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Understanding Locality of Built Form at the Urban Scale: Case of Karachi, Pakistan/licenses/by/4.0/) Peer-review under responsibility of ESSD's International Scientific Committee of Reviewers

Many cities in the developing world aspire to imitate cities of the West in their built form, since for them this represents 'modernism' and the future. Pakistan is a young country and the contribution of a new generation of architects and
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    http://www.ierek.com/press ISSN (Print: 2357-0849, online: 2357-0857) International Journal on: Environmental Science and Sustainable Development The International Conference : Cities’ Identity Through Architecture and Arts (CITAA) DOI: 10.21625/essd.v1i2.87 Understanding Localness of Built Form at the Urban Scale: Case of Karachi, Pakistan Suneela Ahmed 1 1  Department of Architecture and Planning, NED Univeristy of Engineering and Technology,  Karachi   Abstract Many cities in the developing world aspire to imitate cities of the West in their built form, since for them this represents ‘modernism’ and the future. Pakistan is a young country and the contribution of a new generation of architects and planners has been inspired by the West, in the post-modern traditions, and not informed by the local cultural, social and physical aspects of the society. Karachi, within Pakistan, has recently seen the construction of a number of buildings and urban design projects that conform to the international concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation, and are a response to the desire of politicians to create a global image for the city. Using the Urdu word maqamiat   in relation to the built form, this research assesses what it means for a city to be local in the context of Karachi, being specific, having particular variables impacting the built form, but dealing with similar issues of identity crises as other formally colonized nations.   A combination of deductive and inductive research approach that arches over mixed methods is used, in order to reveal the nature and value of maqamiat   of  built form. Semi structured interviews, focus groups, urban morphological documentation, archive review and  personal observation methods have been used for data collecting. Content, narrative and focus group analyses are used to interpret data. This research is part of a PhD that was undertaken at Oxford Brookes University from 2012-2016. The research postulates lessons from its study of local processes of built form production, the value given to local  places by indigenous communities and the impact of global forces through imageability, aesthetics and style. © 2017 The Authors. Published by IEREK press. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Peer-review under responsibility of ESSD's International Scientific Committee of Reviewers.  Keywords Global, Indigenous, Local, Urban Morphologies, Karachi 1.   Introduction Karachi has recently seen the construction of a number of architecturally distinctive buildings that conform to the international concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation and are a response to a global image (Mumtaz, 1999). Karachi, a mega city of 15 million residents and the main seaport of Pakistan, has a rich collection of buildings and structures of varied architectural styles ranging from 20 th  century architecture, to neo-classical buildings and classical British architecture. There is also the presence of Indo-Gothic buildings, Neo-Renaissance and Hindu Architecture (Ahmed, 2010). A new generation of architects and planners, mostly trained in the Western institutions of planning and design, has been engaged with the recent building activity in the city. Their contribution in the cityscape has been the introduction of some form of ornamentation and cladding on the building facades and designing of urban spaces in the post-modern traditions (Mumtaz, 1999). These built forms do not use the  Suneela Ahmed/ The Academic Research Community Publication architectural and urban design elements existing previously in the city, and are not the best climatic or responsive solutions. Furthermore, professionals do not understand the way communities associate with local spaces and thus these spaces are not considered important enough to be included in the design of newer housing. These urban spaces, which have certain meaning associated with them, and certain words, are used to describe them, and cannot be translated into other languages without losing their meaning, are documented and analyzed in this paper. The paper is divided into four sections with the first section providing a synthesis of the literature reviewed and explains the meaning of maqamiat  , the second section documents and analyzes the case study area of Clifton in terms of urban morphological evolution, the third section analyzes the case study area in terms of local tangible and intangible aspects of the built form and the meaning people associate with the built form, and the fourth section presents a conclusion to the research findings and analysis. 2. Literature Review Recent literature (Davoudi and Madanipour, 2015; Hirt, 2012; Peterson, 2010; Sheppard and McMaster, 2003; Marston et al., 2005; Low and Lawrence, 2003) addresses the role of designers and architects in design and development of newer localities within cities of the developing world. This literature focuses on the debate about how can cities modernize and develop and yet retain their identities and localness as the indigenous spaces of the cities and the meaning people attach to them are not always valued in the newer developments because of which they are being lost. Thus, the question, about the role of understanding the indigenous places and communities and the requirement of feeding the lessons learnt therein, into new developments within a city arises. The literature review of works of urban anthropologist (Low, 2009; Marston et.al, 2005; Holtzman, 2004; Sheppard and McMaster, 2003; Low and Lawrence, 2003) details the requirement to analyse places at diverse global and local scales, and