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Islamabad: C.A.Doxiadis Master Plan Concept, Articles, Data & Critics

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#1
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This thread will host all relevant articles related to 'Islamabad' and 'the works of Doxiadis' regarding the master planning of the Capital. It will also have research work, critics and other data relevant to the above topic.

This thread will also have article on various urban planning issues.


Share with us any data you go through so it can be used by everyone both for research purpose and as general information.

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#2
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From the website of Doxiadis

Constantinos Doxiadis - Islamabad - The Capital of Pakistan.pdf

Constantinos Doxiadis - Islamabad - The Creation of a New Capital.pdf

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#3
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Revision of Islamabad’s ‘Master Plan’: CDA planning to hire Greek firm

Submitted by Overseas on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 14:52
By Fazal Sher

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is planning to hire services of Doxiadis Associates for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan, an official told Daily Times on Thursday.

This Greek firm had prepared the original plan of the metropolis in 1960. According to the official, the CDA three years ago had hired Mott McDonald Pakistan (MMP) for revision of the master plan. The firm revised the original master plan but failed to properly fulfil the future needs of the city. Now the CDA has decided to hire services of Doxiadis Associates for the project, he said.

He said that the CDA had to present the revised mater plan to the new government but the changes in the plan proposed by MMP were not up to the mark and might have created problems for the authority. “Therefore, the CDA is planning to hire Doxiadis Associates to revise thoroughly the original master plan and give a detailed presentation to the cabinet,” he said.

“If the CDA succeeded to hire the Greek firm, they would specially revise the plan of Zone-IV and would conduct a detailed review of the whole plan,” he said.

He said that the CDA had reviewed its original master plan in the mid-1980s. At that time two major changes, including new model towns in the rural area of Islamabad, were made to the original plan. Eight such model villages including Rawal Town, Humak, Chak Shahzad, Margalla Town, Tarlai Kalan, Alipur Farash, Kuri and Nurpur Shahan have been established as result of these changes, he said. He said that objective of the model villages project was to resettle the people whose land had been acquired by the CDA.

The second major change was the redesigning of the Blue Area, the central business and commercial zone of the capital. The original design of Blue Area in the master plan had envisaged high-rise buildings on both sides of Jinnah Avenue. The plan was reviewed in the mid 1980s and redesigned by two French architects to evolve a more practical and aesthetically suitable design. The revised plan allowed for only six-storey buildings on the southern side of Jinnah Avenue, where now the commercial plazas are located. On the northern side, high-rise buildings up to 15 and 19 stories were allowed where now Saudi-Pak Towers and other building exist, he said.

He said that under the original master plan, Islamabad was divided into four parts including Rawalpindi (259 square kilometres), Islamabad Proper, inclusive of institutional and industrial areas (220.15 square kilometres), Islamabad Parks (220.15 square kilometres) and Islamabad Rural Areas (466.20 square kilometres).

He said in 1981, two of these four zones, Islamabad Proper and Islamabad Parks, were named as the Islamabad Capital Territory while Islamabad Rural Area also became a part of the ICT.

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#4
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Why Doxiadis Cries for Islamabad
Q Isa Daudpota

The restless ghost of Constantinos Apostolos Doxiadis looks down on Islamabad every night and sheds a tear. He and his company planned this city in early 1960s. Several old bureaucrats who live in the city must know the reason for choosing him – he was called in as an advisor in Feb 1959 and by the year's end was asked to be the designer. Doxiadis a radical had had a remarkable career in his home country. It would have been interesting to know his feeling working with the head of the Commission for building the capital, Maj Gen Yahya Khan, the man who later failed to respect the democratic sentiment ofPakistan Eastern wing, leading to the country's fissure.

Doxiadis, obtained his doctorate at Berlin in 1936. In 1937 he was appointed Chief Town Planning Officer for Athens and during the war years was Head of Regional and Town Planning in the Ministry of Public Works while also serving as a corporal in the Greek Army. During the Occupation he was Chief of the National Resistance Group, Hephaestus, and published a magazine called "Regional Planning, Town Planning and Ekistics," the only underground technical publication anywhere in occupied territories. For the next six years he held important national and international assignments in connection with the rehabilitation of post-war Greece.

In 1951 he founded Doxiadis Associates, a private firm of consulting engineers, with a small group of architects and planners, many of whom had worked with him on the Greek Recovery Program. The company grew rapidly until it had offices on five continents and projects in 40 countries. He was honored for his national and international services.

This extended information shows that an exceptional man with great experience, knowledge and wisdom formulated the plans for Islamabad. The original Master Plan of Islamabad, covering the urban area of Rawalpindi was unfortunately never put into practice. According to a 2006 paper by Sajida Maria and M. Imran, "Planning of Islamabad and Rawalpindi: what went wrong" (available on the net) the plan was abandoned officially in the 1970s. Two further revision with the help of UN agency experts appeared in 1978 and in 1992. In June this year the CDA put on hold a further revision which "cover[s] all aspects, including new housing sectors, extension in municipal limits, industrial activities, environmental protection, road repairs, new parks and recreational areas and the safety of existing water reservoirs." Most of these involve real estate and construction work, which in turn provide revenue and consequent major leakage of funds in the system, with the approvers of such projects largely benefiting from this. Maria and Imran rightly point out that the failure of the original master plan can be pinned on lack of institutional development to implement the plan. Instead, CDA focused on building physical infrastructure, with the resulting heavy leakage of funds and substandard work.

