Thoughts on Urban Resilience and Utility Services

Afia Malik shares her thoughts on a recently published PIDE research report on urban resilience and utility services in different cities in Pakistan. She finds each electricity utility company faces different challenges and requires a different approach. Unfortunately, this is not easy for decision-makers to understand.

Illegal Housing Societies in Islamabad

Illegal housing societies are pervasive in Islamabad. According to Capital Development Authority (CDA), 140 illegal housing societies are operating in the city, occupying over 90 percent of land in Zones 2, 4, and 5. CDA’s list of authorized societies is a misnomer as it includes names of societies that have been declared illegal by the courts or are under NAB investigations, while only 22 societies possess a NOC. How have these societies mushroomed under the watchful eyes of CDA, which has an extensive regulatory regime for the development of private housing societies? Our analysis suggests that regulatory burden, bureaucratic delays, corruption, and greed have distorted the housing market in Islamabad.

Lahore’s Urban Dilemma

Raja Rafiullah feels Lahore, the city known historically for its gardens and vibrant street bazars now is a victim of congestion and poor urban planning. In his blog “Lahore’s Urban Dilemma”, Rafiullah highlights that the need perhaps is to loosen the laws and give market the chance to play out its course. In doing so we can also encourage construction on all levels, decrease low-income housing shortage, create employment and invigorate the local economy.

Pakistan’s Low Cost Housing Finance Policy

By Dr. Ayaz Ahmed Introduction Pakistan, like other developing countries, has been facing shortage of housing units. This fundamental human need is acting more significantly at the base of the population pyramid. Authorities have observed that interest for new homes is around 700,000 units/year. But only a small portion of this interest is met. In…… Continue reading Pakistan’s Low Cost Housing Finance Policy

Public Transportation System and Female Mobility in Pakistan

By Mr. Fahd Zulfiqar Identifying Issues in Pakistan’s Public Transportation System Pakistan is one of the most urbanized countries of the world and the most urbanized country in Asia Pacific with two-third of its urban population living in the ten large cities. On organizational and functional fronts, the country has been undergoing random changes in…… Continue reading Public Transportation System and Female Mobility in Pakistan

Islamabad: A City for the Rich

by Ms. Mariam Mohsin If you have ever been to Islamabad, chances are you must have visited the city’s celebrated Jinnah Super Market. It’s luscious green. Beautiful. Packed with local and international brand outlets. It’s brimming with life – so much so that you most probably did not get a chance to look down South.…… Continue reading Islamabad: A City for the Rich

High Rise, Lahore Urban Sprawl and PM Khan’s Directive

by Mr. Aqeel Chaudhry Why we will not be seeing any high rise buildings in Pakistan any time soon is because they are expensive? That is only one part of the puzzle that entirely depends on the market. Other parts of the puzzle are the regulations that are not allowing the market to act freely.…… Continue reading High Rise, Lahore Urban Sprawl and PM Khan’s Directive

Urban Management: Thinking Beyond Master Plans

by Mr. Nadeem Khurshid Yesteryear, Prime Ministers’ public vision statement for having ‘Denser and Vertical Cities’ stirred a new wave of debate and activity amongst dormant urban institutions. All in the public and donor sectors started prophesizing ‘Master Planning’ as a silver bullet to resolve all urban issues overnight. Urban heavyweights in Punjab, such as…… Continue reading Urban Management: Thinking Beyond Master Plans

Our Poor ‘Ease of Living’ Indicators

By Nadeem Khurshid Globally, cities are considered ‘economic powerhouses’ while contributing almost 80% to world GDP. For being economically productive and competitive, a city must first be advantageous, vibrant, efficient, inclusive and livable. We frequently listen to the “Ease of Doing Business” mantra but hardly think of “Ease of Living” parameters for our cities since…… Continue reading Our Poor ‘Ease of Living’ Indicators

Bikes, Density and Cars

written by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque Lord Keynes in a famous statement said that “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years…… Continue reading Bikes, Density and Cars

Why are We Subsidizing Car-Use?

written by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque When I write about going high, everyone responds, “what about parking?” My response “we don’t need parking!” is met with shock. We are making cities for cars. There was a time people walked or biked in most of our cities. Since then an obsession with cars has widened roads to…… Continue reading Why are We Subsidizing Car-Use?

Where are the opportunities for the poor?

written by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque PM has announced an EHSAS program for poverty alleviation — an admirable step. But more than government aid the poor need to be included in cities of opportunity. Handouts and credit and online opportunities are not a substitute for opportunity. Think about it many of our poor have climbed into…… Continue reading Where are the opportunities for the poor?

Why not Khokhas Everywhere?

by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque Street-vending through kiosks (khokhas or dhabas) or mobile vendors (chabri wallahs, truck, bicycles or motor cycles) are all legitimate activities which allow the poor opportunities. All societies through history have had these activities. An unemployed person can with a small amount of money buy some fruit and serve it on…… Continue reading Why not Khokhas Everywhere?