Upgradation of the Walled City, Lahore

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  • Topic: Pakistan, Walled City of Lahore, Lahore
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  • Published : November 27, 2011
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Assignment : Up gradation of walled city LAHORE
Conservation of the Urban Fabric
Walled City of Lahore, PakistanZachary M. KronINTRODUCTIONThis case study on urban development in the province of Punjab focuses on the Pakistan Environmental Planning and Architectural Consultant's efforts to create and implement an urban conservation plan for the walled city of Lahore in the early 1980's. With a population of four million in 1992,1 this old quarter of Lahore is under tremendous pressure from commercial and industrial interests, which as yet have little regard for the historic nature of the city. In addition to these active menaces, the city is struggling to integrate new municipal services into its existent tissue without obscuring its visual character. Although few interventions have actually been achieved, several higher profile "pilot projects" have been carried out in an effort to raise public awareness of the conservation plan.CONTEXTPhysical Lahore is the capital of the province of Punjab, the most fertile area of Pakistan and chief producer of agricultural products for the country. The city is generally arid, except for two months of hot, humid monsoons, and receives less than 20 inches of rain during the course of a year.Historical The earliest credible records of the city date its establishment to around 1050 AD, and show that its existence is due to placement along the major trade route through Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The city was regularly marred by invasion, pillage, and destruction (due to its lack of geographical defenses and general overexposure) until 1525 when it was sacked and then settled by the Mogul emperor Babur. Sixty years later it became the capital of the Mogul Empire under Akbar and in 1605 the fort and city walls were expanded to the present day dimensions. From the mid-18th century until British colonial times, there was a fairly lawless period in which most of the Mogul Palaces (havelis) were razed, marking a "decrease in social discipline towards the built environment that has continued unabattingly till today."2Much of the walled fortification of the city was destroyed following the British annexation of the region in 1849, as both a defensive measure to allow the colonists to better control the populous, and as a commercial enterprise in resale of the brick for new projects. In 1864 many sections of the wall had been rebuilt. Major physical contributions of the British to the old city consisted of piped water and well systems established just outside the former walls. The building of the railroad and a station well outside of the old city set the stage for later expansion.3Social and Economic A new wave of destruction washed over the city in 1947 following the partition of British Colonial India into the Hindu majority nation of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The resulting inter-communal strife destroyed wide areas of the urban fabric, some of which was repaired by the 1952 Punjab Development of Damaged Areas Act. Many of the arriving Muslim families from India moved into the emigrating Hindu residences, although the lower land values of the old city further established the concentration of lower income groups in the city center, with wealthier families residing outside. In the 1950's an organization called the Lahore Improvement Trust attempted to instate a plan for commercial development in the old city, but these efforts were largely without effect.4Between the early 1970's and '80's, 29% of the old city population moved out.The space left by emigrants from the old city has largely been filled by commercial interests, mostly small scale manufacturers and wholesalers, many of whom have national and international clients and do not serve the local community. The advantages for commercial interests are the readily available cheap labor force among the urban poor, as well as relative anonymity, which facilitates the evasion of most national and local taxation....
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