The sins of the past have multiplied since CDA is flushed with money from sale of plot in newly opened sectors. This has encouraged it to approve many lavish project, e.g. the Centaurus (about which I have written earlier), with little consideration for their impact on the character of the city, or on its existing systems. Holism remains absent their planning. Among the most blatant errors is the continued expansion of the roads to accommodate car traffic with no public transporting place, which itself would remove need for expansion. The insecure water supply has been highlighted in my recent articles. In this article the failure of the city's sewerage system will be described – yet another vital system that shows the effect of corruption, lack of proper planning and monitoring, and incompetence.

Despite criticism from the outset, the CDA opted for the hugely over-priced French sewerage system for Islambad. The top-up on the fair market price has been siphoned off by the local agent of the French (the indenter, earlier the steno of the Director of Procurement in CDA) and other powerful decision-makers in Pakistan according to reliable insiders. Only an independent assessment can clear the doubt that lingers in the corridors of the CDA and outside. However, it is widely known that the CDA chairman and senior officials, including Members of Finance and Engineering, and their families and close relatives had an expense-paid visit to Paris costing several million rupees, prior to signing of the contract! This sum is, however, paltry compared with the Rs2.7B price-tag of which the French arranged a sweetener loan of Rs1.6B, the remainder coughed up by the taxpayer.

Even if the new sewerage plant came with no kickbacks, it was poorly timed. Preliminary work needed for its effective use has yet to begin! To understand this sad saga, a brief background of the sewerage system follows..

In the mid-1960s, phases 1 and 2 of the capital's sewage system started operating. Lack of maintenance and poorly trained manpower led to both phases dying in early 1980s. By this time the upstream sewage was already getting choked in the pipes and not getting to the treatment plant, but no attention was paid to correct that. The choke points were largely cleared by breaking the pipes and releasing the sewerage into the rainwater drains thereby polluting a valuable resource. Meanwhile, another plant, phase 3 of the system, was ready in 1980. This failed to operate due to a dispute with the contractor who had built it, and has remained inoperative all these years! There has been no public accounting for these failures.

The French deal, called phase 4, entails the rehabilitation of phases 1, 2 and 3 as well as the construction of a large fourth plant which is to handle 10 M gallons of sewerage daily. The earlier three phases are capable of handling 7 M gallons. Phases 1&2, operational once again, are designed to handle 4 M gallons. Phases 3 and 4 are to come online in a few months. You would think that once more at least one city in Pakistan would have a fully operational sewerage system. No! It won't, and its problem will continue for a long time to come as these relate to the whole network of pipes that carry the effluent to the sewerage treatment plants.

Most of the sewerage lines, the large truck-lines and the tributaries, are almost as old as Islamabad itself – 45 years. Had the pipes been properly maintained and enlarged to handle the increased load due to the high population growth, the newly commissioned plants would have been justified.

Today, only 1.5 M gallons of sewerage arrives at the two operational plants with a capacity for 4 M gallons. The sewerage that does get through is highly diluted, suggesting mixing with fresh water from leaking pipes or general percolation – an indication of another problem. The leaking water pipes have losses of almost 60% as indicated in a Japan Bank of Intl Cooperation report of 2000. This gives Islamabad the dubious distinction of being perhaps the most wasteful of capital cities in terms of water supply.

The chairmanship of the CDA has been regarded by ambitious civil servants as a stepping stone towards become a federal secretary. With so many senior federal bureaucrats and leaders watching what the chairman does, brownie points are awarded on visible projects such as decoration and widening of roads, setting up leisure spots, building monuments and sanctioning large projects with little regard for environmental sustainability. The existing system of rewards does not give credit for instituting solid infrastructure maintenance and development – flashiness is the only thing that counts. Institutional reform within the CDA is also neglected for the same reason. Large contracts are preferred for another reason too: they rake in the money for those who sanction them.

Today, a man as enlightened as Doxiadis wouldn't last very long in the CDA.

The rush for fame and glory through any means has become the norm. One hopes that with the emboldened judiciary and its increased activism one may get it to clean up the mess that its members see daily in the capital, or could if they scratch the surface. An institutional reform in the CDA could become a model for other municipalities. And it would make the ghost of the Greek architect look happily at his old creation.

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#5
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Architect Ahmed Zaib Khan Mehsud graduated in 1994 as an architect from National College of Arts Lahore. After practicing 5 years in private sector firms in Islamabad, he joined P.W.D. in 1999 for the projects of the Federal Government. After an intense period of work in practicem with several projects completed to his credits and some ongoing in Islamabad also in other parts of the country, Mr. Ahmed Zaib returned to the academia for furhtering his knowledge and experience about architecture. He completed his 'Master in Architecture in Human Settlement' from K.U.Leuven, Belgium in 2000-01 and earned a PhD on 'Critical relationship between theory and practice' at the same university in April 2008. Mr. Ahmed Zaib has been award the postdoc fellowship of 'Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (2008-09) at MIT(Cambridge, USA) where he intends to work on his upcoming book on Islamabad.

