A Note on Criteria for Listing Historic Buildings in Karachi and its Relationship to a Larger Conservation Plan

F) Preparation of Conservation Plan and its Presentation Before Interest Groups

On the basis of a, b and c above, a conservation plan should be prepared and presented before various interest groups. On the basis of feedback from the presentations, the plan should be modified if necessary and finalised.

G) Final Listing of Buildings

Based on the plan a final listing of buildings will take place and all relevant details of the plan will be served to the building owners along with the conservation notification.

2.2 Long-Term Process/Measures

A) Conservation Areas

The relevant authority should declare the old quarters of Karachi as a conservation areas.

B) Planning and Technical Support Unit

The Conservation Cell should be transformed into a Planning and Technical Support Unit for the conservation area. The functions of this Unit would be to

  • Frame conservation consistent bye-laws for the conservation area;
  • Develop plans for the rehabilitation of the conservation areas;
  • Analyse government proposals for Karachi and present its views on them keeping in view the larger interests of the conservation area.
C) Rehabilitation Pilot Project
  • One or more neighbourhoods in the conservation area should be selected for the commencement of a rehabilitation project on the principles and methodologies developed by the Orangi Pilot Project. This can eventually spread to other parts of the conservation areas.
  • Technical and lobbying support should be provided to the Karachi Wholesale Grossers Group that wishes to vacate the Dhan Mandi and be relocated somewhere near railway line. This movement out of the old city will completely change the character of the Old Town, Jail and Napier Quarters and make the rehabilitation of these quarters possible.

3. Broad Criteria For Listing Historic Buildings

Given the Karachi situation on a broad criteria for the listing of historic buildings is given below.

A) Buildings That Can Be Unlisted

Those buildings that do not fall in the categories given below can be unlisted. In addition, those buildings that are on the verge of collapse or would require immense investments can also be de-listed provided other examples of the same period and/or style are being conserved in the neighbourhood.

B) Buildings Not Owned Privately

Buildings that are owned by government agencies, institutions and/or trusts should all be tentatively marked for preservation. A dialogue should be established with the owners and agreements on the future use/conservation plans for these buildings should be arrived at. Incentives for conservation can include technical support for conservation/re-use/ development; tax rebates and building loans.

C) Buildings That Must Be Preserved

The following buildings must be preserved:

  • Buildings of exceptional artistic character
  • Exceptional examples of a particular architectural style or period
  • Buildings that have plans that strongly reflect the sociology of a particular period
  • Buildings that are related to an important personality or a historic event (sub criteria for this will have to be worked out and some buildings may be de-listed and/or marked for simple conservation as a result provided a plaque is installed giving the details of the association of the building with the historic event or personality).

Incentives for preservation may include technical support; low interest loans, tax rebates.

D) Buildings That Are To Be Conserved/Re-Use

The following buildings should be conserved or developed for re-use:

  • Buildings that are important for maintaining the character of the urban landscape
  • Buildings that are part of a larger cluster of old buildings
  • Buildings that can provide similar economic benefits to the demolition and reconstruction option.

Incentives for preservation may include technical support; low interest loans, tax rebates.

E) Buildings Whose Facades Are To Be Protected

The old buildings that do not fall in any of the above categories will be required to preserve their facades. The reconstruction of these buildings will be carried out according to the rules and regulations framed by the Conservation Cell and by architects pre-qualified for this purpose.

3.2 Further Work Required for Categorisation

To apply the above criteria, the work listed in para 2.1 will have to be carried out and periods, styles, plan types and their relationship to sociology will have to be established.

4. Cost And Time Period

The approximate cost for the establishment and operation of the Conservation Cell will be about Rs 350,000 per year minus office rent and cost of utilities.

The time required to complete the work listed in paragraph 2.1 would be in the neighbourhood of three to four months.

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