Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology Karachi


The theme of current lecture is urban ecology. The phrase urban ecology is composed of two entirely different terms i.e. urban and ecology. The one way to understand this theme is to look at both the terms individually and then try to establish a relationship between them. Whereas; the other way to comprehend this phrase is to define it with an earlier established definition and identify its application in town planning. In the following a detailed description of this theme is given.

The term urban means town or a city; whereas; “A city is an agglomerate social organism containing a population of at least 20,000 (UN definition), in a relative density that packages a critical population mass necessary for spawning a variety of value systems, lifestyles, and power constellations. Cities are particularly receptive to, and instrumental in, creating innovation and change. With this capacity for change is introduced various kinds of dysfunctional effects, including cultural, sociological, economic, psychological, and spiritual.”[1]

The term ecology means balance in nature; it is the study of ecosystems. Ecology is derived from the GREEK word "eko" used for household and understanding “logos” meaning an understanding of the "household of life."[2]
Ecology is a synthetic & systemic study of an organism or a species and its surroundings: the basic unit of study is an ecological system or the interdependent populations in any place as they impact the ecosystems which they occupy, use, or visit.[3]
In both history & natural history, ecology is the study of how organisms depend on one another and their surroundings.[4]

If the terms urban and ecology combined together it would mean a town or city where living organisms, species of flora and fauna, communities of human beings, and survive together with interdependency and individualism within their surroundings. In other words the urban context where all kinds of people, plants, birds, and beasts exist together must live in harmony because they are interdependent and their survival with one another in cohesiveness can be termed as urban ecology.

‘Urban Ecology’ is the study of the relationships between organisms, including humans, and the particular opportunities for, and challenges to, their survival presented by cities.[5]
‘Urban Ecology’ is the study of biodiversity in areas that are densely populated by humans.[6]
‘Urban Ecology’ is the subfield of ecology which deals with the interaction of plants, animals and humans with each other and with their environment in urban or urbanizing settings.[7]

Analysis of urban settings in the context of ecosystem ecology (looking at the cycling of matter and the flow of energy through the ecosystem) hopes to result in healthier, better managed communities. Studying the factors which allow wild plants and animals to survive (and sometimes thrive) in built environments can also create more livable spaces.
Urban ecology also involves the study of the effects of urban development patterns on ecological conditions. Emphasis is also placed on planning communities with environmentally sustainable methods via design and building materials in order to promote a healthy and biodiverse urban ecosystem. Interactions between non-living factors, such as sunlight or water, and biological factors, such as plants and microbes, take place in all environments, including cities. By concentrating humans and the resources they consume, metropolitan areas alter soil drainage, water flow, and light availability.
Urban ecologists think of how architecture, such as sidewalks and rooftops, impacts the way rainwater is received and transported and the way garbage dumps and sewage plants centralize waste products. Some species of animals have been able to survive or thrive in a non-natural urban setting. These include rats, Feral Pigeons, and cockroaches.

The afforementioned description clearly spell out what urban ecology means and how it is related to urban context? There are various institutions related to urban ecology that is working at their local context across the globe. These institutions had developed their own urban models and projects to deal with their urban ecology. Furthermore; they also developed different methodologies of work and instruments to deal with growing problems in their urban ecology. As in our local context of Karachi we (Third Year Civil Engineering Students) have started an attempt for making our city a sustainable one through research; similarly internationally there are various institutions who have initiated their own local attempts for an urban ecology.
Few of them included here for the reference of students to surf these websites and learn:


[8] Ibid

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology

There are variety of survey & mapping techniques to be learned by a civil engineer. Though; some of these survey and mapping techniques are already known to a civil engineer. However it is necessary to understand how different authors explained these techniques, because the survey & mapping techniques are always subject to refinement during the course of development & planning. Therefore let us look at different authors how they perceived the issue of survey & mapping.

