About Arif Hasan

Arif Hasan is a Pakistani architect and planner, activist, teacher, social researcher and writer. He studied architecture at the Oxford Polytechnic, worked in Europe in architect’s offices, and on his return to Karachi in 1968, established an independent practice which slowly evolved into dealing with national and international urban planning and development issues. He has taught at Pakistani and European universities and lectured widely both in the North and the South. His current and previous involvements are listed below.

Current Selected Involvements:

  • Architect and planning consultant in private practice
  • Documenting Karachi’s history and development issues and the process of social change in Pakistan
  • Visiting professor, Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University, Karachi
  • Chairperson, Orangi Pilot Project-Research & Training Institute, Karachi
  • Chairperson, Urban Resource Centre, Karachi
  • Member of the Executive Council of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Bangkok
  • Member of the Advisory Board of “Environment & Urbanization”, the journal of the International Institute for Environment and Development, UK
  • Member, Board of Studies for Architecture at the NED University, Karachi; Karachi University Visual Arts Department; and at the Department of Architecture and Planning, Dawood College, Karachi.
  • Member, UN’s Advisory Group on Forced Evictions
  • Member, Sindh Cultural Heritage Technical and Advisory Committees of the Culture Department of the Sindh Government
  • Member, Governing Body of the Karachi Public Transport Society
  • Member, Board of Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited, Ministry of Communications, Government of Pakistan
  • Member, Board of House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC), Government of Pakistan
  • Member, Academic Committee of the Architecture Board of Studies at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi

Some Previous Involvements:

  • As Consultant in the 1970’s to the Appropriate Technology Development Organisation (ATDO) of the Government of Pakistan, developed models for sanitation, housing and the conceptual framework for research on low cost building materials and environmental issues.
  • As Principal Consultant of the Orangi Pilot Project (1981-2000), applied and modified the models developed for the ATDO to the self-help philosophy of Akhtar Hameed Khan, documented them and their social and physical impacts and promoted their expansion in different areas of Pakistan and abroad
  • Promoted the ATDO/OPP concepts with modifications for different urban and rural contexts as consultant and advisor to different multilateral and bilateral development agencies, government institutions and policy issues, national and international NGOs, and the Aga Khan Network. This led to the establishment of a number of development organisations such as Thardeep
  • Was a member of the Governing Boards of the International Institute for Environment and Development, UK; Karachi Water & Sewerage Board; Karachi Development Authority; National Fund for Mohenjodaro; Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Karachi; Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Karachi; Karachi Metropolitan Transport Authority; Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund; Thardeep Rural Development Project
  • Member of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal’s Task Force 8 (2003-2004); Drafting Committee of the National Housing Policy of the Government of Pakistan (1989); Government’s 2007 Task Force on Pakistan Vision 2030.
  • Member of the External Review Committee for the Aga Khan Programme for Islamic Architecture at MIT and Harvard; Senior Fellow of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics; and chairperson of the Federal Government’s Task Force on Urbanization.
  • Member, Editorial Board of “International Development Planning Review”, Liverpool University, UK
  • Chancellor, Textile Institute of Pakistan, Karachi

Awards and Honours

  • Celebrity speaker at the 16th Union of International Architects Congress in Brighton, UK (1987)
  • Member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1990-1996) and of its Master Jury (1995-1998), Geneva
  • Member, INTBAU (International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism), India Committee of Honour (2007)
  • Received the following awards: Life Time Achievement Award of the Institute of Architects Pakistan (2003); Hilal-e-Imtiaz for Public Service of the Government of Pakistan (2001); Prince Claus Award for contribution to architecture and development (2000); International Year for the Shelterless Memorial Prize of the Japan Housing Association (1990); Best Building Award of the Karachi Development Authority (1983); World Habitat Award of the British Housing Foundation was conferred on the Orangi Pilot Project-Research & Training Institute (2000)
  • Dr. Akhter Hameed Khan Memorial Award of the Council of Social Sciences Pakistan, on the best book on social sciences in the area of Rural / Urban development, 2010


Contact Arif Hasan


  1. Ahmed Misbah ur Rehman

    Arif Hasan Sahib,
    You have created such a wonderful source of information about Karachi. I am so very thankful for letting us use your hard work and tremendous efforts.
    I am myself an Architect. Has been one of the favourite student of Yasmeen Cheema at NCA, Lahore.
    I feel so proud browsing at your website.
    Thank you again.
    May God bless you.

    Ahmed Misbah ur Rehman

    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm | PermalinkReply
    • massihullah

      i my self an architect …but seriously man…..like come on …like seriously ohhh comeon

      Posted October 13, 2014 at 10:41 am | PermalinkReply
  2. Syed Latif

    I am a social Worker working in the Slum of Karachi Qasba colony in Education and Social Activities working closed with OPP and URC forum, I appreciated your efforts in addressing the focus issues of Karachi, your articles, research analyses is important to learn, your hard experiences and hardworking is appreciable. I pray for your Long life and the great Fellows also who work for the noble cause Allah Bless their Soul in Jannah

    Syed Latif
    Bright Educational Society
    Karachi Qasba Colony SITE

    Posted June 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm | PermalinkReply
  3. Muhammad Habib Ur Rahman

    sir you have done a tremendous job for planning field through this website. i wish to work with you to know much more about planning..Thanks

    Posted July 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm | PermalinkReply
  4. Arif Sahib,
    It was an honor to meet you at 9th NED Alumni Convention at Cromwell, Connecticut. I am extremely impressed with your knowledge with respect to Karachi and its real political and economic issues and conflicts. People like you are our asset. Your dedication and hard work for project like OPP is a source of faith and encouragement for new generation. I wish to spend more time with you to be able to benefit from your knowledge and wisdom.

