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Reading: Examining the usage of city walls for wall chalking: cases from Karachi, Pakistan

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Examining the usage of city walls for wall chalking: cases from Karachi, Pakistan

Authors:

Noman Ahmed,

NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, PK
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Suneela Ahmed

NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, PK
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Abstract

External walls and facades of buildings are commonly exposed elements in urban built environments. These structures are also used as a means of communication by different stakeholders for cultural, religious, commercial, political, welfare and promotion of public art. It is generally considered as an illegal enterprise in many urban contexts. However, wall chalking continues to exist and expand as an alternative medium of communication. This paper questions the paradox of legal prohibition versus continued existence of wall chalking and the reasons behind its continued practice. Various forms of wall chalking are looked into, ranging from populist messages, commercial announcements and some art work. The paper probes into the various formats of this peculiar visual enterprise for examining its social, cultural and political justification or otherwise, as subscribed by the related stakeholders, within the paradigm of various types of informal practices within the city, and how these informal practices are viewed with respect to, so called ‘formal’ ways of doing things. Six public locations in Karachi were chosen as case study areas for in-depth appraisal into the phenomenon. Silent observations of the locations, photographic documentation of wall chalking and graffiti and in-depth interviews of identified stakeholders have been used as tools for gathering information.
How to Cite: Ahmed, N. and Ahmed, S., 2020. Examining the usage of city walls for wall chalking: cases from Karachi, Pakistan. Bhumi, The Planning Research Journal, 7(2), pp.3–22. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/bhumi.v7i2.57
Published on 24 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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