RASULBAG SHISU PARK , RASULBAG
Old Dhaka is being mercilessly transformed into ramshackle with increased population, lack of vision. The wonderful, historical old Dhaka, once being the costliest land, is getting crammed, disarrayed and fast losing its cultural ambiance, traditional morphology and human quality. Moreover, most areas these days lack the sensitivities for providing space for greenery, daylight and wind – all basic requirements for healthy living.
The Rasulbagh Shishu Park is located on the North of New Azimpur graveyard, Old Dhaka. The 0.59 acre park is filled with construction materials and reckless littering wastes, isolated by tall walls, leaving the park unsupervised to illegal criminal activities. As a result, the park that was supposed to be the heart of the community is now left remote and neglected.
Another aspect of this park is that it has no direct access with any major roads. The park lies in between residential buildings from all four sides and the locals use the 2 to 3 feet narrow alleys to go to the park.
During rainy season, the narrow alley turns unbearable to walk on, rain water rise as high as 1 to 1.5 feet due to the lack of proper drainage. To make matter worse the rain water gets mixed with the sewage water overflowing from the open drain, this chaotic sight can be witnessed every day during monsoon. The only drain outlet for ward 26 is also shared with ward 23 where all the water from the surrounding areas gathers. Alteast 19 family lacks toilet connections and illegally connected sewerage lines with waste water outlet line, which results to an unhygienic unlivable condition.
A three storied abandoned building was built at west inside the park but was merely ever used and is currently left abandoned. At busy hours, people visiting the mosque at the south east side of the park had to offer prayer on bare mud and dirt.
Street vendors occupied the road along the wall on north. The walls that tried to protect the park acted in reverse and secluded the park from its rightful users. People walked pass the congested road in hurry without getting the chance to pause and appreciate the park that is covered by wall right next to them. Thus, the main concept was to encourage transparency among the park and its surroundings, the removal of walls were crucial to make the park a part of the community.
In addition to providing separate playing zones for kids, 500 feet peripheral walkways, that is built on a trench covering the drain, will merge in front of the Mosque to form a public square where people will gather, rest and offer prayer. Rows of orchards and fruit trees will shade the benches. During hot summer days people can look up and gaze at the flickering sun rays between the wavering leaves, covering the ripped fruits like Carissa Carandas (করমচা) , Averrhoa Bilimbi (বিলিম্বি) and Burmese grape (লটকন) which are ready to be plucked fresh from the tree. Butea monosperma also known as “dhaak tree”, which was originated from the name of Dhaka city, as legend says, will cover the green park with its flaming red flowers to symbolize Dhaka. The park has a very old Banyan tree inside the north west of park, traditionally Banyan tree is the core of celebration in our culture, so to recreate that festive environment, a small amphitheatre is created around the tree for rendezvous at different events.
Rain water collecting trench will be covered by 6 feet X 1.5 feet R.CC slab 350 nos on top in order to form the walkways. The park will be a escape for the users, as they walk in they will instantly feel welcomed by the red flowers of kolaboti trees which grows upto 7 feet high. Those trees will hide the heterogeneous dilapidated walls and merge the park softly with the surrounding, it can also soak up excessive water from the park which will further aid in keeping the area dry during monsoon.
Garbage bin will be available to promote users to keep the park clean. CCTV monitoring as well as Wifi will always be available in the park to attract the young generations into the park. The CCTV will not only record the mishaps but also the magnificence of nature merging with humans, the views will be shown in a large led screen which will be placed in the park for user’s entertainment, national events and games will also be broadcasted in the led screen to engage people in joyful activities all around the park.
The vacant three storied building is being renovated where the ground floor will have a traditional tap yard which will filter and distribute the purified rainwater collected from the trench at free of cost to the mosque, the community and the surrounding buildings. The upper floor will accommodate a library where people can relax and read their favorite books while enjoying the changing colours of Bangladesh’s six different seasons. In cold winter evenings people can see the amazing view of the whole park from the roof top while enjoying a hot cup of tea with a plateful of traditional pitha, representing the joy and essence of the vivid old Dhaka.