Dhaka Net-Zero
PennDesign, Spring 2010

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, faces a growing water crisis. Its ever-increasing population threatens the sustainability of the Dupi Tila aquifer, which is being depleted faster than it can be recharged. At the same time, the impermeability of the clay cap on which most of Dhaka is built limits the potential for natural recharge of the aquifer. As a result, the infiltration from surface water sources further threatens to pollute the aquifer.

Dhaka Net-Zero proposes a new zoning code for the city based upon a net-zero abstraction of groundwater over the course of the year. Through a variety of strategies, including rainwater catchment, storage, reduced usage, and artificial recharge, the project demonstrates how this goal might be achieved. A strategy for the retrofit of existing buildings is also proposed. The project explores the spatial and urban ramifications of this zoning code.