Land Ownership, Control and Contestation in Karachi and Implications for Low-income Housing

Issues in Control and Ownership

Karachi is a megacity with a population of about 18 million. Preliminary analyses of Pakistan’s 2011 census suggest that it is the fastest growing city in the world. Megacities are unique ecosystems whose land-use configurations have a profound influence on the daily living conditions of their residents. Urbanization produces areas of high population density, creates demographic change, and concentrates economic and political power in the megacity concerned. All of these processes are currently under way in Karachi.

The subsequent effects on land use and development in Karachi are similar to those of urbanization in other megacities in the southern hemisphere (see Weinstein, 2008, on Mumbai; Sassen, 2001, on New York; Gilbert, 2003, on Nairobi, and Payne et al., 2007, for an overview of literature on urbanization). They include illegal land conversions, the use of funds acquired through coercion and contraband trafficking to develop real estate, turf wars between rival real estate dealers and promoters, large-scale evictions, huge gaps between the supply and demand for housing, and a strong anti-poor bias in planning and policy making.

Download the full report: Karachi: The Land Issue [PDF, 853KB]

For associated maps and diagrams, please also refer to this article.

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