the incredible density of Dhaka, the most crowded urban area on the planet

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Today it may sound crazy to us, but around the 18th century, London newspapers published chronicles about how you could go out, take a good walk through the city and not cross paths with anyone you knew. the english capital did not even reach 600,000 soulsbut it was already on its own merits one of the great European metropolises, a dynamic place, with effervescent commerce and a “size XXL” that surprised newcomers and, most importantly, in which a concept was beginning to forge that today we are already more than familiar: anonymity.

If any of those journalists from the London of Handel visit today Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is likely to be speechless. In the South Asian metropolis it is no longer easy to go for a walk and find absolutely no one to say hello to; Directly it is likely that if you move around your neighborhood there, a few meters from where you live, you will not recognize a single face.


Lots of people… and pollution

Well, because, on average, in each square kilometer of the megacity there are 36,900 peoplemore or less the same ones that live in the entire municipality of Oleiros, in A Coruña; or in Tudela, Navarre. That’s at least the yearbook estimate Demography World Urban Areaswhich places the dhaka urban area as the most densely populated on the planet, well ahead of the second, Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), with 33,200 inhabitants per km2. As a reference, in London they barely exceed 6,000 and in New York the average is 1,700.

Does that mean that the capital of Bangladesh is the most populous city on the globe? No. It’s just that their neighbors are the ones who live most closely together. The palm in terms of census is taken, as it has been for a long time, by Tokyo, with an urban area of ​​39.1 million people, many of them residents in the city itself. In second and third place would be the conurbations of Jakarta and Delhi.

Dhaka’s peculiarity is largely explained by its size and population size. According to the data handled by Demographia, the urban area of ​​the capital of Bangladesh is home to some 16.8 million people and covers an area of ​​456 square kilometers. In terms of census, the Bangladeshi metropolitan area is actually the 17th most populous, behind Bangkok, Moscow or Kolkata. If you look only at size, Dhaka is by far one of the smallest. Among the 50 main urban areas analyzed in the study there is only one minor, Ahmedabad, in India. The Dhaka area is in fact around 18 times smaller than Tokyo.

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Despite its small “urban footprint”, the report notes that the Bangladeshi capital has undergone “considerable peripheral development” over the past few years. So much so that before its population density was significantly higher and far exceeded 40,000 residents per square kilometer. The report produced in 2012 he even noticed that there were neighborhoods in the marginal areas where the concentration was much higher. Another handicap of her enormous registry is that, when calculating the average income, the result is very low, which makes her —stand out— in one of the “least economically productive” urban areas.

The Bangladeshi capital does not only stand out in the ranking of the most crowded cities. as collected The Daily Star has the questionable honor of being one of the most polluted cities on the planet. A few days ago the newspaper echoed the poor quality of its air, a problem that, remember, the Asian capital has been dealing with for a long time. “It gets unhealthy during the winter and gets better during the monsoon,” he says. Among the main sources of pollution, the kilns dedicated to making bricks, the traffic and the dust generated by the construction stand out.

Shafiqul Islam Bbqfb16vy5u Unsplash

Beyond its living conditions, the truth is that Dhaka plays a fundamental role in the politics and economy of its country. The metropolis centralizes the institutional life of the nation and only the city and the great region of Dhaka —points The Statesman— account for about one-fifth of GDP and almost half of the jobs in Bangladesh. Its population weight is equally clear. In the country as a whole more than 160 million people reside; in the urban area, 16.8.

Although the study carried out by the technicians of demographics clearly indicates the capital of Bangladesh as the urban area with more than 500,000 inhabitants with the highest population density in the world, the truth is that the calculation is not easy. In his analysis he takes into account, for example, the “urban footprints”which are fixed with the urbanized extension, not the administrative limits.

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Other rankings bring to first place cities that also register a considerable concentration of people, such as Male, the capital of the Maldives. Even though your census It is much smaller than Dhaka, its small size also subjects it to considerable overcrowding. Other studies indicate the mumbai caseone of the largest cities in India, where Demographia estimates they reside a thousand people for every square kilometer.

Pictures | MD Sifat Jahan (Unsplash) and Shafiqul Islam (Unsplash)

Today it may sound crazy to us, but around the 18th century, London newspapers published chronicles about how you could…

Today it may sound crazy to us, but around the 18th century, London newspapers published chronicles about how you could…

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