LAHORE: The Urban Unit’s initiated on Saturday City Dialogue at the Quaid-i-Azam Library Lahore had its fifth session on City Economics with focus on Cities as dumping grounds for surplus rural labour. The dialogue was conducted by Dr Kaiser Bengali, a renowned economist and adviser to Sindh chief minister. Dr Bengali is well-known for his pro-poor analysis in the public and policy circles. He also heads Benazir Income Support Programme.
“The Saturday City Dialogue organisers, Urban Unit and the Quaid-i-Azam Library administration deserves applaud for making a dedicated attempt to revive the library discussion culture in busy cities like Lahore. The trend should be replicated in other metropolitans too,” Dr Bengali said while talking to media.
“Imagine the historical significance of such places where viceroys and other important figures would have made deliberations for solutions to urban areas issues while taking some landmark decisions that shaped history. It gives me immense pleasure to be a speaker here joining the very relevant and known names already have spoken or lined up in upcoming sessions.”
In his presentation he asserted that Pakistani cities were not planned – their growth was haphazard and they don’t offer the basic necessities to the citizens as compared to the developed or developing countries.
He said it was time Pakistan drafted its urbanisation policy that could make cities effective, efficient, competitive and sustainable. Dr Bengali lamented the fact that even the largest of cities of the country do not offer basic amenities like public spaces, amusement parks and parking for vehicles along with many other elements that enable cities to function properly.
The City Dialogue attracted a number of urban planners, students, planning experts, economists and government organisations personnel along with the senior team from the Urban Unit.
The participants in the interactive session stressed the need for a public agenda for the cities to make these more inclusive and residents friendly.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2018.