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
  • Lifetime Achievement Award of ADA (Architecture Design Art), 2022
  • Development Leadership Award, presented by Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Government of Pakistan, 2023
  • Co-Chair, Health & Architecture, UIA World Congress of Architects–CPH 2023, Sustainable Future Leave No One Behind


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
  18. Syed Murtaza Hassan

    Sir, can i get your number I just want to ask you something please give us your contact number and the site is way to awesome and too good
    Syed Murtaza Hassan
    Geologist (bsc hons)3rd year in karachi university
    Contact no: 0342-3614964

    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm | PermalinkReply
  19. Zaure Tashkyn (Ukusheva)

    Dear Mr.Arif Hasan,
    I’m very happy that I had a chance to work with you in far 1997-98 years in Kazakhstan, Almaty and then in Karachi, analysing social research results under your kind supervising. It was remarkable and very useful for me and influenced on my further life and carrier. Please accept my best wishes for long years and happiness.

    Posted August 5, 2018 at 1:45 am | PermalinkReply
  20. Admiring the dedication you put into your site and in depth information you present.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    Posted March 23, 2019 at 7:36 am | PermalinkReply
  21. Sawaira

    Sir i am a student of FSC. I cant decide which field to choose. I’ve been thinking about architecture but not getting much support. Many people say that after completing degree in architecture, u need to have a very strong financial background to start your own work..secondly, girls donot choose such professions.(which i dont believe in)
    Now, if i just go for it, i’m afraid, what if i could not do my best? And if i choose some other profession, i might regret for not choosing this one for my whole life. Very much confused i am. Need help and suggestions. Please take some time out to reply.

    Posted April 25, 2019 at 4:16 pm | PermalinkReply
  22. Syed Kumail Haider

    I am Syed Kumail Haider, student of architecture at Dawood University of Engineering and Technology. I want to do research with you. Now a days I am also studying the research papers related to sustainable environment.
    It is my humble request that, please hire me as an intern at your organization.

    My email address is syedkumailhyder@gmail.com.

    Posted May 25, 2019 at 11:57 am | PermalinkReply
  23. Dinshaw Avari
    Posted September 8, 2020 at 12:30 pm | PermalinkReply
  24. A wonderful compilation of valuable information on our beloved Karachi. May blessings follow all of you who have tirelessly dedicate your lives to its service and those of all citizens.

    Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:32 am | PermalinkReply
  25. Ameen Munasser

    Allah give him long health and wellness he
    devoted his life for the sake of those who are unable to find housing.
    Therefore, the house designs were simple and healthy at the same time, so local and natural materials were used in the construction.
    He was keen to reduce the cost of the house, as he paid a lot of attention to natural lighting and ventilation.
    His architecture was distinctive and aimed to enter the addition explicitly into the house. He did not care much about the impregnations and decoration through mosaics and ceramic tiles, but how to provide cheap housing for the poor and he was interested in developing cities, especially Nadina Karachi and the province of Sindh.

    Posted December 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm | PermalinkReply
  26. Aslamoalaikum,hope you are doing well
    It’s me noor, a student of mass communication from Karachi university.
    I along with 4 other group members are working on a campaign to spread awareness about the increased numbers of private vehicles has become a major source of noise pollution in the city of Karachi. And how its affecting our daily life.
    Here is the link to one of our social media pages bellow.
    we are asked to talk to experts and come up with some solutions, focusing on how the lack of traffic management, lack of well-constructed roads, and how the lack of public transportation available in the city has enouraged the public to own a vehicle.
    For this matter, I want you to give us some time from your busy routine and talk to us on a live stream or insta live (This Saturday, afternoon, or evening)
    The interview will be taken with pre-planned questions focusing on the issue only.
    Which might take an hour or so.
    I will be waiting for your response,
    Thank you.

    Posted January 14, 2023 at 4:42 pm | PermalinkReply
  27. Roger Bateman

    I have seen your document “The churches, temples, and shrines of Karachi”. I am especially interested in Hazrat Mewa Shah.
    I am doing MA research in Australia on Muslim cameleers who worked here in the 19th century. I have become interested in Sayyed Jalal Shah who traveled across Australia preaching to cameleers in 1914 to 1916. I have a document that says his grandfather through his mother was Syed Mive Shah (translated Dari to English, not by me!!). Are these men be the same? Everything else fits, origin in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, moved to Sindh, a Sufi ‘saint’.
    I write to you to see if you know of this descendant Sayyed Jalal Shah. He was evidently born in Karachi in 1883, returned to Karachi in 1916, went on the Hajj in the 1920s, still alive it seems in 1940.
    I am trying to write a short biography of him, his story is one of the most complete of the Muslims who came to Australia during this short but quite important part of Australian history.

    I hope you can help me, and direct me to sources of information that is not easily available in Australia

    Roger Bateman
    Perth Western Australia

    Posted June 7, 2023 at 4:26 am | PermalinkReply
    • Arif Hasan

      Dear Mr Bateman,

      I am afraid I can not help you in your quest for I do not know the men whom you have mentioned in your letter. However, a lot has been written about Mewa shah and Karachi’s most important graveyard is named after him. For a few pieces of biography of Mewa shah please read my book “Karachi before the British conquest”. It might direct you to somewhere.

      Best wishes,
      Arif Hasan

      Posted June 7, 2023 at 5:33 pm | PermalinkReply
  28. Hina Ashdar


    I need Mr. Arif Hassan or his team member contact details, I need to invite him for the PODACST, details we will share over email.

    Please reach out to me on the given information.

    Posted March 5, 2024 at 3:56 pm | PermalinkReply
    • Arif Hasan

      Dear Hina Ashdar,

      Arif Hasan’s address is Muhammad Ali Society, Miran Muhammad Shah Road, house no D37, his mobile and WhatsApp is 03062691736.

      Arif Hasan’s RA
      Nudrat Junaid

      Posted March 6, 2024 at 2:35 pm | PermalinkReply

4 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 […]

  3. […] Arif Hasan, a well known architect, urban planner, social researcher and activist who has been involved and working in Karachi’s development and planning issues since 1968, has written and commented extensively on this issue. According to him, the reasons for Karachi floods are varied and depend significantly on poor planning and lack of infrastructure development such as lack of sewage processing plants in the 1950s. He says that due to poor planning, informal settlements were never provided with sewage lines and therefore they were left with no other option to dispose of sewage than the storm water drains. These drains were subsequently also used for sewage disposal by formal settlements, as well as any new property development projects that grew in Karachi. Therefore, it is neither fair nor accurate to place the blame on the poor, working class or on informal settlements.  […]

  4. […] in particular, giving space to street vendors facilitating the marginalized [see extensive work of Arif Hassan, Dr. Nadeem Ul Haque, Dr. Muhammad Naveed Iftikhar and many others] will revive downstream […]

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