to boost rice production. A decade later, drainage congestion inside and heavy siltation outside the polders made some areas unsuitable both for agriculture, and, in extreme cases, even for human habitation. However, as the region has a history of traditional shrimp farming, polders provided an opportunity for intensive shrimp farming. Crop land and mangroves were transformed to shrimp farming. This created social conflict, thus new type of zoning which will address all these issues emerged. But, no efforts have so far been initiated to classify the coastal land into various economic zones and develop them according to their development potential which will satisfy
different parties.

The emerging concept is now to formulate land zoning, with administrative boundaries as the unit, in accordance with the (dominant) land use and economic activities, as well as their potentials and vulnerabilities. Hence, this zoning has to be more than just a description of the current situation and must account for major underlying ecological and socio-economic factors and processes that have led to the current situation and that may be important for future trends and hazards. Presently, eight types of zoning are being discussed among the planners, they are:
 shrimp (brackish-water) zone,  shrimp (sweet-water) zone,  salt–shrimp zone,
 forest zone,  mangrove (including Sundarban) zone,  urban and commercial zone (industrial, port, export-processing zones and ship breaking yards),  tourism zone, and
 Agricultural zone.

So, my goal to be achieved from this studio will be three fold— firstly, I will do a moderately detailed zoning map which will incorporate the existing use of land with their potential economic use based on available data and existing zoning map; secondly, I will propose small to medium scaled infrastructural intervention to each type of zone; thirdly, I will chose either one project among the proposals and design it architecturally or design a prototypical project which can be mutated and adapted differently in different zones according to that specific zonal need. Different projects can be proposed; for example tourism zone may have a Marina, mangrove forest may have a bird watching tower along with resorts, and shrimp zones may have a small museum showing off their products attached to a restaurant where a tourist can taste different types of shrimps etc.
The goal will be to achieve a whole development strategy for the coastal zone of Bangladesh which addresses policy issues, planning issues, environmental sustainability and adaption and mitigation to natural hazards like cyclones, storm surges and flood.