Phd. Title: Constantinos A. Doxiadis Plan for Islamabad: The making of a 'City of the future' 1959-1963

Contact: AhmedZaibKM@gmail.com


Islamabad - Abstract International New Town by Ahmed Zaib KM .pdf

Islamabad - Doxiadis Use of Urban Design Vocabulary by Ahmed Zaib KM.pdf

Islamabad - Islamabad in Politics of making 2007 by Ahmed Zaib KM.pdf

Islamabad - Nature & City - The Legacy Of Doxiadis's Plan for Islamabad.pdf

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#6
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Islamabad - A Town Planning Example for a Sustainable City.pdf

Islamabad - Post Colonial Capital of South Asia - A Critical Analysis.pdf

Islamabad - The Green City Program Proposal.pdf

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#7
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Islamabad - CDA's New Master Plan 2008 with latest Addition in the Existing Master Plan

This is still in the planning and not implemented!


Diplomatic Enclave Extension
Margallah Bypass Road
Cine City
Farms
Tourist Attraction Area
Additional Insitutional Area
Busniess District
Extension Area
Education City
Bus, Truck & Rail Terminal

http://www.urbanpk.com/upkgallery/citypictures/Islamabad/Master%20Plan%20&%20Documentation/Islamabad%20-%20CDA's%20New%20Master%20Plan%20-%2001.jpg

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#8
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Planning of Islamabad & Rawalpindi - What Went Wrong?

Papers Submitted at "42nd ISoCaRP Congress 2006, Istanbul, Turkey" by:

Sajida Iqbal Maria - Department of Anthropology, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad Pakistan
Muhammed Imran - Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Austrailia

Planning of Islamabad & Rawalpindi - What Went Wrong.pdf

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#9
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Islamabad ditches its twin sister — Rawalpindi



Saturday, June 07, 2008
Noor Aftab

Islamabad

The revised master plan of Islamabad being prepared by concerned authorities would not provide anything constructive to Rawalpindi in terms of urban development despite the fact that both cities were designated as ‘twins’ in the original master plan of 1960, well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Friday.

A UK-based firm — Mott McDonald Pakistan (MMP) — was assigned the task to revise the original master plan of Islamabad, covering current and future development needs of the city and various other aspects, including new housing sectors, extension in municipal limits, industrial activities, environmental protection, road repair, new parks and recreational areas and safety of existing water reservoirs. But the firm was not asked to prepare proposals to streamline urban development in Rawalpindi that was very much part of the original master plan.

“Relevant authorities are not interested in incorporating Rawalpindi in the revised master plan despite the fact that both cities were designated as ‘twin cities’ in the original master plan,” sources said.

Sources said that the master plan of Islamabad is being revised after a gap of 48 years. Its next revision is expected to take place after twenty to thirty years. So if now no proposals are prepared for urban uplift of Rawalpindi, then this issue would not be taken up in the next few decades. A review of the master plan in 1987 confirmed the impression that Rawalpindi was decided to be included in the ICT after shifting of the General Headquarters from Rawalpindi to Islamabad.

When contacted, former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, who was a member of the four-member ministerial committee constituted by the prime minister to review proposals in the revised master plan of Islamabad, demanded the merger of Rawalpindi with Islamabad, arguing that it would help it to grow fast at par with posh sectors of the capital.

The former minister was of the view that Islamabad, planned as triangular in shape based on a grid system with its apex towards Margalla Hills, has encircled the city of Rawalpindi from both sides, so it was quite logical to include it in the vicinity of the federal capital.

“At one stage, President Pervez Musharraf was fully prepared to promulgate an ordinance regarding merger of ‘twin cities’ but later it could not be done due to unknown reasons. There would be no problem in including Rawalpindi in the Islamabad Capital Territory and it could be done through proper legislation,” he said.

“Rawalpindi has to bear the demand of lower income groups working in Islamabad that puts a lot of pressure on its urban area. If Rawalpindi is not included in the federal capital then it would have negative impacts on both cities.”

Sources in the CDA said that as per official agreement, consultants have also been assigned extensive study of matters relating to land acquisition, water shortage and its supply from Indus or Jhelum river, Zone IV, transportation, mega development schemes, unauthorised construction and other civic problems expected in the near future in Islamabad. But there is no mention of Rawalpindi in the whole scheme of proposals being considered by competent authorities.

Despite repeated attempts by this correspondent, CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari was not available for comments.

Rawal Town Nazim Sheikh Rashid Shafique said that Rawalpindi needed adequate financial resources and professional staff as provided to Islamabad.

http://www.thenews.c...l.asp?id=117221

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#10
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Islamabad: CDA asks consultant to suggest means of Zone-IV
November 15th, 2008 admin Posted in Pakistan Real Estate News |

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has directed the consultant firm hired for Islamabad master plan’s revision to suggest ways and means for regularisation of unplanned construction in Zone- IV, a senior official told Daily Times on Sunday.

The CDA board issued these directives to consultant Mott McDonaled Pakistan (MMP) during a presentation on master plan revision this week, said the official.

He said Zone-IV comprised 70,000 acres of land including Bhara Kahu, Malpur, Simly Road and Bani Gala areas. He said constructions in these areas were in violation of zoning regulation. Of 70,000 acres the CDA has only 12,000 acres of land, he added.

The board has also directed the consultant to explain the factors leading to violation of original master plan, he said. The official said the consultant had been asked to give a presentation to the board about the development trends in the city and the factors that led to unplanned construction in entire Islamabad and Zone-IV.