to understand that the global models get incorporated in the local contexts, but, these spatial models are contextual rather than universal. The importance given to indigenous language does not always have to be in a physical form (street names written in indigenous language); it can take ideological roles too (Baloy, 2011; Low, 2009; Oliver 1997). The acknowledgement of a certain local word used to describe an urban space and the inability to translate it into any other language (e.g. English, which is the defacto official language of planners and architects) is a recognition of certain types of urban places in a context, which are lost in newer developments. Thus, local urban spaces and  practices, which cannot be linguistically translated into English, represent spaces, which are not always valued by  professionals, designing newer areas in a city. These professionals are mostly trained in western planning and design schools and have little analysis of the local urban spaces and the value communities give to them. Professionals use different terminologies, which represents modern spaces, which are the result of the globalization  phenomena. Steger and McNevin (2010: 321) point out the many new metaphors and similes used to define the changing urban space as a result of globalization: ‘networks’, ‘nodes’, ‘cells’. Metaphors are not only meant to capture in ‘words and sentiments what already exists in space’ (Steger and McNevin, 2010: 324), but also drive the development of cities in a particular direction. For instance, in the case of Karachi, politicians talk about ‘making it like Dubai’, which results in the design and development of tall buildings clad in glass and steel responding to a certain aesthetics preferences of politicians. Thus, the study of figure of speech, within the language used in  planning and policy documents to describe the vision for the city might lead to an explanation of the type of built form being produced in the city as ‘language transforms space just as space transforms language’ (Steger and McNevin, 2010: 325). 3. Urban Morphological Evolution of Kehkashan, Clifton   Part of Kehkashan Clifton in Karachi (called Clifton in short) was developed by the British. This area still exists with a few landmark buildings, and retains its urban morphology, although the land use of the majority of the  buildings has changed from residential to commercial. The British had developed, what is known today as Old Clifton, to house their top ranking government officials in bungalows, as they believed the sea had healing powers and provided a pleasant environmental conditions away from the congested parts of the city (Figure 1). Thus the inception of this case study area was in its elitist background, and it still continues to be a locality within the city housing the elite. Although there are many pockets of informal settlements, which have sprung up over the years to house the domestic worker serving the elite, but the dominant face of Clifton remains elitist.  Suneela Ahmed/ The Academic Research Community Publication  Figure 1: 18 th  century map of Karachi drawn by the British showing Clifton and its connection to Cantonment and Old Town Source: base map accessed via www.google.com accessed 5-12-14 The locality houses the Mausoleum of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, a saint who is venerated throughout the sub-continent, and attracts thousands of visitors daily (Figure 2). This Shrine dates from 9 th  century, and has acquired a landmark status over the years. There is also a temple next to the Mausoleum, named Maha Dev Temple, which is equally venerated by Hindus and is believed to be a hundred and fifty year old structure (Figure 3). Both the Shrine and the Temple have been a part of the indigenous settlement of Karachi, and have continued to be a major part of its history.  Figure 2: The new face of the Mausoleum of Figure 3: Mahadev Temple in Clifton  Abdullah Shah Ghazi There is also a beach in Clifton, which attracts visitors from all of Pakistan, because of its easy access and supporting facilities. The presence of the Clifton beach has always given importance to the development of the locality. As mentioned previously, the roots for the development of its urban morphology were laid during Colonial times and some important landmark recreational buildings came into existence in the early 19 th  century, like the Band Stand and the Lady Lloyd Pier which was srcinally a pier, but with the receding sea today it has become a walkway (Figures 4 and 5). Figure 4: The Band Stand as seen in 19 th  century Figure 5: The Band Stand as seen today Source: www.google.com accessed 5-12-14 Kehkashan Clifton covers an area of 1,950 acres and was sanctioned by the Government of Pakistan in October 1964. This scheme was meant as a recreational-cum-high income residential scheme for bungalows and multi-storied flats, on plots varying from 600 to 4,500 square yards. This scheme was meant to extend the city right up to the sea, eliminating marshes and sandy wastes, providing space for a population of 150,000 (KDA, 1969) (Figure 6). It had to grapple with many technical issues, the most important being land consolidation and reclamation. A well-established network of main streets, service lanes, pedestrian paths and connector roads were inherent characteristic of the scheme.  