At first let us discuss what Mr. John RatCliffe, defined about survey preparation & techniques of analysis in his book “An Introduction to Town & country planning”. He says that; “In order understand the society, for which planning is to be done, to identify the nexus of needs & problems, to have comprehensive understanding of city elements & their effect upon each other, to formulate policies & choose between them or adjust them in practice; a town planner must be equipped with variety of tools & techniques. Because the planning is based upon knowledge; the knowledge depends upon information & information depends upon survey. Now the survey of many components from the built and natural environment is the main concern in this respect”. Here the big question is that, what are those many components for which the survey is required? According to Mr. RatCliffe; at first we survey about physical characteristics, then utilities, then population, then employment, then housing, then shopping, then education, then leisure & recreation, then movement & management, & finally for evaluation. In this way he defined eleven types of surveys. Now the big question is that, what are the available sources of information to carry out these surveys? Ideally the first hand information should be collected by specifically designed survey forms related to specific problems in a precise time. However due to ever existing constraints of time & money this is not always possible.

So what do we do in such situation?
In that case the researchers, the student concerned with thesis or project work are usually compelled to depend on existing sources of information. The existing sources of information are mostly, published statistics by the government institutions. There are also other information database such as individual researches & surveys carried out by some non governmental institutions. Now the information sources are various, such as each state department & ministry has the facts & figures. Then there is census of population, housing statistics. The department of trade & industry will have census of distribution & census of production.

Then there are different library sources, currently there is internet. Then there are professional journals & researches, business & economic reviews. Then there are different resource centers available such as Urban Resource Center (URC) in Karachi. Finally there are some international institutions which keep the records and statistics of major countries and their urban centers. These include United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Band for Development, Asian Development Bank & other United Nation institutions.

Mr. G K Hiraskar defined in his book Town planning that; “Survey means collection of data & information through site visit & personal observations.” Similarly there is a principle developed by Sir Patrick Geddes (one of the pioneer of modern town planning) that “always survey before plan”. The survey leads us to information or knowledge which is used by all planners to prepare a mind map of the region before drawing a plan of town. The collected data & information through survey is analyzed & presented in the form maps, charts, tables & models. At present there emerged digital maps, aerial photography & computerized models of surveys which have enhanced the understanding of planners with accurate information of the site. However there are certain ground realities which can only be understood through personal site visit by the planners. This survey of site before planning is also known as “diagnosis before the treatment” or diagnosis approach of planners that lead them to make correct decisions about the city.

Types of Survey:
Mr. G. K. Hiraskar also classified surveys in four broad types.
i) Towner city survey
ii) Regional survey
iii) National survey
iv) Civic survey

Town Surveys:
These surveys are conducted to prepare a base map for the Town planning scheme. Basically these surveys are of three types; i.e.
i) Physical survey
ii) Social survey and
iii) Economic survey

Physical survey:
These are conducted in two ways i.e. through land survey and aerial survey. In physical survey four types of information or data are collected.
i) Natural Features survey i.e. location in respect to existing towns & region, topography & soil conditions, climatology etc.
ii) Land Use survey i.e. use of land for residential, commercial, or social purposes, public & semi public spaces, open spaces, transportation networks, agriculture, water elements, vacant lands & other uses.
iii) Building Conditions survey i.e. buildings are in very good, good, poor, or in bad condition?
iv) Communications survey i.e. highways, roads and its network & railway junctions and its network, availability of parking facilities in the city, origin & destination (O&D) survey, accidents survey; and future trends of traffic surveys etc.

Social survey:
These are of three kinds, i.e. I) Population II) Housing and III) Community Facilities
i) Population: Trends in population growth for last 50 years, present population characteristics, future population growth by considering survival, urban Migration & development of new industries. Demographic survey i.e. classification of population & town density.
ii) Housing: Housing stock, per annum need, current housing conditions, accommodation density, building height, material use & tenancy status, rented or owned.
iii) Community facilities: Education, health & recreation

Economic survey:
Occupational conditions, survey of industries, survey of commerce, financial position of local authorities, utility services.

Regional survey:
The larger scale surveys carried out in different town & villages to obtain general information about their physical, economic & social conditions is termed as regional survey. These regional investigations are carried out to develop whole region in a coherent manner. These include regional transport, highways & regional water supply system.

National survey:
This survey is conducted at national level which includes different regions. This survey is conducted to obtain information about, natural resources, potential for locating industries, fixing railways alignment, hydroelectric works etc.