He said master plans of all the big cities of the world were reviewed after every 25 years. “If we apply this rule to Islamabad then its master plan should have been reviewed twice by now, he added.

Talking about the revised plan, the official said the new plan focused on current and future development needs of the city. It covers new housing sectors, extension in municipal limits, industrial activities, environmental protection, road repairs, new parks and recreational areas and the safety of existing water reservoirs, he said.

He said in the new plan the authority had proposed extension in the limits of Islamabad to the areas adjacent to motorway for increasing the number of series of sectors from 16 to 18. Under the revised plan, 12 new residential sectors will be developed while the previous plan envisaged 56 sectors, he added.

The official said the CDA had reviewed its original master plan in the mid-1980s. At that time two major changes were made to the original plan including new model towns in rural area around Islamabad and redesigning of the central business and commercial district, Blue Area.

He said under the under the original master plan, Islamabad was divided into four parts including Rawalpindi (259 square kilometers), Islamabad Proper inclusive of institutional and industrial areas (220.15 square kilometers), Islamabad Park (220.15 square kilometers) and Islamabad Rural Areas (466.20 square kilometers).

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#11
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Islamabad master plan as inconsistent as basic law

Submitted by Overseas on Sun, 08/17/2008 - 16:14

By Sher Baz Khan

ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: Like its Constitution, the national capital of Pakistan today is not what it was visualised and planned to be.

It appeared a strange coincidence when the National Assembly was informed on Friday that 17 major changes have been made in the Master Plan of Islamabad since the Greek architects Doxiadis Associates prepared it in 1960 - the same number of times that the 1973 Constitution has been amended.

Change is a constant in life, but one wishes that the civil and military rulers who made the changes had done so to benefit the masses not themselves and their classes.

The first change in the Master Plan was decreed in 1964 when the location of Islamabad University -- later renamed as Quaid-i-Azam University -- was shifted from the National Park Area southeast of Rawal Lake to northeast of Diplomatic Enclave.

In 1988, the university's original site was allocated to Zoo -- cum-Botanical Garden that was originally sited southwest of Rawal Lake. Land where the Convention Centre and Serena Hotel stand today was designated in the Master Plan as green area and right of way of the Kashmir Highway. The changes were made in 1995.

While citizens may wonder why the original map of their young capital needed continuous scissor work, environmentalists would be shocked that the city managers' ideas of development swallowed many green zones.
They allowed polluting industries to sprout in areas on the periphery meant for trees and bushes.

In fact, the Cabinet Division, which furnished the information to the National Assembly, provided by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), did not mention at all the relocation of the army's General Headquarters (GHQ) in Sector E-10.

Half of that sector had to be preserved as green area under the Master Plan but in 1972, the federal government converted the whole sector into a residential area. At that time, no one knew who would ultimately reside there.
Sectors E-8, E-9 and E-10 were originally meant for public and government residential facilities. But, in 1973, the three sectors were designated for the Armed Forces residential-cum official facilities.

In 1985, President Gen Ziaul Haq approved the setting up of the Fecto cement plant in the Margalla Hills National Park area in violation of the master plan. The factory badly degraded the environment and the park area.
After eating away the limestone mountains, the factory is now said to have started digging underground.

Commercialisation of the city space is also evident from the extension of the alignment of its Central Business District along Jinnah Avenue, known as Blue Area, up to F-10 in 1969. The Master Plan had suggested varying depth and alignment of this business area.

About the same time, Sector F-9, which was originally designated as residential area, was converted into a park - the Fatima Jinnah Park.

Conversely, Sector I-8, designated as Transportation Centre, was converted into a residential sector in 1988.
Even the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) does not stand where it was meant to. Its original location was close to the National Institute of Health (NIH) near Chak Shahzad. But, the hospital was shifted to its present location in Sector G-8/3 in 1974.

According to the original plan, Sector E-11 was to be acquired and developed for low-income private and government housing. But in 1964, CDA was stopped from acquiring the area in consideration of the location of Golra shrine there. Now seven private housing developers are doing what the CDA was supposed to do.

Originally, half the H-Series was designated as green buffer and the other half for special institutions. But, in 1974, upper half of H-8 was given to buildings for different institutions and H-9 was converted into orchard, and H-10 and H-12 were turned to private educational institutes.

Half of the sectors I-14, I-15 and I-16 were planned for industrial units and the other half for housing their workers.
But the entire three sectors were converted into residential areas in 1991.

Earlier in 1969, the rural periphery of Islamabad along Kahuta Road was turned into an Industrial Triangle for medium scale industries.

Similarly, Zones-II and V were part of the Islamabad rural periphery but in 1992 were given to developing new residential, institutional and industrial series 17 was identified and housing was allowed in Zone-V.

Originally, the Exhibition Area, including the present Lok Versa, was sited in the National Park Area near village Tarlai Kalan. But in 1975, they were shifted to their present locations south of Shakarparian Park near Faizabad on Islamabad Highway.

Source: Daily Dawn, 17/8/2008

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#12
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Three firms eye biggest land deal with CDA

Submitted by Overseas on Sun, 11/30/2008 - 18:55

By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, Nov 29: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is going to hit the biggest ever land deal with three private firms under which the federal capital’s costliest land -- along the Islamabad Highway (IHW), from Faizabad to Rewat – would be sold away without competition, inside sources told Dawn on Saturday.

