1st Edition

Urban Architecture and Local Spaces in Pakistan

By Suneela Ahmed Copyright 2023
    186 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is set in Karachi, Pakistan and investigates the possibility of achieving localness through identifying urban process and their impact on built form, addressing how locals associate with the urban spaces and how they value it. Thus, the investigation, using the local terminology maqamiat, goes beyond the physicality of space and develops a framework that helps to understand the social, ethnic, economic, ecological and other the non-physical aspects of space, which are of value to the locals. The aim is to investigate the possibility of achieving localness through identifying urban design elements that can be incorporated into the process of designing new built forms that acknowledges what is valued by the locals instead of superimposing imported designs, negating the contextual realties, both physical and social. For this purpose, the book includes three case studies from Karachi. The book questions the aspiration of many cities in the South Asian context to imitate the built forms of Western cities (increasingly, Singapore and Shanghai) which are viewed as modern and represents future. The book will make a theoretical contribution to the existing literature on postcolonial urbanism and explore space from a local vantage point for understanding how to look inwards for aspiration.

    List of figures

    List of tables

    1. Background and introduction

    2. The complexity of western and regional design theories of place and maqamiat

    3. Karachi, an introduction: analysing maqamiat of built form

    4. Kharadar and Meethadar within Old Town

    5. Kehkashan Clifton

    6. Pakistan Employees Co-operative Housing Society (PECHS)

    7. Importance of the notion of maqamiat for Karachi



    Suneela Ahmed is an architect, urbanist and an academic. She earned her PhD in 2016 from Oxford Brookes University, UK. This book is an outcome of her PhD research and interest in developing an understanding on local processes, everyday adaptations of urban spaces at the grass root level by locals of the global south. Her interest lies in documenting and analyzing the mitigation processes through the challenges of globalization, localization and informalization which gives shape to everyday spaces within an urban setting. She has written various research papers, book chapters, newspaper articles and presented in conferences around these issues/ themes/ ideas. This is her first solo authorship and a tribute to the city that has always inspired and aspired her, her hometown- the city of Karachi.