Suneela Ahmed/ The Academic Research Community Publication Figure 6: Layout Plan of Kehkashan Clifton Karachi The idea behind the launch of Clifton Kehkashan was to develop residential zones along the beach, and provide multi-storied high-density housing on the pattern of similar beaches in other parts of the world. It was also meant to  provide accommodation for various foreign diplomatic missions in Karachi. The boating basin was to develop as a recreational zone within Clifton, catering to the locality and to the rest of the city as well. Kehkashan Clifton was thinly populated until the 1970s, but with the ethnic violence erupting in the city in the 1980s and with migrant Pathans settling in the northern and central parts of the city (which was the location of the ethnic clashes), the wealthy and elite started shifting to the southern parts of the city, including Clifton. As Clifton had initially developed as a locality catering to the elite, it suited the requirements of these people moving from the north of the city with big plot sizes, the presence of many parks and recreational areas. The beach also acted as a leisure point. The physical distance of Clifton from the rest of the city has also led to social and cultural distances, as residents of Clifton only interact with people of common backgrounds and interests, and the poorer sections of the city and the elite never come in contact with each other, except as domestic workers in the houses of the rich. The elite enjoy going to hotels, clubs, parks, malls, cinemas and expensive restaurants dotting Kehkashan Clifton, and adjoining the elite locality of Defense Housing Society, whilst the poorer sections of society visit the beach, Play Land, Fun Land and some parks for recreation. The majority of the private schools and colleges are also located within the elitist neighbourhood. Recently the city has also been experiencing the shifting of offices from the Central Business District (CBD) to Clifton. This change in the land use with the relocation of head offices of a number of banks and financial institutions to Clifton has resulted in an increase in the real estate value of the locality, and it is envisaged by the city  planners that with efficient transport connections, housing mixed land use, with residences for the elite and  proximity to the harbour, Clifton has the potential of developing into a CBD for the city. The downside of this consolidation of land use in Clifton is the decline of the building stock in adjoining areas of Saddar and II Chundrigarh, where property owners are finding it difficult to find a tenant for their properties, as the locality of Clifton is preferred. The Clifton commercial area has, over the years, emerged as a sub-metropolitan centre. Besides retail activities, it also has a large percentage of offices and institutional uses. Being amongst the early schemes planned and developed by KDA, Clifton has served as a reference scheme for other similar development initiatives within the city. Clifton has over the past ten years experienced a rapid change in its land use with the change in the Floor Area Ratios (FAR) for the main arteries and the land use regulations for the locality. The single storey houses and residential complexes facing the primary roads have been replaced by high-rise real estate, mixed use development, incorporating offices, schools, shopping malls, apartments and other non-residential uses. The trend in the change of the land use continues in the secondary lanes where schools or offices, causing traffic chaos, have replaced the residences. Recently Clifton has seen the construction of a number of shopping malls, parks and educational institution facilities and projects by private developers. The area to date has retained its elite and high profile ambience.  Suneela Ahmed/ The Academic Research Community Publication The extroverted Colonial bungalow has been an intrinsic part of the urban morphology of Clifton. Until today, the  bungalow style development dominates the urban morphology of the locality, although the sub division of plots has reduced the sizes of these bungalows, and many of the Colonial bungalows have seen a change in land use from residential to commercial. The bungalow, which was part of the initial development of the Clifton Cantonment by the British, is a hybrid built form that was introduced as a foreign element, but was adopted by locals and eventually became part of the indigenous landscape. In studying the evolution of this typology, lessons can be drawn with respect to urban morphology, sense of aesthetics, climatic response, use of technology, respect for traditionalism versus modernism and response to global imagery. 4. Local Tangibles The case study area comprises of a gridded urban street pattern with low density and mixed land use. According to the interviews conducted in the case study area, the residents of the low income area within Clifton perceive the  boundaries of their neighbourhood according to the bus stops in the vicinity, although the locality has street numbers and road names, these are secondary in their association about the boundaries of the neighbourhood. The residents of high-income areas within Clifton related to the boundaries of the neighbourhood via the landmarks in the area, these landmarks could be a school, a restaurant or a historical recreational building. Very few respondents (two out of fifteen) identified the limits of the neighbourhood with the current governance structure. Generalabad colony, within Clifton, is a low income housing settlement, with residential land use dominating the locality. It has a gridded urban street layout, with all streets leading to the railway tracks at the rear. The streets are narrow with no vehicular access. The street is an extension of the house, and is utilized for socializing by men and  by children playing. The locality is a Pathan dominant area, thus women socializing on the streets is not seen. Women stay indoors and are rarely seen outside their homes, as this is a requirement of the cultural norms of the community. Figures 7: The ground plus one residential development in Generalabad The majority of the residential buildings are ground plus one (Figure 7). A trend is however seen of going higher (up to ground plus five) with the new structures coming up on the primary roads of the locality. The residential typology of apartments is also being introduced, along with a new language for the facades, which are being clad in materials like tiles and make use of pre-fabricated screens (Figure 8). Figure 8: Newer building in the locality of Generalabad The area around the railway lines serves as the open space for the locality and many men can often been seen socializing there. The railway tracks are only used twice a day by local trains thus, during the rest of the day the area is safe for the children to play around (Figure 9).
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