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Examining Mapping as a Tool for Community Empowerment in the Context of Unplanned Settlements; A Case of Karachi, Pakistan

Authors:

Noman Ahmed ,

NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi, PK
About Noman
Department of Architecture & Planning
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Fariha Tahseen

NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi, PK
About Fariha
Department of Architecture & Planning
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Abstract

Ever since her independence in 1947, Pakistan has experienced unplanned urbanization and rapid growth of informal settlements at a rapid pace. The large cities such as Karachi have become vast sprawling urban regions with a large share of unplanned settlements. Low income and poor communities reside in such settlements due to absence of state provided or facilitated options. Many predicaments confront such settlements. Threats of eviction, deteriorating law and order situation, lack of essential amenities, absence of water and sanitation, extortion and bullying from local and non-local musclemen and feeble response of government agencies towards their development needs are some mentions. Preventing illegal land transactions, initiating rehabilitation programs or making compensations for poor communities who need to be relocated and providing technical assistance for various development works in under privileged settlements that claims or succeeds in achieving security of land entitlement from government are among core responsibilities of a state for its people. The paper investigates (through literature review, field surveys and interviews) (a) initiation and proliferation of informal settlements in Karachi besides documenting state’s response and initiatives to overcome the ever growing demand for housing (b) causes and process of peri urban land invasion causing rapid densification at the peripheral boundaries of Karachi (c) impacts and outcomes of unregulated urbanization affecting poor communities who remain underprivileged and deprived of decent living conditions and (d) appraisal of community based mapping as a tool in initiating and supporting development works in less privileged areas for community empowerment. Mapping may use as a documentation tool to generate factual evidences related to land ownership/ utilization status, state input related to land supply and other related matters. The OPP*, under the leadership of its slain director Perween Rahman** had a significant role to play in developing and extending this approach in low income locations in Karachi and beyond.

 

* Well reputed for working to benefit the less privileged communities

** Perween Rehman was an architect and specialist in community development work. She worked in low income settlements of Karachi and other parts of the region for over thirty years. She was assassinated on 13th March 2013.
How to Cite: Ahmed, N. & Tahseen, F., (2017). Examining Mapping as a Tool for Community Empowerment in the Context of Unplanned Settlements; A Case of Karachi, Pakistan. Bhumi, The Planning Research Journal. 5(2), pp.5–20. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/bhumi.v5i2.28
Published on 31 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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