The sources said three firms, two of which have their private housing schemes in Zone-V of Islamabad and the other has a joint venture with a government institution, are trying to get hold of the land. The owners of the firms, who gave a presentation to the CDA bosses on Friday, claimed they would develop the land to build a project on the pattern of Dubai’s Sheikh Zaid Road.

Under the plan, 300 square feet wide and 19-kilometre long corridors of acquired land on the two sides of Islamabad Highway from Faizabad to Rewat, would be sold to the three firms who will later form a joint venture among themselves to develop the land. After development they would sell the land at their own rates for the construction of highrise buildings over there.

During the presentation the firms offered to pay a lump sum amount of Rs90 billion to the CDA. However, the actual price of the land would be in trillions once the two corridors are declared as commercial areas, the sources said.

The CDA recently auctioned its commercial plots in different areas of the city at rates ranging between Rs150,000 to Rs171,000 per square yard.

According to rough estimates the total area that the firms want to purchase at Rs90 billion, measures about 11.4 million square yards and its price can be assessed by multiplying it with the present minimum auction rate for commercial land of Rs150,000 per square yard.

The source said that if the project materializes, it would be the biggest violation of the master plan of Islamabad, which has no such provision in it. Any amendment in the master plan would require the approval of the parliament. “Although the issue was presented before the CDA board, the board is not the competent authority to approve without approval of the parliament,” the source said. The CDA has been urged to invite more firms to sell the land through open auction so that transparency could be ensured in the deal.

Source: Daily Dawn, 30/11/2008

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#13
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^^^^
This is seriously going to be the blunder of this decade! Even the development authorities in Dubai have realised that what they have done on the Sheikh Zayed Road was an insane step. We already have made a similar blunder in our exisitng master plan i.e the Blue Area. The CBD or the nucleus should be a nodal development rather being a ribbon or strip development. Because of the ribbon development, Blue Area has not been able to achieve a respectable denisty, the density getting diluted in the strip development has led to lack of a vibrant city centre in Islamabad, as a result of which the Markaz or the Class V community centre are getting the pressure of commercialization which has lead to urban erosion of neighbourhood adjacent to them.

Read here to understand the problems associated with Ribbon Development >>>Commercialisation, urban planning and the environment

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#14
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Islamabadis angered over ‘great wall’ development
By Imran Naeem Ahmad

ISLAMABAD: Plans of the authorities to secure the Red Zone by building a wall all around just may not be the right solution to a danger that will continue to lurk anyway.

The decision prompted by the September 20 terror strike on the Marriott Hotel, means that billions of rupees from government coffers are to be spent on erecting this ‘great wall’.

Officials believe it will keep all ‘sensitive’ buildings in the zone safe, among them the Aiwan-e-Sadar, Prime Minister House and his secretariat, Supreme Court and a host of other offices on Constitution Avenue.

For long, the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have found it convenient to shut down different areas and roads in the capital in the name of security. Often the people have reacted angrily to all such moves yet not much has ever been done to address their concerns.

MK Sufi, a member of the Islamabad Citizens’ Committee, believes that the public opinion should have been sought on making the wall. “I think the way the authorities are going, this town will soon become a walled city,” he said.
He suggested that the money to be spent on building the wall could rather be utilised for providing the people decent transport.

“Commuters continue to suffer but no one pays heed and here we are going ahead with a wall that makes no sense,” he said pointing out that shutting down the town was such a manner was against human rights.
Sufi thought that soon different sectors might also be fortified. But already some of them are in a state of siege, thanks to offices of many embassies, UN agencies, NGOs and other businesses operating out of private houses.
A number of streets were barricaded, especially after the attacks on an Italian restaurant and the Danish Embassy, both of which were based in residential areas. However, the monstrous attack on Marriott came as a rude wake-up call for the authorities.

Many other people have also questioned the decision of walling up the Red Zone. “First the Diplomatic Enclave was made out of bounds, then the Constitution Avenue and now we are being pushed back even further,” said Irfan Adil, an executive in a private firm.

The Constitution Avenue, running alongside the corridors of power is one of Islamabad’s showpiece roads yet for the past one year it hasn’t been the thoroughfare it used to be. It has remained barricaded since former President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule last year and not even the arrival of a democratic government has brought about any change in its status.

Residents are now left wondering that given the security situation, what would be the shape of the town where they once roamed free.

“You cannot go here, you cannot go there, I think there will come a time when we will be told to stay at home all the time,” remarked Omer Rafiq, a university student.

He stressed that building walls was not the answer to the problem. “We need to spend money on increasing the capacities of our intelligence and security agencies rather than making walls,” he said.

Marriott was a security lapse and Thursday’s attack inside the Police Lines another slip up. So what good would a wall be when the security personnel are caught napping.

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#15
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Islamabad growing ugly, commercial
By Imran Naeem Ahmad

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has its coffers overflowing with cash yet it continues to go for revenue generation from advertising thereby compromising on town’s beauty.

The roads that were once tree-lined today have scores of advertisements pasted on lampposts, the street corners too are increasingly being used for this purpose as are the bridges, rooftops of buildings and every other place that the authorities deem fit.

The Jinnah and Faisal avenues, Islamabad and Kashmir highways, 7th Avenue and Zero Point bridges are among the spots that have particularly heavy advertising that might be quite pleasing for the CDA bosses, it in fact makes the town look not only commercial but ugly all the same.

