A Study on Metropolitan Fringe Development in Karachi, Focusing on Informal Land Subdivision

Excerpt from this report:

The inadequate and inappropriate response of government policies to the problem of housing the poor has led to the development of what is termed an “informal sector” in housing. This sector has consolidated itself over the years and built up its own institutions. It manages to supply land, with immediate possession, to the poor of Karachi at a price that they can afford. It arranges for the supply of water to the townships it develops, and lobbies successfully with government agencies for acquiring electricity and transport. In addition the building component yards in these areas provide materials on credit to the poor and give technical advice on house building. All this is done in defiance of government policies.

The informal sector has often been persecuted by the government and has had to deal increasingly with a clientele that is conscious of its needs. As a result, it has had to constantly adjust the manner of its operation to meet the challenges thrown at it by both the people and the state. Thus three types of informal sector developments have emerged in Karachi, each as a response to the politics of the age in which they developed. These 3 systems of development are squatting by unorganised invasion, by illegal subdivision and by organized invasion. In the following sections the three systems are discussed.

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