[Reader-list] 'World Class City' concept & repercussions for urban planning in Asia-Pacific

yasir ~يا سر yasir.media at gmail.com
Sun Sep 13 05:47:43 IST 2009

** The World Class City Concept and its Repercussions on

** Urban Planning for Cities in the Asia Pacific Region

By Arif Hasan

(04 September 2009)

Email: arifhasan at cyber.net.pk

(Paper prepared for the IAPS-CSDE Network Symposia on Culture, Space
and Revitalization, Istanbul, Turkey, 12 – 16 October 2009)

(The contents of this paper are drawn from my personal experiences of
working or being associated with programmes and projects in a number
of Asian cities over the last two and a half decades and with their
planners, academics, students, politicians and NGO and CBO
representatives. Many of these programmes and projects were supported
by IFIs and bilateral development agencies and most of the references
in the paper are from authors known personally to me.)


The welfare state model in Europe was born out of an uneasy
reconciliation between capitalism and its opponents. Its principles
were adopted by most of the newly independent countries (who did not
belong to the Soviet block) in the post-Second World War period. The
ethos of the model survived because of the division of the world into
socialist and capitalist entities and because of the presence of a
revolutionary China and a militarily powerful Soviet Union in the UN’s
Security Council. In these circumstances a global market economy was
simply not possible. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the
repercussions of the failure of the Cultural Revolution in China
changed all this and in political terms capitalism came to dominate
the world.

As a result, we are governed today by three global institutions. They
determine global politics, culture, finance and development and as
such most national development policies and concepts as well. These
institutions are all undemocratic in nature and hence their decisions
and policies cannot be changed through existing rules, regulations and
procedures that determine their functioning. These institutions are:
one, the UN which is controlled by five members of the Security
Council who won the Second World War and who can individually veto any
decision of the UN General Assembly; two, the International Monitory
Fund (IMF) and World Bank, which function on the basis of one dollar
one vote; and three, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which was born
out of the G-7 green room negotiations that led to the creation of
GATT and is controlled by the G-8.

Collectively these organisations have promoted what has come to be
known as the “free market” economy, the most important aspect of which
is the freedom of capital to move across national borders and seek
investment wherever it can multiply. The structural adjustment
process, which most poorer countries had to undergo in the decade of
the 90’s, facilitated the growth of the free market economy and helped
in this process. Structural adjustment demanded from national
governments the regulating of then balance of payment and returning
loans taken from the IFIs. To make this possible countries undergoing
structural adjustment agreed to remove subsidies on health, education
and housing; increase taxation on utilities; sell their industrial and
real assets to the private, national or international corporate
sector; and remove restrictions on imports and exports. The resulting
national economic crunch meant that the poorer countries could not
invest, and in many cases even subsidise, infrastructure projects and
these had to be built by the international or national corporate
sector through international tendering. As a result, there has been a
big boom of international companies bidding for these projects. The
Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and the Build-Operate-Own (BOO) processes
were invented to make infrastructure development possible through this
system. Both systems produce infrastructure at more than twice the
cost of government produced infrastructure and in addition national
governments have to give sovereign guarantees for the investment made
by the investors.

A whole new terminology and concepts has been developed to support the
market economy. Concepts such as “it is not the business of the state
to do business”, “cities are the engines of growth”, “direct foreign
investment”, and the concept of linking economic well being with GDP
growth have had a major impact on national policies of Asian
countries. In search of growth and DFI, they have invested in a big
way in the creation of industrial zones (instead of in their people)
and accepted the concept of “corporate” farming. India is one of the
emerging economic giants who have followed these policies since the
mid-1990’s. As a result, its economic growth in the last decade has
varied between 7 and 9 per cent. However, it is estimated that as a
result of the creation of 500 Special Economic Zones (for attracting
Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) and corporate farming (both promoted
by the World Bank for GDP growth) about 400 million people would
willingly or unwillingly be forced to move from rural to urban areas
by 2015.[1] This is twice the population of the United Kingdom, France
and Germany put together. This process is also being promoted in other
Asian counties and is in many cases being resisted by the farmers.[2]
It is replacing food crops by cash crops and in the process increasing
the cost and shortage of food; creating agricultural refugees; and
making the state vulnerable to corporate sector pressures and