Driving through on the Jinnah Avenue is like journeying through Pakistan with string of images of the country having been put up in the middle of almost all the lampposts.

Such advertising is clearly distracting for motorists using the busy road. Interestingly, research shows that people do not respond to such messages like they do to advertisements in newspapers.

The advertisements do not fit into the landscape of the town traditionally known for its greenery. They seem more of an eyesore and do not appear to serve much purpose.

Commercialism is not confined to roads and lampposts though – cigarette companies often sponsor police kiosks and pickets, leading cell phone companies have built two of Islamabad’s floral markets. Similarly, a cell phone giant has also sponsored a craftsmen’s village close to Super Market.

Although several of the mighty billboards that were put up earlier atop buildings have been removed because of security fears, there are many that are still up, especially in Blue Area.

The billboards that look particularly ugly from behind with their huge supporting rusty metal poles and bars, first came up before the South Asian Games that Islamabad hosted in 2004. The CDA officials claim there is a complete ban on the installation of billboards since May 2005.

While increasing commercialisation is spoiling Islamabad’s looks, the cell phone towers erected on top of buildings have become another ugly feature of the town. They are not just eyesores but also pose danger to buildings on which they are mounted besides also endangering the public.

Experts are of the view that the waves from these towers were slow killers and that people living close by remained under constant threat. They believe that these antennas, some of them 80 feet long had been installed without following proper procedures.

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#16
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No parks in Islamabad? Never mind! 7th Avenue is there!
By Khalid Aziz

Residents of the G-6 and G-7 sectors are spending evenings by sitting along the 7th Avenue, as both the sectors have very limited public park or playground facilities.

The most deprived and densely-populated sectors of the federal capital were once blessed with a number of parks and playgrounds down the road running in-between them, where the youngsters used to play and aged ones came to take a lungful of fresh air out of the suffocating environment of their small congested homes.

However, the ‘luxury’ became a part of history after the construction of 7th Avenue, which devoured up the only source of refreshment and entertainment for the residents of the sectors. Now the poor residents have no other choice but to spend their evenings by sitting idle, or playing cards, in the green belts along 7th Avenue and breathe the lead-carbon mixture of air left behind the fast moving vehicles.

Residents of both the sectors repeatedly complain the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for focusing on what they called as the ‘big’ of posh sectors. One of the residents, while talking to The Nation on Sunday, said that whole of the civic body rushed towards the posh sectors in response to a single phone call while they were deprived of the very basic urban amenities.

“What is right here with these sectors”, he continued, pointing to the sectors mentioned above. “Shattered roads, burst out gutters and no park or playground”, he maintained.

It is pertinent to mention here that the print media is continuously highlighting the deprivation of small sectors; however the CDA bosses argue that the same were developed on the wrong lines at the very inception of the city. It seems that the un-addressable deprivation is written on the fate-book of the residents of these sectors.

The civic agency has created very beautiful green belts along a number of highways in the federal capital, namely 9th Avenue and Islamabad Highway etc, but no one could be seen there, as the sectors between which these roads are running are provided with the facilities. However, a great crowd of people could be witnessed on the green belts down the 7th Avenue, which is sufficient to speak volumes of the deprivation of sectors G-6 and G-7

The Nation, 28/7/2008

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#17
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Islamabad: CDA indifferent to low-scale sectors’ development

ISLAMABAD: Apparently all seems well with Islamabad – new roads and new facilities, tree-lined streets, the green and serene Margalla Hills and the peace and quiet that has been its hallmark for decades. But all is not well.

The town’s famed beauty is perhaps only skin-deep for behind its green cloak hide a bulk of problems and eyesores that expose the town’s claims of being truly modern and beautiful.

Away from those wide inviting boulevards and away from where the VIPs move too and fro, lies the real face of Islamabad, not downright ugly but dirty and unkempt. These are the low-scale areas, which for long have been given a raw deal by Capital Development Authority (CDA).

From water taps running dry to garbage and overflowing gutters, faulty streetlights and narrow streets, the residents of such areas as G-7, I-9, I-10 continue to suffer as a result of CDA’s indifference.

CDA Chairman Kamran Lashari admits that there are problems in those sectors but says there’s a reason for it. “Yes, there is more litter, more sewerage issues because of the pressure of the number of people living there, a lack of civic sense and income levels – all these things multiply in creating those problems,” he told Daily Times on Monday.

Water remains one of Islamabad’s foremost problems, as now is electricity because of the rapid growth of the town but fortunately, the CDA is now seemingly moving to sort out at least the water and sewerage issues.

“We are relaying and replacing water and sewerage pipelines and although this might take time, we have fully activated ourselves on this,” Lashari said. A study has been conducted for a permanent solution to the problem and foreign consultants have been hired for the project.

Islamabad gets its water from the Simly and Khanpur dams.

“We get 75 percent of our water from there while some of it comes from tube wells and other sources,” said Lashari, adding that since underground water was not available, tube wells were not the solution.

With both dams being rain-fed, the water supply is generally better when it rains but otherwise the problem remains, even the posh sectors getting their supplies through water tankers.

One of the problems is Islamabad’s location, as it does not have any rivers flowing close by which prompts the need for reaching out to a permanent source. “We conducted studies on this for about a year and the best solution is Ghazi Barotha which means connectivity with the Tarbela Dam,” the CDA chairman said.

