Spreading the word about Karachi's contested land
A report on land ownership and low-income housing is influencing future urban planners.
A report and short film on the contested nature of land ownership in Karachi, Pakistan, has documented the impact on poor residents and the environment and outlined strategies for urban planners to improve housing conditions.
The creation of the report and its findings has given the skilled local researchers behind it and IIED the opportunity to create real change and take the blueprint from Karachi to other urban settlements.
Land in Karachi is hotly contested, with individual areas controlled by the government, military and groups referred to by local press as 'mafias'. The report found clashing interests and poor coordination between the military and city officials.
The report also highlighted the issues facing low-income residents trying to buy – including being forced to buy properties outright and loan sharks – and outlined where the financial system could make an impact.
- Arif Hasan
Architect, planner, activist
In addition to the report's findings, the process of publication and promotion was instructive for IIED. The fact that the report was initiated, designed and directed by a local research team proved to be key. The local team brought buy-in and helped the report and film receive in-depth media coverage. The report is now being incorporated into courses at NED University in Karachi along with other schools planning projects.
IIED is now looking at how this project can help other cities around the world. The report and film can add to the international debate on development assistance and sustainable development goals for cities.
The new data from Karachi has been added to the IIED project alternative routes to density along with IIED-related projects in Bangkok and Kathmandu. This will act as a resource for people working on equitable housing around the world.