The Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN), in collaboration with UN-Habitat and the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), spearheaded a transformative workshop, “Design for All,” held on December 9, 2023, at Police Plaza Concord, Gulshan 1. Addressing the urgent need for disability-inclusive urban planning and infrastructure design, the workshop strategically aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).
The workshop’s primary objectives included raising awareness, building the capacity of participants, and aligning strategies with SDGs 6, 8, and 11, as well as the National Action Plan. Key areas covered ranged from policy responses to experiences and solutions for ‘Design for All,’ emphasizing the role of employers and UN-Habitat initiatives on universal accessibility. Distinguished speakers included Murteza Rafi Khan, CEO of BBDN; Dr. Priyanka Kochhar, UN-Habitat Technical Advisor; Salma Mahbub, General Secretary of BSCAN and a person with a disability; Mr. KZH Taufiq, a former Director at the Ministry of Housing; Shabab Rehan Kabir, Executive Architect of the Department of Architecture under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works; and Tim Zahid from Shin Shin Group, among others. From legal frameworks to practical design solutions and global initiatives, the workshop provided participants with a diverse range of perspectives. President of Institutes of Architects Bangladesh Prof. Dr. Khandakar Shabbir Ahmed and Chief Architect of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha Mr. Mostac Ahmed also shared invaluable insights, contributing to a holistic understanding of disability-inclusive urban planning.
Murteza Rafi Khan’s warm welcome speech set the tone for an event focused on meaningful dialogue and collaboration, while Dr. Priyanka Kochhar outlined the workshop’s overarching goals. The workshop not only enriched participants with knowledge but also paved the way for a more inclusive and accessible future in urban planning.