Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Slum Clearance? Or Gentrification?

 As in many of the mega-cities around the world Karachi in Pakistan is "re-developing" its slum areas. Pakistan’s supreme court backed the bulldozing of hundreds of homes, legalising the eviction of thousands who live along narrow waterways – nullahs – that criss-cross Karachi. At least 8,000 houses are being knocked down along the nullahs. The work, which began in February, is in response to the 2020 Karachi floods that saw choked up nullahs overflow and swamp the city along with improvements to Karachi’s water and sewage systems which are being financed by the World Bank.

When this exercise is completed (before this year’s monsoon, according to the plan), at least 100,000 people would perhaps have been rendered homeless. As many as 21,000 children would be out of school and without a home.

Architect and urban planner Arif Hasan says the government had no “proper plan”.

 “They are not doing it merely to stop the flood but to make long roads along the nullahs connecting the Lyari expressway with the northern bypass, displace poor and benefit the rich.” 

‘Where should we go?’: thousands left homeless as Karachi clears waterways | Global development | The Guardian

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