Civic survey or Socio-Economic survey:
This is local level small scale survey conducted for redevelopment scheme, slum improvement scheme and master plan development. The socio-economic survey is the foundation stone of planning structure. Because it is the detailed house to house survey which helps a town planner to diagnose the core problems & issues to develop its remedies through planning. There are eleven types of aspect covered in socio-economic survey.
i) Physical Features:
ii) Communication:
iii) Traffic Problems:
iv) Open Spaces:
v) Industrial Survey:
vi) Housing Survey:
vii) Population:
viii) Health Conditions:
ix) Landscape Survey:
x) Land-cultivation:
xi) Public Services:
The socioeconomic survey is the key survey and foundation stone of Town Planning, in which a Town is divided into union councils or wards & blocks, and then each block further subdivided into streets and each street has number of houses. This survey is conducted through a survey Performa or questionnaire. The sample Performa for socioeconomic survey is as follows:


i) Surveyor’s name: ____________
ii) Supervisor’s name:___________
iii) Ward number: _____________
iv) Block number: _____________
v) Street number: ____________
vi) Unit number: _____________
vii) Date of survey: ___________

There are five issues addressed in a socio-economic survey:

i) Housing condition:
House Number: _____________
Address: __________________
House Conditions:
Poor _________
Good _________
Very Good _____
Number of Floors: ___________
Age of house: _______________
Plot area: __________________
Tenancy Status:
Rented ______
Owned ______
Rent per month ________

ii) Family Structure:
Total family members: __ Male __ Female __
Literacy of Male & Female: _____________
Marital status: ______________________
School going children __________
College going children __________
Age groups:
5 & below____
5-10 _______
10-25 ______
25-50 ______
50 & above ___

iii) Economic characteristics:
Total number of Earning Members _____
Occupations _______________
Monthly Income_____________
Expenditure ________________
Savings ___________________
Mode of Transport ___________

iv) Community Facilities:
Nurseries ______
Primary Schools _______
Secondary Schools _______
College ______
Shopping Center _________
Park and Open Space _________
Club Theaters _________
Religious Building _________
Post Office _________
Police Station _________
Dispensary ___________
Clinic ___________
Hospital _________
Any Other _________
(In each category find out the Distance from Residence)

v) Utility Services:

Water Supply _____
Electricity _____
Gas _____
Telephone _____
Water Closet ______
(In each category find out the type of connection as Legal, Illegal, Private, Public etc)

Remarks: ____________________

Friday, February 20, 2009




Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


In order to comprehend the legal and administrative problems in town planning at first it is important to understand the terms ‘Legal’ and ‘Administrative’. The term legal mean “established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules”[1]. Thus; legal problems in town planning must be either related to law or official accepted rules of town planning. Here the question arises that in what context the legal problems may be addressed? Because legal problems in town planning; may vary in each context and urban setting. Similarly the term administrative mean “of or relating to or responsible for administration”[2]. Therefore; administrative problems in town planning must be related to administration of a town. Now; in order to understand the legal and administrative problems in town planning one must have a thorough understanding about the Law and Administration of a town. On the other hand the knowledge about urban problems may also be the way to learn legal and administrative problems in an urban context.

What is a Law?
Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as the foremost social mediator in relations between people. Law governs a wide variety of social activities. All legal systems deal with similar issues and behaviors, but each country categorizes and identifies its legal standards and principals in different ways. A common distinction is that between "public law" (a term related closely to the state, and including constitutional, administrative and criminal law), and "private law" (which covers contract and property). In civil law systems, contract fall under a general law of obligations, while trusts law is dealt with international conventions. Law spreads far beyond the core subjects into virtually every area of life. Three categories are of importance here i.e. Law and society, Law and commerce, Law and regulation. Law and society include Labour law, Civil rights and Human rights law, Immigration and nationality law, Social security law and Family law. Law and commerce include Commercial law, Admiralty law and the Law of the Sea, Company law and Intellectual property law. Law and regulation include Tax law, Banking law, Competition law, Consumer law and Environmental law. Regulation deals with the provision of public services and utilities. Especially since privatisation became popular private companies doing the jobs previously controlled by government; energy, gas telecomm and water are regulated industries.[3]

