Dhaka started to develop in a more planned way after 1947 when it gained regional and political importance. Previously, commercial and residential areas were situated side by side, mostly concentrated beside the narrow roads, old Dhaka still presents this situation with a mixture commercial, residential and small industries. After preparation of the Master Plan of the city in 1958, the commercial centres of the city was moved to Motijheel and a high residential area was developed at Dhanmondi. Housing colonies for government employees, universities, parks, commercial and industrial zones, lakes and other public facilities were developed gradually to meet the demands of the expanding city. With the development of the city, wide roads and other paved areas replaced the unpaved areas, natural depressions, and agricultural land. In many cases, natural drainage canals and open water bodies were filled up for development works.
Dhaka is the center of the govt. and the center of economic power. It shows continuous expansion and shift in terns of residential development. The old city of Dhaka has intensely centralized development with a strong urban core starting from Postogola in east and continued up to Ahsan Manjil near Sadarghat on west. The Ramna-Motijheel area emerged as an adjacent development (to the old core). Within these areas residential development occurred along with few activity centers (Bazaar and commercial) like chawk, Fort, Islampur Nawabpur etc. The next residential growth evolved in the development of nodes like Azimpur, Dhanmondi, Kalabagan Triangle, Green Road, Mohammadpur, Lalmatia, Banani, Gulshan, Baridhara and other residential development along a strong north – south axis, basically forming an urban corridor developed along the roads and besides the physical infrastructure services provided by the railway road and main north south roadways. Other residential nodes of development includes areas near Airport, Uttara, Basundhara city, west of Gulshan lake, Badda, Shahjadpur etc. and along the corridor (Uttara) leading towards Gazipur and Tongi. Except planned residential areas of Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, DOHS, etc. the rest are haphazardly grown up residential areas with poor roads, poor basic services etc.
The origin of Dhaka city has started from the river bank of Buriganga at the south. In the extreme south-east, near Shyampur, Postagola towards Sadarghat, a patch of industrial development has taken place. After this the commercial nerve center of entire nation namely ChawkBazar, Islampur, Nawabpur, Bangshal, etc. some old established commercial areas are taken place. Within the city limits Tejgaon industrial area occupies 704 acres of land. This is the only major industrial area the city limit. The other industrial area is spreading geographically not only in the peripheral zone but also in the intermediate i.e. Tejgaon Industry area and inner zones i.e. the readymade Garment Industries.Commercial AreasThe commercial land uses are sporadic development all around the city. The Motijheel C.A., Karwan Bazaar are two important commercial areas in Dhaka city. Among these two, Karwan Bazaar is presently posing as the thriving commercial area of the next decade. Apart from this most of the commercial development is basically strip development like established markets, groups of shops, workshops development along the major routes. The commercial zones are presently located in a few main areas namely, Sowarighat Badamtoli, Motijheel, Karwan Bazaar, Mohakhali, Banani and Gulshan.Non-urbanized AreaNon-urbanized area is mainly located in the West and in areas north of National Botanical garden. The area on north are areas located in the west of Bhasantek, north of Bhasantek namely Lalmati, Manickdi, Balurghat, Baigartek, Chak Digun all are non- urbanized. Another non-urbanized area is located seen near Gabtoli, Inter-district, Bus terminal, stretching east, west and north south named Golder Tek.