While the CDA makes plans for the future, it said last week that frequent power outages were affecting its supply of water to various sectors, especially the ‘I’ series.

“Although tube wells have been installed in residential sectors, acute load shedding disrupts the supplies to the residents,” said a spokesman for the CDA. He said a request had been made to Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (IESCO) for reduction in duration of load shedding.

The CDA, on the other hand, is also thinking of looking into generating its own electricity considering the pace at which the town is expanding. “We are seriously thinking about this option,” Lashari said.

http://www.dailytime...0-5-2008_pg11_9

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#18
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When an elite minority manipulates

Ahmad Rafay Alam

I drove to Islamabad the other day. The first thing that I noticed were the brand new avenues that cut through the city. As I drove up Agha Shahi Avenue, I noticed the high-quality construction work on the road. The next thing I noticed were the large number of people trying to cross the avenue at various points. I was struck how, forget our national politics, our cities are totally undemocratic.

One of the most remarkable achievements of human civilisation is the city. It has always been the city as the sacred shrine, the water source, the commercial hub that has attracted men and women through the ages; tempted them to leave their rural life, and has give us the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas. This interaction has given us art, culture, religion, literature, commerce, sport — in a word, civilisation.

Another of man’s remarkable achievements is democracy. This system of social arrangement, the “worst form of government except the others that have been tried,” to quote Churchill, remains, despite its flaws and constant detractors, the most popular form of government invented to date.

Despite its flaws, the great allure of democracy has been its creed of equality and public participation. But just as democracy remains elusive for Pakistan, it remains elusive in our cities. In Islamabad, for instance, the large sums of money spent on roads is expenditure of public funds that caters only to the automobile elite. This “failure of democracy,” to quote former mayor of Bagota Enrique Penalosa, isn’t particular to Pakistan. It is a common occurrence in the urban areas of most developing countries and manifests itself most clearly in the way governments have approached the issue of transport in cities.

Until only a hundred odd years ago, cities grew in accordance with the muscle energy in the human body for low-speed pedestrian mobility, they grew according to how far a man or woman could commute by walking. With the introduction of the automobile, a significant change occurred in the rate and manner cities grew. Society appeared to accept the automobile, and yielded to it willingly as its demands grew. We continue to do so. Take parking congestion, for example. As more and more automobiles crowd into limited public spaces and begin to suppress human activity — as they do on Lahore’s M M Alam Road or in Karachi’s Zamzama — they are regarded as a “parking problem” rather than an automobile problem. As a result, solutions to automobile congestion prioritise parking over, say, public transport. The proof lies in the fact that parking fees are not even remotely close to the real market prices of an equivalent amount of public space.

According to a report recently issued on the economic health of Punjab by the P&D Department, most of this province’s urban population lives in slums or in poorly constructed irregular housing. Now consider the fact that, in the past five years, Punjab has spent billions of rupees to build underpasses along Lahore’s Canal Road (this is just these underpasses, and not the money spent on transport infrastructure elsewhere). There are less than 1.5 million automobiles registered in Lahore, the vast majority of which are two-wheelers. For a city of over seven million, the allocation of such a large sum of money for such a small proportion of the city’s population is astonishing. It means an elite minority are able to manipulate public expenditure. This is not equality. Such allocation of resource is not democratic, especially when the vast majority clamours for things like sanitation, healthcare, education and recreation (and the restoration of the judiciary!).

The fact is that there is no “natural” level of automobiles in a city.

There is no “ideal” ratio of miles of metalled road per square mile of urban area. These are figures — ah, give me a statistic and I can move the world — used by planners to support arguments to widen roads. But nobody widens roads anymore; it’s a practice given up long ago by mature city governments such as those of Paris, New York, Tokyo, Berlin or London. These “global cities” decided, impliedly or explicitly, that regardless of traffic congestion, no new road infrastructure would be built or added in their core areas. Instead, governments of these cities concentrated on public transport. We remain obstinately committed to ignoring the experiences of others or the lessons of the past.
In Lahore, Shahbaz Sharif’s experiment during his previous tenure as chief minister to widen the roads in Lahore is now proof that, if you do so, they will only be filled with more and more cars. Despite the clear results of the experiment, in the past five years, the Government of Punjab recklessly authorised the construction of billions of rupees of road infrastructure. The proposed widening of the Lahore canal is a good example: despite the compelling arguments of citizen action groups like Lahore Bachao, the government remains adamant on spending another 700 million rupees to make the commute from Dharampura to Thokar Niaz Beg 10 minutes faster. Remember the expenditure of this money is in ignorance of the many pressing urban issues facing the city.

For government to retain its legitimacy, it must not only strive to construct the equality so necessary for democratic rule, it must also be perceived to be generating inclusion and some form of equality. Imagine what a carless commuter must think of the “development” in Islamabad. He certainly won’t think the CDA is working for his benefit.
In our urban areas, there is no better equaliser of social hierarchies than public space. Our governments must realise that these public spaces are political weapons that can be used to enhance their legitimacy and which can be manipulated to provide democratic equality to the people.

In public spaces, the highest-ranking executive and the lowest-ranking employee are stripped of their social differences. However, most interaction in public spaces occurs during leisure time.

