Call for integrated approach towards urban planning

The 6th International Conference on Urban and Regional Planning was organized by the university’s department of architecture and planning.

Urban planning in historic cities like Karachi is a complicated subject that requires an integrated strategy that combines the engineering of settlements with the social concerns of the populace, speakers said at NED University’s city campus.

The 6th International Conference on Urban and Regional Planning was organized by the university’s department of architecture and planning.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Cities and The Poor’. In his remarks, Dr Mouhammad Tufail, pro-vice chancellor of the NED University, said urban planning, particularly of old cities like Karachi, was a complex issue and an integrated approach should be adopted by combining its engineering and social aspects.

“What is the policy? What should it be? How can we make life better for commoners? We can find the answers to those important questions from research articles around the world,” Prof. Dr. Mohammad Tufail said “Having a comprehensive policy is the first step and implementation is the second step, both of which can make the life of a citizen easy.”

Speaking at the event, researcher Amal Hashim said: “The country’s largest city, with an official population of 16.5 million people, has 62 percent of its citizens living in informal settlements where they face a host of issues ranging from lack of transport to quality education and healthcare.” She was giving a presentation on her study about urban challenges in Karachi from the perspective of poor communities.

The study discussed the perceptions, needs, and requirements of the poor in Karachi as articulated by themselves and examined how their problems impacted low-income families.

“It is important to find out what this population seeks from the city they live in. Better transport, housing, health, and education facilities seem to be top priorities. But, what are the obstacles they face in their day to day lives? “Additionally, it is crucial how various groups of people define poverty and why they consider themselves to be poor,” she said.

The Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Management Sciences, Prof. Dr. Noman Ahmed, said that our system is not giving citizens a dignified life.

Architect and planner Kamil Khan Mumtaz, who presented a report on the Master Plan for Lahore Division 2050, provided a detailed rationale on how an attempt was made to incorporate the notions of betterment of humanity in the master plan through participatory planning.

He also expressed reservations about the current focus on growth, development and progress being driven by cities, which is destroying the poor and the environment by creating poverty and inequality.

Citing several reports, Mumtaz pointed to the pollution in the Ravi River, Lahore’s poor air quality, as well as soil contamination with heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, nickel and copper. The concentration of these metals was determined in the blood of various age groups of the population living in and around Lahore, he presented.

Addressing the seminar, the chairperson of the Department of Architecture and Planning, Prof. Dr. Anilah Naeem, said that the conference is the best platform for academia, work research, government, and various stakeholders. International keynote speaker Dr. Josephine Bill (London School of Economics), and AR Arif Hasan also addressed the conference.

Published in MM News 20 Nov 2023