To promote DFI, the three undemocratic global institutions have also
promoted the decentralisation of governance systems, giving
considerable power to local level institutions. Increasingly this
power is being used for accessing DFI and identifying projects
independently of the provincial or central governments. It is too
early to evaluate this process. Maybe an audit after one more decade
will help us decide as to the benefits of the system – at present it
is a mixed bag.[4]

IFI pushed political reforms and deregulations have also had a major
impact on property markets and have reshaped the politics of land
development. Trading across borders in gold and contraband goods is no
longer lucrative. As a result, the gangs and mafias involved in these
underworld activities have become involved in the real estate business
and linked up with their underworld partners abroad for this purpose.
This has skewed the land market and promoted massive speculation.[5]
The process has been further facilitated by regional conflicts,
increasingly porous borders (both for capital and individuals) and the
narcotic trade. All this has introduced an element of violence and
targeted killings and kidnappings of opponents, rivals and social
activists in the land and real estate sector.[6]

The state in almost all cases has responded to these market pressures
and made land available for development through landuse conversions,
new development schemes and the bulldozing of informal settlements.[7]
NGOs and CBOs who have challenged this process have faced two
constraints (apart from their own internal organisational weaknesses
and culture); one an unsympathetic international media and the other
an absence of laws to prevent environmentally and socially
inappropriate land conversions. Even where such laws do exist, rules,
regulations and procedures and institutions to implement them are
often missing. As a result, courts often deliver judgements that
promote inequity, poverty and social fragmentation.[8] Media too is
increasing being controlled by the global giants, who promote the new
paradigm, and Richard Mindoch has predicted that very soon there will
only be three global media grants and his company will be one of them.
In 1983 there were over 50 such corporations. By 2002 they had fallen
to nine.[9] National medias, where journalists and the intellectuals
are fighting for reform and justice, are responsive to social and
environmental issues but their owners are subject to both state and
corporate sector pressures that they cannot resist.[10]

Poverty in the countries who did not have the means to respond
positively to the free market, has increased and the rich-poor divide
has increased in all cases. The most damaging aspect of this divide is
promoted by the privatisation of education. This is introducing two
systems of education, private for the rich and public for the poor,
and has very serious long term repercussions.[11] To rectify this
increasing divide, the IFIs have promoted the concept of safety nets
for the poor for which loans are being provided and the role of NGOs
in these programmes is being encouraged. Safety nets are serving a
very small percentage of the effected population and NGO involvement
with big funds available to them is adversely affecting NGO culture
and its relationship with development policies and poor
communities.[12] Loans for infrastructure projects have also
increased, especially for road projects. There is an increasing
questioning of these loans and aid programmes and the projects they
promote by civil society organisations in the South.[13] There is
evidence that shows that most of the projects are either failures or
unsustainable, expensive and that much (in some cases most) of the
loans go back to the north in the shape of technical assistance,
overheads and contractors’ profits promoted by the concept of
international tenders.[14]

What has been elaborated above has had a profound effect on the shape
and politics of our cities. The shape that our cities are taking and
the reasons behind them are the result of a powerful nexus of
developers and investors (many of dubious origins); compromised
government institutions and bureaucrats; and politicians seeking
global capital for shaping their cities in the image of the “West” –
an image that is promoted (implicitly or explicitly) by the three
global institutions I mentioned in the beginning of this paper. To
promote this paradigm, which I call the neo-liberal urban development
paradigm, the concept of the world class or global city has also been
promoted. It is a powerful concept and has almost universally been
accepted by national government policy makers, the newly emerging
middle classes and academia, especially in the West.

