Re Thinking the Public Toilet of Dhaka City: An Adaptable Prototype Design Solution to Improve the Existing Situation


  • Syeda Faeza Hasan Samford University Bangladesh, Dhaka-1217, Bangladesh
  • Farjana Rahman Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, Dhaka 1208, Bangladesh



Public Toilets, Existing Problems, Demand, Design Strategy, Modular Prototype, Dhaka city


Dhaka is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world with a population of 21 million. With the constantly rising inhabitants, this urbanizing hub officially only has 122 public toilets, and in reality, most of them are not functional (Sanyal, November 05, 2016). Different studies also suggested that current situations of the public toilets in the city are unusable and unhygienic. Apart from a few good ones, most toilets have filthy floors, inadequate lighting and ventilation, and unbearable odor of human waste. Although unhygienic open defecation by men is a common scene in the city, for the woman it is not an option. While the city plans to construct a few, there still will be a huge need for public toilets to meet the demand of the vast population. It is critical to realize the challenges existing and evolving from the forbidding public hygiene situation and the lack of proper public infrastructure. Understanding the user group is crucial as modern and costly toilets end up being rejected than being used. Thus the paper tries to address the problems and suggests design strategies to achieve a feasible design solution for a sustainable public toilet that supports and empowers communal hygiene. The contribution of this paper is not only to promote a design solution but how this infrastructure can integrate with the surrounding urban context. A modular prototype is proposed which is adaptable, feasible, cost-effective, easy to erect, and can be plugged into any corner of the city. Rethinking public toilets as an adaptable prototype is not only about providing proper sanitation but also encouraging people about hygiene education, awareness, and innovation. The design is conceptualized as a prefabricated self-sustainable modular unit that can be altered, increased, or decreased as per the necessity of the surrounding area. 


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