Selected Entries 2017

Adaptive Revitalization of a Disused Railway Corridor in Narayanganj

Shabbir Ahmed
Bangladesh Institute of Engineering and Technology | Dhaka

Bangladesh, a land of rivers, has a number of cities growing up on river banks. These cities are characterised by lowland ecosystems, currently under threat due to human interventions and global climate change. The rail corridors, elevated and linear, cross greenscapes and water canals and connect various places in and out of the city. Some of them have become disused and in absence of proper measures, they succumb to pathological circumstances.

Running along river Shitalakkhya’s edge, the Chashara-Adamjee EPZ Cargo Route has been inactive for many years, with the abandonment of Adamjee Jute Mills in 2002 being the most important factor. The main concerns are the inefficient and unplanned use of the railway land, garbage disposal potential industry exploits to which it remain vulnerable to, whereas the  communities residing along, water bodies and the river are its biggest strength.

Similar issues regarding abandoned rail corridors have been dealt with in many other parts of the world, but in Bangladesh, it is a national concern that must be addressed. Narayanganj is a city craving for vibrant public spaces in the direction of its growth that will act as magnets pulling and sewing together public activities, eventually creating diverse employment opportunities and transforming the economy while addressing the city’s cultural and environmental issues.


This studio project attempts to deal with a potential urban activity corridor currently navigating its way through a variety of unique contexts, scenarios and lifestyles across the length of the route. The basic idea is to transform the available railway land into a green corridor with lush landscapes that will function as an urban green reserve, green connector, green buffer and support urban agriculture and biodiversity, while accommodating diverse public amenities to boost urban economy. A water transit corridor is also designed to safeguard lowland ecosystems and to revive the ancient mode of transport through the city. Local plant species, local activities, local building materials and community participation add to the socio-cultural sustainability, and uninterrupted pedestrian pathways increase safety and mobility.