Footpath Design Guideline

An initiative to create better walkable environment for cities in Bangladesh

Cities are looked up as a place with endless opportunities. Cities in Bangladesh are expected to provide employment opportunities with equitable basic services such as shelter, food, healthcare, education, infrastructure, mobility and transportation, energy, air quality and livelihoods. Bangladesh in its recent past has been experiencing a rapid transformation of the urban environment. The pressures of growth in existing and emerging towns and cities have created a great deal of unsatisfactory performance of the urban environment and they are visible in almost all components be it in housing, mobility or public places. While urgent attention is required for all components, this book mainly deals with one particular aspect and that concerns mobility and that too by foot.

Quality of services associated with mobility is one of the core elements of healthy city that none of the cities in Bangladesh currently have. Basic and the most important form of mobility – walking, has not been promoted while developing our cities. The movement system in an urban environment comprises of footpaths, streets, roads and rapid transit systems and they are all connected. Footpaths are essential component of an urban system that works both in conjunction with the road and street network and also separately. They are considered to be the vital element of transport infrastructure to construct walkable environment – essential to ensure quality of life in cities.

Walking and walkability enhances social cohesion, increases mobility and access to opportunities connected to individual independence and well-being. A city that inherent well designed and well-connected network of footpaths, offers walkable environment for its dwellers, is without any doubt clean, healthy, happy, economic and sustainable. Shifting urban design and planning paradigm on making better walkable cities can solve major environmental, socio-economic and public health issues that most of the urbanites are suffering from.

Footpaths are not just paths where people walk. They offer space that unite people on foot, give them opportunity to socialize, a sense of belonging, draws significance to certain locality through activities. In short, footpaths are linear public space that give urbanites right to walk.

This book intends to illustrate conceptual methods to enhance the quality of footpaths in the urban environment of Bangladesh. Starting with defining footpath and terms associated with walking, the book further develops with collected narratives on footpath and walkability; taxonomy elaborating types of footpaths in Bangladesh and abroad; activities on footpath those make it a public space; current scenario of footpath in Bangladesh; and a guideline that shows ways to design footpaths for better walkability. It also includes a chapter with essential details of amenities for footpath.