    Posted September 10, 2013 at 1:02 am | PermalinkReply
  5. Salam alekum Arif uncle,
    thoroughly enjoyed yout TEDx Lahore talk:http://youtu.be/yByhtGTTmPk

    am in Karachi in Jan inshallah and look forward to a proper sit down with you on Peace Through Prosperity – may the force remain strong with us all!
    best regards and warmest greetings for the holidays
    Kubair & the team at Peace Through Prosperity

    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:10 am | PermalinkReply
  6. Linda Bouifrou - Shah

    I’m actually amazed by the quantity and quality of your contributions. I think you are the expert on the issue of slums in Pakistan especially in the metropolitan area of Karachi.
    Thank you for these information sources.

    Linda.B. S, Researcher in Urban Geography,
    specializing in the Indian world and the issue of slums.
    University of Paris, France.
    NGO expert.

    Posted January 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm | PermalinkReply
  7. I write magazine .. above our correspondent Lucia Burbano did an interview with architect Arif Hasan, in which we show our readers visually, what the architect has made this social architecture. For this I would like to count on your support, to manage high-resolution photographs of the major works of architect Arif, in high resolution. And a portrait please.

    I look forward to your response and promnta your service for any questions or clarification.
    Best regards.

    Israel P. Vega | Editor de Fotografía | Obras
    T. + 5255 9177 4300 ext. 18051 | C. 044 (55) 13363050
    Grupo Expansión a Time Inc. Company

    Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:17 am | PermalinkReply
  8. Marcos David Burgos

    I would like Arif Hasan or someone from this website to please email me some of the material he has published on how slum upgrading schemes often remove the very populations they claim to be benefiting. I live in Brazil’s largest slum (favela)known as Rocinha, where since 2007 the government has invested almost 1 billion dollars US in upgrading. They have removed a few hundred families already but the next phase is projected to remove several thousand families from Rocinha. I would greatly appreciate if someone could indicate where I can find published material on this issue because I want to raise awareness in Rocinha. I came across Arif Hasan’s name in an Erhard Berner article. Thank you.


    Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm | PermalinkReply
  9. Wonderful source of info about the City (Karachi) I love a lot.

    Posted December 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm | PermalinkReply
  10. Arif Hasan is a source of aspiration for many of us. He is able to see new realities, which many could not see. He is always very lively, smiling and listening. A great teacher for many.

    Posted January 24, 2015 at 1:26 am | PermalinkReply
  11. mehdi faghih abdollahi

    thanks alot for you.

    Posted March 7, 2015 at 7:12 pm | PermalinkReply
  12. Yasmeen Abbas

    I want to know about the status of flat no F-12,Hasan Square if i can get the information regarding this flat i will be obliged.Thanks
    Yasmeen Abbas

    Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:13 am | PermalinkReply
  13. As a social entrepreneur myself, I am overcome with emotion at the realization of the scope and scale of your achievement.

    May the Almighty shower all possible blessings on you and yours.

    In awe,

    Ahsan Rashid

    Posted June 9, 2015 at 7:38 am | PermalinkReply
  14. Muhammad Fazal Noor

    Thank God the site is up and running again. This is such a huge source of information on Karachi and Development for research and teaching. As student of Arif sahib, this is the next best thing to listening to him directly. I hope we are able to put all his work and thoughts in one place and use it.

    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:51 am | PermalinkReply
  15. Mohiuddin Haider

    Hi i need an aeriel view of Karachi business district 1990. preferably KPT, I.I Chundrigar etc in high resolution soft copy.

    If you have plz contact at 0321 222 3007.
    I need these pictures last by tomorrow morning.\\


    Posted January 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm | PermalinkReply
  16. Nikhat Ambreen

    Dear Arif sb

    I am student of University of Melbourne and doing postgraduate in Development studies.
    My purpose of contacting you is that I am planning to conduct my thesis on some aspect of Slums in Karachi. In order to do the fieldwork I need some guidance and information about slums in Karachi. Although the case study that you have written in the 2003 report of UN-HABITAT is greater source of academic reference; I need some guideline and information to plan my study.

    Looking forward to hear form you or it would be great if you can give sometime to discuss through skype.

    Posted March 15, 2016 at 9:12 am | PermalinkReply
  17. Safdar Nensey

    Arif Hassan – I just discovered you & your website. Had no idea that there are folks like yourself doing such a great job. I am not an architect or a Town Planner but have an interest in Islamic Architecture in general and Karachi’s historic buildings in particular. The closest I came to “architectural” discipline was back in 1974 or 1975 when I was offered enrollment in Master of Architecture at National College of Arts but choose not to join it as it would have added significant financial burden on my folks. Anyways, that’s ancient history. Compliments for great you / your team is doing. Very much appreciated.

    Posted July 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm | PermalinkReply

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] *Figures gathered by Arif Hasan […]

  2. […] taken a deliberate decision to not attend such events, reflected the prominent architect Arif Hasan, Chairperson of the  Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) and Urban Resource Centre (URC), whose keynote […]

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