Saving Dhaka’s heritage
Islam’s goal to restore Dhaka’s heritage buildings and attract tourists is going to be a challenge. As people have migrated from rural areas to the city, Dhaka’s population has increased from about 6.5 million in 1990 to about 15 million in 2010, with many of new residents living in slums. There is pressure to build up and modernize the city's overburdened infrastructure. Boxy, concrete buildings pop up quickly and are often shoddily constructed, and the city says more than 20% of the buildings would collapse if it were hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale. Additionally, conserving the city’s cultural heritage does not appear high on many politicians’ to-do lists.
While the Urban Study Group has had some notable successes, like preventing the destruction of the 400-year-old Shakhari Bazaar, Islam is pessimistic about Puran Dhaka’s future. At this rate, he said, "the buildings will all be gone in three or four years."