The World Class City Concept and its Repercussions

Karachi, Bombay, Hochiminh City, Seoul, Delhi all aspire to become
World Class cities. Some wish to become like Shanghai and others like
Dubai[15] although the context of Shanghai or Dubai is very far
removed from them. The World Class city has been defined beautifully
(also sympathetically) by Mehbubur Rahman in a brilliant paper and in
other literature.[16] According to the World Class city agenda, the
city should have iconic architecture by which it should be recognised,
such as the highest building or fountain in the world. It should be
branded for a particular cultural, industrial or other produce or
happening. It should be an international event city (Olympics, sports
fairs). It should have high-rise apartments as opposed to upgraded
settlements and low-rise neighbourhoods. It should cater to tourism
(which is often at the expense of local commerce). It should have
malls as opposed to traditional markets. For solving its increasing
traffic problem (the result of bank loans for the purchase of cars) it
should build flyovers, underpasses and expressways rather than
restrict the production and purchase of automobiles and manage traffic
better. Doing all this is an expensive agenda and for it the city has
to seek DFI and the support of International Financial Institutions
(IFIs). For accessing DFI, investment friendly infrastructure has to
be developed and the image of the World Class city established. For
establishing this image, poverty is pushed out of the city to the
periphery and already poor-unfriendly byelaws (which are anti-street,
anti-pedestrian, anti-mixed landuse and anti-dissolved space) are made
even more unfriendly by permitting environmentally and socially
unfriendly landuse conversions. The three most important repercussions
of this agenda are that global capital increasing determines the
physical and social form of the city and in the process projects have
replaced planning and landuse is now determined on the basis of land
value alone and not on the basis of social and environmental
considerations. Land has unashamedly become a commodity.

The agenda for opting for high-rise redevelopment rather than the
upgrading of settlements; relocating old informal settlements to the
periphery of the city; and making room for mega projects and mega
events has resulted in a massive increase in evictions all over Asia
in the last five years.[17] Over 500,000 persons have been evicted in
Delhi for the preparation of the 2010 Asian Olympics alone.[18] All
studies show that the evicted population was not consulted in the
eviction and/or relocation process; that there was always an element
of subtle coercion and often of brute force; and that the evicted
and/or relocated population became poorer than before and often in
debt whereas before they were debt free.[19] Children’s education too
has always been disrupted as a result; jobs lost and travel time to
and from work increased to over five to six hours in many cases, thus
effecting families and social life, health, recreation and
entertainment activities.[20] The result of the above policies, along
with an absence of appropriately subsidised land development and
social housing, has seen a phenomenal increase in informal

Politicians and government planners justify the high-rise
redevelopment approach by insisting that a modern city has to be
high-rise with open areas in-between. They also insist that high
densities, needed for a well-functioning city, cannot be achieved by
upgrading and densifying existing neighbourhoods.[21] The image of a
city is governed by the perception of what it should be. One can
discuss and disagree on it. However, a recent International Institute
for Environment and Development (IIED) supported study by the Urban
Research and Design Cell at the Department of Architecture and
Planning (DAP), NED University, Karachi, of Karachi settlements and
apartment complexes has conclusively established that the same
densities as prescribed by the Karachi Building Control Authority
(KBCA) can be achieved by building row houses of ground plus two
stories (along with required social infrastructure) without damaging
the environment or adversely effecting social life.[22]

The study of a resettlement and upgrading project in Hochiminh City
(considered as one of the better ones) illustrates the problems with
the high-rise option as opposed to upgrading.[23]  The average
compensation given to apartment dwellers in the project is about US$
5,400 which does not include the loan required to bridge the gap
between the compensation and the actual price of the housing unit. It
does not include the cost of external infrastructure either. The
apartment option, given Vietnam’s economy, is not sustainable except
through massive IFI loans. The upgrading option on the other hand
works out to US$ 325 per household and is manageable. Communities also
prefer upgrading to apartments for they cannot perform economic
activities in apartment blocks. Out of 72 households who had moved to
apartments in the project, 50 were in debt as a result of moving,
whereas previously none were in debt. One of the reasons was that they
were paying the equivalent of US$ 8 per month for utility and
maintenance charges and US$ 21 instalments for the apartment against
an average monthly earning of US$ 75 per month.

