Changing Morphology and the Emerging Pattern of a Traditional City: A Case of Tanti Bazar Area in Old Dhaka

  • Fatema Meher Khan Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, BUET.
Keywords: Old Dhaka, Urban Morphology, Shophouses


The traditional urban fabric of Old Dhaka has been undergoing physical changes due to the growth of commerce in different localities. For last few decades, this phenomenon has changed the morphology of the traditional urban form of shophouses into multi leveled, rentable retail and wholesale facilities which influenced to alter the fabric of the historic core of the old city. This paper explains the morphological transformation of the traditional urban fabric in Old Dhaka, its resultant impact and the emerging pattern of physical development. The combined strategies—interpretive-historical and empirical strategies—are followed to study the morphological transformation. The historical settlement of Shophouses in Tanti Bazar (Weaver's Market) has been selected to Map and synthesize the process of transformation under two indicators: functional (land use, location and distribution of functions) and physical (streets, plots, built form and open space). It is observed that the traditional urban form of shophouse is in a process of transformation which leads to a change in the functional and physical structure of the area. Although the street pattern is predominantly unchanged, the density of built form has been increased and open spaces are squeezed in time. A number of plots have been merged to build multi-storied and large scale buildings. Due to increasing commercialization, the extension of the built forms is both horizontally and vertically. In addition, low storied, elaborate layouts of traditional shophouses have been transformed into multi-storied buildings packed with shops and residential units. Shops are now laid out in a deep plan as opposed to the traditional shophouses having a few shops adjacent to the street.

Author Biography

Fatema Meher Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, BUET.