What is an Administration?
The term administration, as used in the context of government, differs according to jurisdiction.[4] In business, administration consists of the performance or management of business operations and thus the making or implementing of major decisions. Administration can be defined as the universal process of organizing people and resources efficiently so as to direct activities toward common goals and objectives.[5]

What is Public Administration?
Public administration can be broadly described as the development, implementation and study of branches of government policy. The pursuit of the public good by enhancing civil society and social justice is the ultimate goal of the field.[6]

What are Urban Problems? [7]
Urban problems remain similar worldwide. The United Nations Development Programme announced on 28 July 1997 that unemployment remains the world's number one urban problem, according to a survey of mayors of cities from around the world.

The purposes of the survey was to identify issues and severity of urban problems, to identify areas where cities are experiencing some successes, and to establish a baseline for future more systematized surveys to help the United Nations better understand trends, needs and opportunities.

More than half of the world's population now lives in cities and towns rather than in rural areas. Urban problems and their solutions, therefore, now on top the world's agenda.

The UNDP survey of 14 categories of problems and the percentages of mayors identifying them as "severe" are as follows:

  1. Unemployment-----------------------------52.0%
  2. Insufficient solid waste disposal -------------42.0%
  3. Urban poverty------------------------------41.6%
  4. Inadequate housing stock-------------------33.8%
  5. Insufficient solid waste collection------------30.9%
  6. Inadequate water/sanitation facilities-------28.4%
  7. Inadequate public transportation------------26.2%
  8. Traffic congestion----------------------------22.3%
  9. Poor health services--------------------------21.5%
  10. Insufficient civil society participation----------20.9%
  11. Inadequate education services----------------18.9%
  12. Air pollution----------------------------------17.4%
  13. Urban violence/crime/personal safety--------13.5%
  14. Discrimination (women. ethnic, poor)---------6.8%

Significantly, 70 percent of the responding mayors who rank unemployment a severe problem also rank urban poverty as severe. All problems stem from poverty. Thus, development programmes should be financed to lessen unemployment and hence to urge people to work a bit harder. The education sector should be highlighted to make people understand problems related to modernisation and everything related to illiteracy. Urban problems stem from rural-to-urban migration. The best way to work with the large number of new comers is to have them share the burden of leadership by taking part in providing services.

United States:
Although, worldwide, urban violence/crime/personal safety is not ranked high among the survey's 14 categories of problems, crime is ranked severe by mayors in the United States. They say "Our biggest challenge is fighting the crime that has been caused as a result of illegal drug trafficking. Our efforts to strengthen the police department and involve neighborhoods and citizens in addressing their local problems have helped make a real difference in safety levels and decision-making processes. Success in addressing jobs, tax base growth, and road improvement and partnerships, has helped to improve the economic future of community and the quality of life of each resident." On the other hand, Canada's Mayer considers unemployment and air pollution as his city's severe problems and describes "Urban success in the new millennium will hinge on providing cities with the legislative and fiscal capacity to deal with the challenges they are facing. Cities need to forge new partnerships with senior governments to address population growth and employment, the provision of hard infrastructure and social services, and appropriate governance structures." The diversity of major problems identified among North American cities is further illustrated by the mayors of Mexico who rates traffic congestion and inadequate housing as his city's most severe problems, attributable to rural-to-urban migration, whereas insufficient solid waste disposal as that city's most severe problem.

Latin America
Illustrative of the prominence of unemployment as a severe problem in Latin America is the response of the mayor of Leon, Nicaragua. According to Leon's mayor, "Currently the municipality is facing a truly economic crisis where more than 23% of the population is experiencing extreme poverty and more than 70% of the economically active population is unemployed -- implying a clear tendency for the deterioration of health and education as well as an increase in illiteracy." Similarly, unemployment is reported to be the most severe problem of Argentina's and Ecuador's cities. Besides unemployment, the most serious problems reported for Cordoba, Argentina are traffic congestion and air pollution.