The World Class image of the city has no place in it for informal
businesses and hawkers except as organised tourist attractions. The
link of these hawkers and businesses with low income people (for whom
they make life affordable) and with commuters is not recognised and as
such large scale evictions of informal businesses and hawkers have
taken place without any compensation in all the major cities in the
Asia-Pacific region. This has impoverished millions of families.[24]

The free market economy led in the last decade to considerable
liquidity in banks and leasing companies. This has been utilised for
providing loans for the purchase of cars. Evidence suggests that these
loans were provided as a result of an understanding between the
automobile industry and global banking and financial sectors. Many
billion dollars of loans have increased the population of cars in many
Asian mega and secondary cities in the last decade by over 80 to 100
per cent. In Karachi alone banks and leasing companies gave the rupee
equivalent of US$ 1.8 billion for the purchase of an average of 506
vehicles per day in the financial year 2006-2007.[25] As a result of
this automobile industry-banking sector nexus, traffic in the larger
cities of the Asia-Pacific region has become a nightmare. To solve
this problem, city planners have initiated a massive programme for the
construction of signal-free roads, flyovers, underpasses and
expressways which have aggravated the situation and in addition made
life difficult for pedestrians and commuters. In addition to these
traffic related projects, non-motorised means of transport, used
mostly by the poor (such as cyclos, rickshaws, animal drawn carts)
have also been banned in many cities or their movement restricted to
the periphery or to low income settlements.[26] Mass transit light
rail projects meanwhile have failed to provide an adequate or
affordable alternative to the poor since they are essentially projects
and not part of a larger comprehensive transport plan.[27]

As a result of the above and related processes, the once poor-friendly
cities of Asia have become poor-unfriendly, both for the migrants
(mainly agricultural refugees) and for communities who have lived in
them for decades if not for centuries. Land, construction costs and
rentals have multiplied manifold as compared to daily wages for
unskilled labour.[28]

The Struggle Against the Negative Aspects of the World Class City

I do not know of any city or country in the Asia-Pacific region where
the neo-liberal urban development paradigm has been challenged as a
paradigm or an alternative vision for the city has been promoted.
However, projects promoted by the paradigm have been successfully
challenged in those countries who have a populist political culture
and strong civil society organisations and networks.

Global capital, as has been said earlier, has desperately been looking
for a home. Real estate development for the new rich and for tourism
offers the best opportunities for investment especially in countries
where regulatory frameworks are weak. Tourist resorts and condominiums
along the beaches of Asian cities are prime locations for this
development. For commercial plazas, the inner city informal
settlements, if evicted, promise lucrative returns. National and the
newly empowered city governments have clandestinely sold or arranged
to sell these assets to national and/or international companies
without the knowledge of the residents of these settlements and
without developing any procedures for resettlement of the evicted
population. According some reports,[29] almost half of Cambodia has
been sold to foreign investors between 2006 and 2008, including seven
islands off the coast and a large number of beaches and the homes of
residents bulldozed. As a result, there was an increase of over 1,500
per cent in 2007 over the preceding four years in DFI. This investment
has impoverished the poor and made them jobless and homeless. It has
benefited the investors, their local partners and politicians.[30]
Cambodia is a poor country, still recovering from years of
devastation, genocide and war and as such with an almost non-existent
civil society movement. So this clandestine sale was possible, with
little or no organised resistance.

Pakistan is also a poor country but it has a comparatively strong
civil society, nascent environmental laws and tribunals and a populist
political culture born out of repeated struggles for the restoration
of democracy. In 2007, the Prime Minister of Pakistan agreed to sell
two islands off the Karachi coast to a Dubai based company against an
investment of US$ 43 billion. In addition, he agreed to providing
about 33,000 hectares of coastal land to another Dubai based company
for a US$ 500 billion project with an initial investment of US$ 150
billion. Another project of US$ 1,500 million, aimed at privatising 14
kilometres of beach has also been proposed and part of it has been
initiated. In agreeing to sell the land and beaches the Prime Minister
bypassed existing laws and procedures. In addition, the projects
(which were exclusively for upmarket condominiums, 5 star hotels and
marinas) were to adversely affect the livelihood of 200,000 fishermen,
evict about 36 villages and prevent lower and lower middle groups
access to the beach. At present, over 300 thousand persons visit the
beaches over the weekend. Beach development projects have also tried
to force lower income groups (and those who serve them) off the beach
by preventing informal eating places and activities on the beach and
replacing them with expensive formal food stalls.[31]

