Four Principles of Urban Planning
Urban Development (such as Sugarland City) has to be based on some principles of sustainability (which also includes equity and justice). Four basic principles are given below.
- Planning should respect the ecology of the areas in which the urban centres are located.
- Landuse should be determined on the basis of social and environmental considerations and not on the basis of land value or potential land value alone.
- Planning should give priority to the needs of the majority population which in the case of Asia are low and lower-middle income communities, hawkers, informal businesses, pedestrians and commuters.
- Planning must respect and promote the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the communities that live in the city.
If these four principles are not followed the city will not be able to withstand natural disasters; it will lose its natural assets; it will be divided into rich and poor ghettos which will be in conflict with each other; its landuse will be irrational and hence its transport systems will be inappropriate; and it will be socially fragmented and politically unstable.
In the coastal areas in question the requirements of four different stakeholders have to be reconciled with each other, on the basis of social and environmental considerations, with profit seeking international capital. These stakeholders are;
- The flora and fauna of the area. This consists of migratory birds, fish life and its nurseries, turtles, mangrove marshes (which are the outfalls of drainage channels) and mud flats that sustain fauna and flora. It also includes the potential of preserving some extraordinary scenic areas such as the region of the Hub Delta and the islands beyond it.
- Fishing communities that have lived here for centuries and whose folklore and festivals are recorded in texts as old as the 11th century and in Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s Sur Ghato.
- The lower and lower middle income Karachiites who flock to these beaches in search of recreation and entertainment and the services sector (camel men, snack charmers, hawkers, jugglers, etc) that caters to their needs.
- Land owning agencies and people.
To reconcile these interests, from the planning point of view, the following is required.
- No reclamation from the sea or of mangrove marshes, mud flats or fish and turtle nurseries and the land that they require for survival should be permitted. Such reclamation will destroy the flora and fauna of the area. One of the major reasons of Karachi’s flooding during the rains is the encroachment on the mangroves of the China Creek backwaters by the KPT Colony.
- The fishing communities should have access to the sea for fishing purposes and their traditional villages and land should be protected/preserved. Also, lower and lower middle income groups and their services sector should have access to the beach. This can be done by following well-established beach development byelaws that are operative in our neighbouring countries. These byelaws will guarantee that no development will take place between the high water mark and 150 metres beyond it and that this area will be accessible to everyone (in the case of Maharashtra, this distance is 500 metres). Where a road exists along the coast, no development will take place between the road and the high water mark on the seaward side.
- No sewage, treated or untreated, will be discharged into the sea.
- The planning of the coastal area will be done on the basis of an urban design exercise keeping in view the four basic principles of planning and the considerations mentioned above. This urban planning exercise can only take place after the project has become an integral part of the Karachi Master Plan and adjustments in the plans related to the landuse, transportation, solid waste management, water, sewage and related issues are carried out.