The Future of Karachi’s “Public Spaces” – An Interview with Archi Times

Public space’ has recently become a buzzword in the world of urban planning. The term has also filtered into Pakistan although there have been individuals and organisations who have worked, against great odds, on the issue for decades without employing the term.

There are many types of urban space. One type is a part of a larger city or neighbourhood’s official plan, such as parks and playgrounds. In Karachi as a whole, much of this space has been illegally taken over for real estate development. Another type is acquired by communities for the purposes for recreation, entertainment and economic activity from ‘leftover’ spaces of official planning, such as wide pavements, around bus stops and formal markets. If such spaces survive long enough, they become an important part of community life. Yet another type evolves out of necessity and the absence of options, such as streets in katchi abadis where children play, women socialise and small neighbourhood businesses establish themselves. Very often, residents block through traffic from the lane, turning it into a protected public space.

Download the full interview (PDF – 4MB)

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