Civil society organisations in Karachi formed a network to oppose the
beach development and island sale projects. The network included
fishermen’s organisations, community organisations from low income
settlements, schools, NGOs, academia, prominent citizens (including
ex-judges of the Supreme Court) and the print media. The sale was also
opposed by a number of senior bureaucrats. As a result, the sale of
the islands has been put on hold, the Limitless project cancelled and
the US$ 1,500 million project considerably modified. Earlier, through
the same process networks, backed by organisations that work with low
income groups, had objected to the 1994 Karachi Mass Transit Project
as a result of which modifications were made to it.[32] A US$ 100
million Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan was also cancelled for a
waste water management project when an NGO, working with communities
in informal settlements presented and lobbied through a network for a
US$ 20 million alternative.[33] Professional bodies representing
architects and planners were conspicuous by their absence in these
processes although a number of architects did take part individually
in the movements.

A similar process to that in Karachi has been followed in Bombay. The
Maharastra state government, of which Bombay is the capital, put out
an advertisement for an “expression of interest” for the redevelopment
of Dharavi, an inner city informal settlement. The developer was to
survey the settlement, carry out the urban design exercise and
relocate and/or provide housing for the displaced population.
Dharavi’s population is over half a million and its informal
businesses and industry serve the formal ones and generate the rupee
equivalent of well over US$ 500 million a year. In spite of this, the
advertisement called Dharavi a pocket and asked the investor whether
the prospect “turns you on”.[34] The people and businesses in Dharavi
were not consulted regarding this advertisement and had no knowledge
of it. Also, for such a huge undertaking an EIA was required under
Indian Law which was not carried out. What made the issue even more
serious was that the developer was being asked to carry out the
survey. Already there were major differences between government and
NGOs surveys of Dharavi. Government listed 55,000 houses but no
businesses whereas NGO surveys listed 81,000 structures and 120,000
businesses and households.[35]

A network consisting of the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF)
(a national level organisation of 500,000 households), NGOs working
with low income groups such as SPARC, concerned citizens and
organisations formed specially for opposing the government plan, was
formed. International academics, artists, researchers and NGOs also
expressed their concern. Meanwhile, the President of the NSDF offered
a partnership to the state government for the development of Dharavi
and also threatened agitation if the government plan went through. As
a result of this movement, negotiations took place and an NGO, Mashal,
has won the bid for carrying out a survey of Dharavi with the support
of NSDF and Society Promotion for Area Resource Centres (SPARC).[36]

All successful movements against insensitive projects have a number of
things in common. One, the existence of a large network or
organisation of poor communities; two, the existence of organisations
that support these communities with information and managerial and
technical guidance but do not control or direct them; three, research
on social, technical and planning issues that question the project in
an informal manner and present alternatives; four, support from
concerned and prominent citizens, professional bodies, academia and
media; five, no one group owns the network and its successes as
theirs. Another aspect that has emerged from a number of case studies
is that violence or threat of it, unfortunately, is the only form of
dissent that is acknowledged and accommodated by officialdom.[37]

The bleak picture above has to be supplemented with hope. This is
provided by the Baan Mankong nation wide slum upgrading project of the
Community Development Institute (CODI). It is a Thai government
project. Under the project communities (organised through a process of
savings and credit) identify and acquire land for their housing and
house building or upgrading through a government system of subsidies
and loans through revolving funds. To prevent speculation the strategy
of collective rather than individual ownership has been adopted. A
search is also on to find ways to develop new social systems on the
basis of the relationship established in the process of the savings
process and that of land acquisition. Local governments,
professionals, universities and NGOs are involved with poor
communities in the CODI process. Between January 2003 and March 2008,
over 1,100 communities (53,976 households) in 226 Thai cities had
benefited from the programme.[38]

An Alternative to the World Class City Concept?

What is the alternative to the World Class city concept? An inclusive
city based on the principles of justice and equity? A pedestrian and
commuter friendly city? By what process do you develop a vision? And
then there are a number of sub issues. After developing a vision how
do you promote it? Or will it be born out the processes that challenge
(successfully and unsuccessfully) the projects promoted by the
neo-liberal urban development paradigm? Maybe we need to discuss this
but in the meantime what should one do?