In developing countries, the upper classes have large homes, private gardens and access to clubs, country houses, restaurants and expensive cultural activities. The lower and middle classes don’t have access to such facilities and so, in our urban areas, it really is the public spaces open for recreation which are the only places that social and democratic equality can be maintained. Sadly, with the number of green belts and parks being used for road widening or construction projects, we are quickly losing the last tool urban planners have to provide recreation and entertainment — and by extension, some similarity and equality with the lives of the rich.

This is also why parks are so precious now. In another ten years, there will be no space left in our urban areas to use for public purposes. If government doesn’t act today, in another ten years that main distinction between rich and poor in Pakistan will be in how they entertain themselves.

Our government must realise that our cities are unequal. They must realise the priorities they have assigned development projects often offend democratic sensibilities. They must realise that the time to act is now, and that neglect will lead to great social division.

The writer is an advocate of the high court and a member of the adjunct faculty at LUMS. He has an interest in urban planning. Email: ralam@nexlinx. net.pk
Courtesy: The News, 5/5/2008

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#19
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Islamabad Master Plan back to the drawing board

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ISLAMABAD: Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to examine the revised version of Islamabad Master Plan to free it of failings, it is learnt.

A CDA official told Daily Times on Tuesday that the authority’s bosses were dissatisfied with the revision of the master plan by Mott McDonald Pakistan (MMP) due to its inability to cater to the town’s future needs on many counts.

He said the CDA Board had asked the Planning Wing to suggest ways and means to address the shortcomings in question within a month and submit to it a revised version of the plan.

He said following the CDA Board’s approval, the master plan would be sent to the cabinet for mandatory consent.

The official said the CDA wanted to engage Doxiadis Associates, a Greek firm that prepared the city’s original master plan in 1960, for the job but couldn’t do so for certain reasons.

The MMP was given the contract to modify the master plan three years ago.

The MMP-revised master plan has focused on the launch of new residential sectors, extension of municipal limits, establishment of another industrial zone, road repairs and creation of new parks in the city.

Under the new plan, the CDA is to extend Islamabad’s municipal limits to the area adjacent to the motorways and increase the numbering series of sectors from 16 to 18.

It also proposes establishment of another industrial zone in I-17, creation of a Fatima Jinnah Park like vast recreational area in E-14 and construction of high-rises in Zones 4 and 5.

The original master plan divides Islamabad into four parts: Rawalpindi (259 square kilometres), Islamabad Proper, inclusive of institutional and industrial areas (220.15 square kilometres), Islamabad Park (220.15 square kilometres) and Islamabad Rural Areas (466.20 square kilometres).

http://dailytimes.co....12-2008_pg11_6

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#20
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REVISED ISLAMABAD MASTER PLAN

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Delay in approval of revised Master Plan of Islamabad is causing problems in various areas, including development of new residential sectors, which are necessary to cope with ever-increasing shortage of housing units in the metropolis.

Sources told ‘The News’ that a proposal had been made in the revised Master Plan to increase the total number of residential sectors from 56 to 68 for ensuring thousands of additional housing units in the city. They said it had also been proposed to increase the number of series of sectors from 16 to 18 by extending the limits of Islamabad to the areas adjacent to the motorway.

Currently, the capital city has around 85,000 housing units in the developed residential areas, showing shortage of over 50,000 housing units. The development of new residential sectors could help meet the demand for housing units but delay in approval of the revised Master Plan might further worsen the situation.

A UK-based firm, Mott McDonald Pakistan (MMP), was assigned the task some years back to revise the original Master Plan of Islamabad, covering current and future development needs of the city and various other aspects including new housing sectors, extension in municipal limits, industrial activities, environmental protection, road repair, new parks and recreational areas and safety of existing water reservoirs.

The consultant company submitted the draft of the revised Master Plan to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) prepared in line with the directives given by a four-member ministerial committee constituted by the prime minister for this purpose. But since then no sign has so far been appeared to show that the Master Plan would be implemented soon.

According to a CDA official, the master plans of cities in modern world are revised after every 25 years but it is astonishing that the Master Plan of Islamabad is being revised on full-scale for the first time since the establishment of the city in 1960s.

The sources said the government officials were more interested to make minor changes in the Master Plan than its full-scale revision that made it difficult for the concerned authorities to meet the growing demands in various areas.

The first change in the Master Plan was made in 1964 when the location of Islamabad University — later renamed as Quaid-i-Azam University — was shifted from the National Park Area to its current location.

The Sector E-11 was to be acquired and developed for low-income private and government employees, but in 1964, the CDA was stopped from acquiring the area in consideration of the location of Golra Sharif shrine.

In 1969, the rural periphery of Islamabad along Kahuta Road was turned into an Industrial Triangle for medium scale industries. The location of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) was also changed in 1974 from the area close to the National Institute of Health (NIH) near Chak Shahzad to its present location in Sector G-8/3.

Originally, half the H-series sectors were designated as green buffer and the other half for special institutions. But, in 1974, upper half of H-8 was given to different institutions for constructing their buildings, and H-10 and H-12 were selected for private educational institutes.

The CDA deputy director general (planning wing) told ‘The News’ that the draft of the revised Master Plan had been completed sometime back and they were preparing to give a presentation to the secretary Cabinet. He said the presentation would hopefully be conducted in the first week of the next month.

He said after the presentation the draft would be presented before the Cabinet for its detailed analysis before its final approval. “As the Master Plan has not been revised for the last so many decades, its revised version has been prepared in such a way that will certainly help meet the growing requirements and demands in various areas.


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