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WB approves 100.5 mln USD to improve Bangladeshi capital's pu

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DHAKA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank has approved 100.5 million U.S. dollars to improve public spaces and urban services in four large neighborhoods under the Dhaka South City Corporation, benefitting about a million residents.

The "Dhaka City Neighborhood Upgrading Project" will enhance livability of the selected neighborhoods by improving public open spaces such as parks, playgrounds, waterfronts, streets, sidewalks, and public buildings such as community centers with integrated public facilities. The project will specially cater to the needs of women, youths, elderly and disabled, who often refrain from using public amenities, said the Washington-based lender in a statement received here Monday.

"Dhaka is the most important economic center of Bangladesh, accounting for one-fifth of its GDP, and almost half of its formal employment. Its population has grown from three million in 1980 to 18 million today. But, its infrastructure could not keep up with its population growth," said Robert Saum, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

"Global experience shows that good public urban spaces are fundamental to improving the quality of life. The project will pilot interventions to enable the residents better use and enjoy public urban spaces."

According to the statement, the project will help increase green open spaces by enhancing selected parks, streets and waterfront areas, in both low-income neighborhoods and downtown areas. Multipurpose community centers will include a mix of new uses to serve neighborhoods and incorporate environment-friendly features and energy efficient design principles and materials, it said.

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