TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 2: Order and Disorder

During the second TedxDhaka session, speakers from diverse professions addressed heated issues now present in Bangladesh.

Using the story of the dreadful collapse of the Rana Plaza building, Mamnoon Murshed Chowdhury, an architect, shared his thoughts on how greed leads to destruction.  Next, MIT graduates Stephen Kennedy and Albert Ching lit up the event with their funky duet, describing the ways their Dhaka Bus Map–the first ever–could help make public transportation more transparent and less stressful, while helping to build a community of problem solvers and social entrepreneurs. Finally, lawyer and activist Syeda Rizwana Hassan touched on the importance of using environmental laws to protect the communities most susceptible to environmental hazards like flooding, waste dumping, overcrowding, inadequate sewage, and climate change.

“Buildings do not kill; it’s our greed”, said Mamnoon Murshed Chowdhury, of the Rana Plaza disaster. While a staggering 78,000 factory buildings are still at risk of collapse, Mamnoon has still managed to remain optimistic. He cites preventive solutions to Bangladesh’s architectural threats at a time when the country is racing into development and prosperity.

Maddening traffic is one of the first things that foreigners notice when they arrive in Dhaka. In 2011, the two talented Americans noticed this serious problem and leveraged their training in urban planning to an initiative aimed at making Dhaka a better place to live. While many experts have suggested a variety of solutions to the traffic problem, Stephen Kennedy and Albert Ching used just $15,000 raised through the crowdsourcing site kickstarter to create the first Dhaka bus map. What does a Dhaka Bus Map entail? Stephen and Albert pioneered the idea of “flocksourcing,” using a group of people armed with smart phones and a working GPS system to map bus routes as they happen. They hope that an accurate, easy-to-use bus map will make riding buses an easier, more pleasant experience and in turn, will reduce the number of people using private cars. Easier bus system = less cars = less traffic = a more livable Dhaka.

Taking up the complex subject of environmental laws in Bangladesh, Syeda Rizwana Hasan spoke her mind on the current status of Bangladesh’s environmental laws. The award winning activist discussed the apprehensive attitude of policy makers and influential people in Bangladesh towards environmental problems. She outlined some of the many cases she has filed on behalf of the environment and reflected on the fact that environmental change is not an easy a task when those who are best served by the system resist any meaningful change.


Written by the TedxDhaka social media team

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