In the case of Karachi, I see projects replacing planning for the
foreseeable future. I have tried to promote some principles on the
basis of which projects should be judged and/or modified. These are:
one, projects should not damage the ecology of the region in which the
city is located. Two, projects should as a priority seek to serve the
interests of the majority who in the case of our cities are lower and
lower middle income groups. Three, projects should decide landuse on
the basis of social and environmental considerations and not on the
basis of land values alone. And four, projects should protect the
tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the communities that live
in them. This would in my opinion produce better projects. But you
cannot effectively follow these principles if you do not have
affection and respect for the natural environment and for the people
who form the majority in your cities.

However, the question is whether the megalomania and opportunism of
politicians and planners will accept a new and more humane paradigm
that curtails their profits and decommoditises land? I do not think
they will unless they are pressurised by city wide networks armed by
alternative research and an alternative vision. The key to bringing
about a change lies in the nature of professional education, I often
think that it might help if graduating architects, planners and
engineers should take an oath similar to those of doctors and if they
do not follow the terms of the oath, their names should be removed
from the list of practising professionals. In 1983, after evaluating
the environmental damage that some of my work had done, I promised in
an article.[39] “I will not do projects that will irrepairably damage
the ecology and environment of the area in which they are located; I
will not do projects that increase poverty, dislocate people and
destroy the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of communities
that live in the city; I will not do projects that destroy multi-class
public space and violate building byelaws and zoning regulations; and
I will always object to insensitive projects that do all this,
provided I can offer viable alternatives.” I have tried to keep that
promise and I think I have succeeded.


[1]. Devinder Sharma; Displacing Farmers: India Will have 400 Million
Agricultural Refugees;        www.dsharma.org

[2].  In Pakistan a major movement of share croppers has struggled
successfully against being evicted from their farms in the Okara
district of the Punjab province over the last five years. Neanwhile,
the Pakistan government has identified 7 hundred thousand hectares of
agricultural land for lease to foreign countries. For details see,
Ahmed Rafay Alam; Leasing Out Land And Food Security; The Daily News,
Karachi, September 04, 2009.

[3]. Devinder Sharma; Displacing Farmers: India Will have 400 Million
Agricultural Refugees;         www.dsharma.org

[4].  David Satterthwaite; Understanding Asian Cities; Asian Coalition
for Housing Rights, Bangkok, October 2005. The paper asks two
important questions. These are: “Does decentralisation give city
governments more power and resources and thus capacity to act?” and
“If city government does get more capacity to act does this actually
bring benefits to urban poor groups?”

[5].  Liza Weinstein; Mumbai’s Development Mafias: Globalization,
Organized Crime and Land Development; International Journal of Urban
and Regional Research, Volume 32.1, March 2008

[6].   Ibid. Also, planners in different Asian cities have voiced
similar concerns to the author.

[7].   Arif Hasan: Understanding Karachi: Planning and Reform for the
Future; City Press, Karachi 2000

[8].  Tripti Lahiri; A Nightmare Grows on Ruins of India’s Housing
Shortage; Daily Dawn, Karachi, May 14, 2008

[9].   John Pilger; The Invisible Government; Speech delivered at the
Chicago Socialism 2007 Conference on June 16, 2007

[10]. The electronic media in Karachi in 2006-2007 gave considerable
coverage against real estate development projects that were going to
privatise Karachi’s beaches. The media was forced to discontinue this
coverage when the real estate companies threatened to withdraw their

[11]. Arif Hasan; The Neo Urban Development Paradigm and the Changing
Landscape of Asian Cities; International Society of City and Regional
Planners Review No. 3, The Hague, 04 June 2007

[12]. Arif Hasan: Discussion Document for UN University Event on
“Sustainable Urban Future in an Era of Globalisation and Environmental
Change”; New York, July 09-10, 2007

[13]. These include the Independent People’s Tribunal on the World
Bank Group in India; People’s Voice in Karachi; and Cambodia
Development Resource Institute in Cambodia.

