MEGA REAL ESTATE PROJECTS

The requirement at the moment is to strengthen the standard of living of the major population of Karachi that is in the ultimate need of a shelter in the shape of home.

TAUQIR HAIDER
Apr 30 - May 13, 2007

DEMOGRAPHIC & STATISTICAL FACTS OF PAKISTAN

Pakistan is situated in South Asia. It is a federal state consisting of four provinces. Every province and larger cities like Karachi are run as city districts - divided into Zilas or districts and districts are divided into rural and urban Tehsils or sub districts. Tehsils are divided into union councils (UCs) which are the lowest administrative units. The average population of a union council lies between 50,000 70,000.

Pakistan constitutes 2.3 percent of the world's population. According to the 1998 census, its population was 132.4 million and had grown at the rate of 2.6 percent per year. During the same period its urban population grew at the rate of 3.5 percent per year and was estimated at 43 million.

RURAL & URBAN POPULATION

The differences between the size of population of the urban and rural areas of Pakistan are considerable. Rural areas form 68.5 percent of the total population of Pakistan compared to 32.5 percent in urban areas. Rural areas represent the majority of the population and dominate the assemblies; and usually succeed in acquiring more funds than the urban areas in rural areas.

At present the population of less than 15 years is 45.06 percent in rural areas as compared to 40.08 percent in urban areas. However, the growth rate of rural areas is 2.2 percent per year compared to the growth rate of urban areas at 3.5 percent per year, showing an increase in the number of urban centers.

HOUSING TRENDS

According to latest estimates, about seven million people lived in katchi abadis (squatter settlements) and another 12 million in settlements created out of the informal subdivisions of agricultural land, ecologically unsafe areas or waste lands on the city fringes. The conditions in the two types of settlements are similar, except that 70 percent of katchi abadis are earmarked for regularization. The estimated current figure for houses in informal settlements in urban areas would be 3.5 million with a population of 24.5 million. Thus about 57 percent of the urban population of Pakistan lives in informal settlements.

DEMOGRAPHIC & STATISTICAL FACTS OF KARACHI

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

Before the enactment of the Sindh Local Government Ordinance-2001 (SLGO) which instituted the devolution plan for local governance, Karachi was divided in to five districts. Each district had a district council. The Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) was the parent institution of these district councils. As a result of the devolution plan, Karachi is now a city district. It is divided into 18 towns and 178 union councils (UCs). Each town and UC has its own Nazim and Naib Nazims (Mayor /Deputy Mayor). The district has its Nazim and Naib Nazims. There are indirect elections to choose the Nazim and Naib Nazims through elected councilors.

DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS

Karachi is the only port and largest city of Pakistan. According to 1998 census, it accommodated a population of approximately 10 million; spread over 3,527 square kilometers metropolitan area forming the Karachi Division.

During the period from 1951 to 1972, the population of Karachi increased by almost 200% percent. Karachi's population increased from 3.6 million in 1972 to 7.4 million in 1987 or by 106.38 percent. It is estimated that 50 percent of this increase was due to rural-urban and urban-urban migration within Pakistan. From 1981 to 1998 the percentage of migrants coming to the city has decreased from 32.62 to 21.95. Currently an estimated 3,50,000 persons are added to the city every year. In the early years of independence migration played an important role in the growth of the city.

LAND USE TRENDS

The present area of Karachi Division is 3,527 sq. km. At the current rate of urban land conversion of about 6,780 acres per year, Karachi will outstrip its present divisional boundaries in the coming few years. Of the nearly 400,000 acres of the 425,000 acres that make up Karachi's metropolitan area, and account for 94 per cent of all land in the division, are in some form of public ownership. However, KDA owns only 29.3 per cent of land and the remaining is distributed amongst various provincial and federal agencies. This creates a conflict of interest and results in hindrances in the development and administration of the city. Federal level agencies, especially the armed forces, are exempt from many regulation and do not adhere to city master planning.

Land is an important issue in Karachi. There is a constant struggle to acquire and develop land through legal or illegal means. A powerful nexus between formal sector developers, politicians and bureaucrats, manages not only to acquire all vacant land, but even land that has been set aside for recreational and amenity purposes. In addition to formal sector manipulations related to land, there is also a lot of informal development. Around 1,000 acres of government land is encroached upon for developing katchi abadis each year. Net earnings from this land are in the neighbourhood of Rs. 300 million per year. A large number of illegal multi-storied buildings are also constructed in the planned areas and, according to the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) these would number about 200 per year and are mostly in the inner city and its low-income extensions.

HOUSING CONDITIONS

Karachi's housing needs are estimated at 80,000 units per year. Approximately, 26,700 units are produced through the formal sector and the remaining demand-supply gap is filled through the development of squatter settlements (katchi abadis), informal sub division of agricultural land, ecologically unsafe areas or waste lands within or on the city fringe and the densification of the low income inner city areas classified as slums.

According to estimates, the number of residents in katchi abadis has almost doubled from 356,000 to 680,000 between 1980's to 2000. This has raised the percentage of katchi abadis to almost 55 percent of the total housing stock in the city. However, increase in the number of katchi abadis does not in any way reflect on the quality of housing which has been improving.

EVICTIONS

According to the estimates of Karachi, a total of 16,470 houses have been bulldozed as a result of evictions since 1992. Burning of settlements has also increased over the years. The two main reasons for this being; one, natural and the other planned. Investigations show that all incidents have occurred in settlements whose land was under threat by land grabbers and developers.

