Urbanisation: Lahore to follow Karachi’s footsteps — upwards

Experts suggest trend of multi-story buildings provides solution.

Shahram Haq January 08, 2015
In Lahore, the LDA received 15,318 new building approval requests for the year 2014. PHOTO: RIAZ AHMED/EXPRESS

LAHORE: It seems like Lahore will resort to the same tactic as Karachi.

After spreading and expanding, literally exploring new territories, urbanisation in Punjab’s provincial capital means that town planners and construction companies are now shifting their focus on vertical endeavours as the influx of people rises.

Following the footsteps of Karachi, where the concept of multi-story residential buildings is common, the habitants of Lahore have started accepting the trend, though not much has been done by private developers in this regard.

The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has relaxed its rules for commercial plots to be used for residential buildings recently to encourage apartment construction.  But experts have said that this trend should favour the lower-income group.

“There is a mismatch in demand and what is being produced in the housing sector,” said Zaamin Group Chairman Akbar Sheikh, while talking to The Express Tribune.

“The prices of housing units in Lahore are out of reach for the majority.

In order to provide affordable units to such a group, developers should focus on the particular segment.”

With an acute shortage of housing units in Pakistan, industry experts are unsure of the actual deficit, but World Bank statistics for 2009 suggested demand for housing units was increasing at 8% per annum in urban centres.

The total housing units in Pakistan were estimated at 20.48 million, whereas total shortfall of houses was estimated at 7.57 million. In Lahore, the LDA received 15,318 new building approval requests for the year 2014.

These requests are only for LDA controlled areas, where as experts say that if we include the number from cantonments and the Defence Housing Authority, the figure would easily multiply.

According to Sheikh, the demand and supply of newly constructed units have a deficit of around 0.15 to 0.2 million.

There is no doubt that in the last decade, Lahore has witnessed expansion in real estate. As a result, several new housing schemes have emerged, ultimately pushing the boundaries of the city with its districts, said an LDA official.

But this expansion is not helping the mass middle and lower-middle income group as these societies are more investment centric.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th,  2015.

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Ali | 7 years ago | Reply

and so another beautiful city will turn into a slum like metropolis with worn out , cage like residential flats. This would lead to a population over flow in the city and the beauty of this city will slowly fade away....plus the climate in lahore is not windy like Karachi and thus not very conducive to these kind of congested residential buildings.... Please spare Lahore of this apartment mess

Adam Khan | 7 years ago | Reply

we need to get out of paindoo style big houses , which are waste of money, electricity and space. we should make European and American style tall building and adopt to apartment life, which is more comfortable

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