[14]. See Stephanie Gorson Fried and Shannom Lawrence with Regina
Gregory: The Asian Development Bank: In its own Worlds; “An Analysis
of Project Audit Reports for Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; ADB
Watch, July 2003. Also, Arif Hasan; The Neo Urban Development Paradigm
and the Changing Landscape of Asian Cities; International Society of
City and Regional Planners Review No. 3, The Hague, 04 June 2007.
Also, according to research carried out by the Orangi Pilot Project in
Karachi, the government develops infrastructure at 4 to 6 times the
cost of labour and material involved. When loans are taken from IFIs
the cost goes up by 30 to 50 percent due to foreign consultants and
related purchase conditionalities. Where an international tender is
also a condititionality the cost can go up by an additional 200 to 300
percent. Thus something whose cost is US$ 1 in material and labour
terms is delivered at a cost of US$ 20 to 30.

[15]. See City District Government Karachi: Karachi Strategic
Development Plan 2020; October 2008 and State of Maharashtra;
Transforming Mumbai into a World Class City; Chief Minister’s Task
Force; 2004. Author’s conversations with politicians and planners in
other Asian cities support this contention.

[16]. Mahbubur Rahman; “Global City – Asian Aspirations; paper read at
the DAP, NED University Karachi seminar on Planning in a Globalising
World, Karachi, May 30, 2009

[17]. ACHR Monitoring of Evictions in seven Asian countries
(Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines)
shows that evictions are increasing dramatically. Between January to
June 2004, 334,593 people were evicted in the urban areas of these
countries. In January to June 2005, 2,084,388 people were evicted. The
major reason for these evictions was the beautification of the city.
In the majority of cases, people did not receive any compensation for
the losses they incurred and where resettlement did take place it was
25 to 60 kilometres from the city centre. (Ken Fernandes; Some Trends
in Evictions in Asia; ACHR, March 2006)

[18]. Tripti Lahiri; A Nightmare Grows on Ruins of India’s Housing
Shortage; Daily Dawn, Karachi, May 14, 2008

[19]. For details see Tripti Lahiri; A Nightmare Grows on Ruins of
India’s Housing Shortage; Daily Dawn, Karachi, May 14, 2008 and Han
Verschure, Arif Hasan and Somsook Boonyabancha; Evaluation &
Recommendations for Infrastructure & Resettlement Pilot Project Tan
Hoa-Lo Gom Canal; Ho Chi Minh City, 28 April 2006

[20]. Arif Hasan; Livelihood Substitution: The Case of the Lyari
Expressway; Ushba International Publishing, Karachi, 2006. According
to the estimates of the Urban Resource Centre Karachi, the building of
the Lyari Expressway adversely affected the education of 26,000

[21]. Government planners from Delhi, Phnom Penh, Hochiminh City,
Seoul and Karachi have repeated this in their conversations with the

[22]. Arif Hasan. Asiya Sadiq, Suneela Ahmed; Density Study of Low and
Lower Middle Income Settlements in Karachi; unpublished study prepared
for the IIED, UK, 22 June 2009

[23].  Han Verschure, Arif Hasan and Somsook Boonyabancha; Evaluation
& Recommendations for Infrastructure & Resettlement Pilot Project Tan
Hoa-Lo Gom Canal; Ho Chi Minh City, 28 April 2006

[24]. For details see Arif Hasan, Asiya Sadiq Polak, Christophe Polak;
The Hawkers of Saddar Bazaar; Ushba International Publishing, Karachi,
2008 and Bhowmik, S.; Social Security for Street Vendors: A Symposium
on Extending Social Security to Unprotected Workers; Volume 568,
December 2006 (quoted in Liza Weinstein; Mumbai’s Development Mafias:
Globalization, Organized Crime and Land Development; International
Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 32.1, March 2008)

[25]. Arif Hasan; The Neo Urban Development Paradigm and the Changing
Landscape of Asian Cities; International Society of City and Regional
Planners Review No. 3, The Hague, 04 June 2007 . According to
government officials (in conversations with the author), 1,700 cars
per day were registered in Bangkok and 1,300 per day in Delhi in the
financial year 2006-2007.