MEGA HOUSING PROJECTS IN KARACHI

'NEW DUBAI' IN KARACHI

Spadework has started to bring up a new city, to be named as "New Dubai" along the Northern Bypass, to make one of the world's most modern cities. In order to achieve best results, foreign consultants will be employed in all aspects of housing and infrastructure for the new planned city. The proposal is being viewed with greater interest to create a ribbon shaped development astride Northern Bypass over its 46 km length. This city will be totally insulated from north (Balochistan) and Karachi.

CRESCENT BAY

Emaar Properties announced three real estate developments in the cities of Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan. The projects, with a total investment of AED 8.8 billion (US$2.4 billion), will include a series of master planned communities that will set new benchmarks in commercial, residential and retail property within Pakistan. Karachi will be home to Crescent Bay, a 75-acre development featuring high and mid-rise towers for residential and commercial use, a shopping centre and five-star beachfront hotel. The towers will contain approximately 4,000 residential apartments. Crescent Bay, located within Karachi's DHA Phase 8 and in close proximity to the DHA Golf Course, will also offer individual architectural styles for each tower within the development. All three projects are expected to be completed in the next four to five years.

CREEK TOWERS

A new concept of living is Creek Towers. These spectacular high rise waterfront towers directly overlook the waters of Gizri Creek. The dynamic two building complex, offers unparalleled views of the Arabian Sea, Karachi Creek and Mangroues, and the DHA Golf Course. Being part of Creek Towers living means more than just living in a dream home perched high. It establishes residents as a member of a community of unparalleled distinction, in the most prestigious part of Karachi.

SKY SCRAPPER

One of the tallest buildings of the world will be constructed in Karachi - project pertaining to a beach and island's development; it would be a mega project of international standard. Land for the project would be reclaimed from the sea and the centre of the project would be 1,947-foot high building. The project will not affect the environment. There could be many good reasons to build such a grand project.

RECOMMENDATION

No doubt foreign direct investment, housing projects, real estate projects and other private housing societies are striving hard to prove a major source of curtailing housing problem in Karachi. But the requirement at the moment is to strengthen the standard of living of the major population of Karachi that is suffering the ultimate need of a shelter in the shape of home. Mega projects and huge commercial and housing projects are again creating a hidden concentration of wealth and resources whereas for bringing an inner and solid change the requirement is to upgrade the population in majority (rural and poor). Therefore, the major real estate developers will have to concentrate on the uncultivated source of income which is in the shape of providing housing facility to the rural and lower urban population of Karachi.

The role of the administration should be towards the solution of the ultimate basic needs of the people including housing and sanitation. Mega projects are a major source of revenue for the people in terms of job opportunities but if the direction of construction be devised for poor urban population then the results may be different.

A complete hierarchy of Administration and members of National Assembly, Provincial Assembly, district Nazims, Naib Nazims etc. should plan their resources towards the basic needs of the people, then these sky scrappers may be an attraction for all.

EMAAR

Emaar Properties announced three real estate developments in the cities of Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan. The projects, with a total investment of AED 8.8 billion (US$2.4 billion), will include a series of master planned communities that will set new benchmarks in commercial, residential and retail property within Pakistan.

The country's capital, Islamabad, is home to two Emaar Pakistan projects: the Highlands and Canyon Views. With 1,500 acres between them the Islamabad communities offer 9,000 luxury single-family town homes and villas in a range of architectural styles with easy access to amenities including retail centres, community club houses, parks, lakes, schools and mosques.

Karachi will be home to Crescent Bay, a 75-acre development featuring high and mid-rise towers for residential and commercial use, a shopping centre and five-star beachfront hotel. The towers will contain approximately 4,000 residential apartments.

Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman Emaar Properties, said Pakistan represented a vital link in Emaar's global and regional plans. "These current projects are only a small and initial part of our commitment to providing world-class living and infrastructure in Pakistan," Alabbar said.

He added: "Pakistan will play an important role in the development of Emaar's reputation in Asia, and remains one of our most significant commitments outside the UAE."

The Highlands development is located within the Defense Housing Authority Islamabad (DHAI) Phase 1 extension and Canyon Views within the DHAI Phase 2 extension. Offering approximately 50 separate community districts with its own individual identity, a spectrum of architectural styles ranging from Mediterranean, Tuscan, Mughal, Arabic and Spanish, will be available to select from.

Crescent Bay, located within Karachi's DHA Phase 8 and in close proximity to the DHA Golf Course, will also offer individual architectural styles for each tower within the development. All three projects are expected to be completed in the next four to five years.

Mohammed Al Falasi, Managing Director of Emaar Pakistan said: "Our goal is to create a series of exciting developments that set new standards for commercial and residential property. Highlands, Canyon Views and Crescent Bay will set these standards and are the first of many projects that we have planned for other cities in Pakistan, which we will be developing over the next few years."

World famous master planners on the Crescent Bay development are Halcrow International with architects Norr and Holford while master planners WATG, RNL and JZMK are working on Highlands and Canyon Views projects.

Architects for the Islamabad projects are Mazen N. Issa, Alexandra Hayes, Bassenian Lagoni and Saunders & Wiant. The master planners have brought inspiration from the world's best designed residential communities to Pakistan offering another Emaar signature landmark to the region.

Al Falasi added: "Furthermore, we are aiming to preserve 20 per cent of the project area as green space, offering a haven of peace and natural beauty in the middle of a thriving community."

Emaar's innovative offering of self-contained, amenities-rich communities have created lifestyle options that have been the first choice for many residents around the world. The integration of schools, health facilities, parks, landscaped grounds and retail centres into master-planned golf, equestrian and marina-themed lifestyles has proved a winning combination.

With joint ventures and projects covering Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and India, Emaar is taking its winning formula first conceived in its home base Dubai to the rest of the world.