Monday, June 9, 2008

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Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has undergone phenomenal growth since the country gained independence in 1971. It has grown from a city of 2.5 million inhabitants to one with a population of more than ten million. This increase represents an average population growth rate of about eight per cent annually. Dhaka is one of the poorest and most densely populated cities on the planet, with 6545 people per square kilometre.

Following independence, urban areas expanded rapidly as they sought to become hubs of production and modernization. In the process, land use changed dramatically, as these images from 1977 and 2000 reveal. Dhaka is visible in the central portion of each image along the Turag River. Green areas represent forests and agricultural lands. White spots are planned areas of infrastructure. Urban areas are light purple. The 2000 image shows how, over time, lowlands and agricultural lands have been converted to urban areas where Dhaka has expanded to the north.

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