[26]. Madhu Gurung; Delhi’s Graveyard of Rickshaws; InfoChange News &
Features, September 2006. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has
destroyed 60,000 rickshaws which it had impounded for violation of
registration related regulations. The rickshaw owners could not pay a
fine of Rs 325 plus a storage charge of Rs 25 per day at the municipal
yard to get their rickshaws released within a period of 15 days.
Impounded cars have to pay only Rs 100 per day and if the owner does
not pay this sum, the car is not destroyed.

[27]. Cities such as Bangkok, Manila, Calcutta have made major
investments in light rail and metro systems. Other Asian cities are
following their example. However, these systems are far too expensive
to be developed on a large enough scale to make a difference. Manila’s
light rail caters to only 8 percent of trips and Bangkok’s sky train
and metro to only 3 percent of trips and Calcutta’s metro to even
less. The light rail and metro fares are 3 to 4 times more expensive
than bus fares. As a result, the vast majority of commuters travel by
run down bus system (for details, see Geetam Tiwari; Urban Transport
for Growing Cities; Macmillan India Ltd., 2002 and Arif Hasan;
Understanding Karachi’s Traffic Problems; Daily Dawn, January 29,

[28]. The seriousness of the situation can be judged from the fact
that in Karachi (which is a far more poor friendly city than the other
Asian mega cities) land costs in peri-urban informal settlements in
1991 was Rs 176 (US$ 2.35) per square metre or 1.7 times the daily
wage for unskilled labour at that time. Today, the cost of land in
such settlements is about Rs 10,000 (US$ 133.33) per square metre or
40 times the daily wage for unskilled labour. In 1991, the
construction of a semi-permanent house in an informal settlement was
about Rs 660 (US$ 8.8) per square metre or 6.6 times the cost of the
daily wage for unskilled labour. Today, the cost is Rs 5,000 (US$
66.66) per square metre or 20 times the cost of the daily wage for
unskilled labour. In 1991, such a semi-permanent house could be rented
for Rs 350 (US$ 4.66) per month or at 3.5 times the daily wage for
unskilled labour. Today, the rent for such a house would be Rs 2,500
(US$ 33.33) per month or 10 times the daily wage for unskilled labour.
(Source: Arif Hasan; Housing Security and Related Issues: The Case of
Karachi; unpublished paper prepared for UN-Habitat, October 2008

[29].  Ardian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark; Country for Sale; The
Guardian, April 26, 2008

[30]. According to a paper by the Cambodia Development Resource
Institute titled Technical Assistance and Capacity Development in an
Aid-Dependent Economy; Working Paper 15, Year 2000; in 1992, 19
percent of all aid money was spent on technical assistance. In 1998,
it had increased to 57 percent. Also, according to Tom Coghlan;
Consultants Reap Wealth from Afghan Chaos; Daily Telegraph, 26 March
2008, almost 50% of British aid to Afghanistan since 2001 has been
spent on consultants and contractors. According to Afghan MP Shukria
Barakzai, only 11 cents out of every dollar goes to the Afghans – the
rest goes back to the West.

[31]. See “The Partitioning of Clifton Beach” in Arif Hasan; Planning
and Development Options for Karachi; Sheher Saaz, Islamabad, 2009. See
also, website of Fisherfolk Forum www.pff.org.pk

[32].  Urban Resource Centre website: www.urckarachi.org.

[33].  Orangi Pilot Project website: www.oppinstitutions.org

[34].  Society Promotion for Area Resource Centres (SPARC) website:

[35].  Sheela Patel and Jockin Arputham; Plans for Dharavi:
Negotiating a Reconciliation Between a State-Driven Market
Redevelopment and Residents’ Aspiration; Environment & Urbanization,
Volume 20(1), 2008

[36]. Ibid

[37].  This has been observed by the author in at least three cases in
Karachi and the struggle of the tenant farmers in the Punjab. This has
also been mentioned to the author by Sheela Patel of SPARC for Bombay
and by Prof. Yves Cabannes for cases in Latin America..

[38].  See CODI website: www.codi.or.th

[39].  Arif Hasan; No to Socially and Environmentally Development
Projects; The Review, 1983

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