Urban experts and rights activists at a programme said that urban facilities and utilities are not child friendly and even child safety is not considered in infrastructure development.
They noted that the city corporation will never solve the problem of road digging works as the income for the ruling party's low-tier activists comes from these activities.
Their observations came at a day-long training session on 'Child-Sensitive Urban Planning in Bangladesh-Reshaping the Cities for Children and Youth' on Saturday at a city hotel jointly organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) and Save the Children.
In his remarks, BAPA Joint Secretary Architect Iqbal Habib said, "We are getting more inclined towards mega-projects without considering their utility for the cities. We are more interested in undertaking projects than changing the system,".
He observed that the operating fund for the ruling party comes from the low-level leaders and activists from road digging works. That's why the city corporations will never solve those problems although they know the way out.
"We are inviting danger by destroying our environment. We have to increase the green areas for our survival and build child-friendly cities," he said.
Professor Adil Mohammad Khan, former general secretary, BIP said that there is no alternative to playgrounds for the mental development of children. The cities should be made livable by controlling pollution, he added.
"It is not possible to develop a city without considering political economy as the political leaders patronise the hawkers who occupy roads and footpaths for running businesses. Whatever be the plans from the planner's side, the city will never become child-friendly unless these wrongdoings are controlled", he added.
Ahsanul Kabir, Professor, URP Discipline Department, Khulna University said that it is impossible to develop child-friendly cities without maintaining a healthy economy.
"We all are interested in developing smart cities without knowing the components to build a smart city. Use of ICT is not enough to develop a smart city," he said.
Planners and other stakeholders suggested giving more importance to the needs and demands of children in urban planning to develop an ideal city.
In his presentation titled 'Making cities livable for children' Reefat Bin Sattar, director, programme development and quality, Save the Children said," We have to listen to children's voices while planning the cities and bring the greeneries back. For this, local representatives have to play the role of frontline enablers".
He said, in 30 years, at least half of the country's population will be living in cities.
In a city like Dhaka, children who are living in slums lack access to decent housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare and quality education. There is a lack of playgrounds in schools and communities and even worse, where people do have access to existing playgrounds, they are not suitable and safe for children to play.
Urban facilities and utilities are not child friendly and even child safety is not considered in infrastructure development. It is challenging for children to use public transport (especially in overcrowded urban areas), he added.
The training session was chaired by Fazle Reza Sumon, President of BIP, and moderated by SM Mehedi Ahsan, general secretary of BIP.