Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Slums, Sprawl and Contemporary Islamabad - A Doxiadis’ Mess

Hasan, Lubna and Chaudhry, Aqeel and Ahmad, Ayaz and Jalil, Hanzla (2021): Slums, Sprawl and Contemporary Islamabad - A Doxiadis’ Mess.

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Abstract

Islamabad is currently in the process of reviewing its Master Plan. Islamabad, planned in 1960 by C. A. Doxiadis on the principles of ‘Dynapolis’ – “the City of the Future” is a low-density administrative city, with single-family homes based on an American suburban model. There was no room for the poor, a central business district (CBD), or even a university. The city has 126 illegal private housing societies - operating without adhering to the modalities set for residential spaces. Islamabad also has 63 un/under-serviced slums housing 30% of the total city population. All this is the result of a restrictive zoning regime that encourages sprawl against high-density mixed-use development causing inefficient use of land. Urban Sprawl has disadvantages in terms of increased travel time, transport costs, pollution, destruction of arable lands. The World has moved on from restrictive master planning. Master plans are time and data-intensive. Being static and mostly non-inclusive, their stringent requirements leave little space for markets to develop. Islamabad is an over-regulated city favoring single-family houses. Successful cities have flexible zoning codes to adjust to changing physical requirements of a city. Islamabad is not an affordable city for low-income groups. Real estate prices increase where height restrictions are excessive. Rezoning helps the increase of supply land to keep prices in check. Policy needs to recognise cities as engines of growth. The zoning paradigm needs to favor density, high-rise mixed-use development, walkability, public and community spaces. Government ownership of city-center land needs to be reduced to allow cities adequate ownership of their land and resources. Commerce is to be given priority in city centers. City management should be professional and accountable. Cities must be able to hire out of their budgets. Decision-making must be an open consultative process.

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