In need of some space

Dhaka’s lack of any dedicated spaces for children’s recreation keeps the city from being considered truly developed.

As the capital of our nation, Dhaka’s development has been rapid and inexorable.

But the metric of what counts as development is not limited to the number of high-rises or expensive restaurants in any given area.

More often than not development is rooted in the most basic of amenities being made available to citizens.

To that end, Dhaka’s lack of any dedicated spaces for children’s recreation keeps the city from being considered truly developed.

Around five years ago, a Dhaka Tribune special report covered the lack of recreational spaces in our capital and the detrimental effects it has had on our society, especially our children.

It is incredibly unfortunate to see that in the five years since that report was published, virtually nothing has changed to rectify this.

In fact, as we witnessed last month in the battle for Tetultola playground, our administration would sooner see police stations built over playgrounds.

Thankfully, reason ultimately prevailed in that situation, and the protestors were able to preserve the playground.

We are glad to see that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agrees with that sentiment, seeing how, at a recent prize giving ceremony.

She lamented children in the capital not being given any opportunities to be physically active.

It’s good to know that our leaders are acknowledging the issue, but concrete steps need to be made to alleviate it.

And simply shifting the responsibility of keeping children physically active on the parents and schools does nothing to that end.

Research has consistently shown how open spaces improve both the psychological and physical health of a population.

They are especially important for children and their continued development.

More so now, after two years of staying home due to the pandemic.

Dhaka is in dire need of more spaces for our children to be themselves, and the government needs to make it a priority.

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