A few European mayors consider unemployment a severe problem. Traffic congestion is also cited as a serious problem. Few European cities mark urban poverty as a problem. However, Europe's cities appear to be experiencing problems related to modernization and technology. They write: "We are transforming a typical fordist town into a modern, European town. That is a slow and difficult long-term process that needs time and the participation of the whole city system. The risk of such urban transformation is to forget large parts of the population. We do not want that -- we are working to bring together development and solidarity. Relating technological to environmental concerns, Cologne's Mayor writes: "The success in establishing modern technology enterprises (e.g. media, bio- and genetic technology, environmental technologies) shows that there is a possibility for economic progress without interfering with environmental interests, for reconciling economy and ecology."

Many African mayors note the interrelatedness of unemployment and poverty, rural-to-urban migration, and the consequent negative impact on services. "The most serious problems in our city are interrelated; urban unemployment causes poverty, and because of such poverty, people are not capable of paying for services such as health and education." Similarly, Mayor of Uganda cites "the collapse of industries" as causing "urban poverty arising from unemployment." Also, the mayor of Zimbabwe laments the "low levels of industrial development leading to unemployment and poverty." Mayor of Nairobi Kenya comments: "Due to population influx into the city, adequate provision of services -- such as housing, schools, medical, water, sewerage, roads, etc. -- is a nightmare." Some African mayors’ link unemployment to problems related to idle youth. Thus, Mayor of Bobo-Dioulasso writes: "Bobo-Dioulasso was a cleaner town in the past. Young men of Bobo-Dioulasso spend most of their time drinking tea. They don't want to work." Mayor of Banjuk Gambia adds: "Problems of drug use and rural-urban migration among our youth have increased considerably as a result of the persistent drought and unemployment, consequently causing enormous strain on the already stretched resources of the city." The city of Dakar Senegal, is undertaking a program to employ youth to improve the city. Thus, Mayor claims: "In the face of the distressing sight which is sometimes found in the city, Operation 'Be clean and make clean' has enabled the municipality to put to work all the young people, grouped in association to clean up the city of Dakar. Other than the creation of employment, this experience has the benefit of: developing a sense of citizenship, enabling participation in the management of the city, and fighting against exclusion and poverty."

Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
The mayors of both Damascus Syria and Nicosia Cyprus rank inadequate public transportation as their most serious problem. Damascus Mayor cites "all kinds of pollution" as a major problem. Nicosia's mayor adds that "Nicosia remains the only divided city in the world." The mayor of Turkey's fifth largest city, Bursa comments that its most serious problems (housing, infrastructure, employment, etc.) derive from immigration from eastern Anatolia, Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, and Albania. The mayors of both Rafah and Gaza in Palestine claim that the lack of infrastructure is their most serious problem, especially inadequate water/sanitation facilities and sewage systems. Gaza's mayor also emphasizes inadequate housing, whereas Rafah's mayor emphasizes not enough paved roads, as other serious problems.

Asia and Pacific
The city of Wuhan China has given high priority to solid waste collection and disposal as city's most severe problems. Same is the case of the cities of Baroda and Guntur in India, Nagoya of Japan, Kathmandu of Nepal, and Suva of Fiji. Suva's Mayor explains: "The Fiji land tenure system has made it very difficult for our finding an alternative site for our solid waste disposal." Mayor of Kawasaki Japan cites an "aging society and declining birth rate" as that city's most serious problem. "The sudden arrival of the aging society is a serious problem facing the whole of Japan," he comments. "It is predicted that Kawasaki's population over 65 years will double by the year 2010." Accordingly, "we must concentrate on building facilities providing care for the elderly, and find sources of workers." Likewise, Nagoya's Mayor Lists as City's number one problem as "Preparation of a care system for a rapidly aging society." Mayor of Pusan Korea claims that traffic congestion and clean water are his city's most serious problems. The mayor of Kathmandu Nepal, also cite water supply as their most serious problems and explains: "The demand for drinking water has been increasing due to the increased population and rapid urban growth. At present, the total water supply per day from ground and surface systems in the valley is limited to 60 million litres per day whereas the demand is 114 million litres per day."

The Karachi Development Authority has categorized the critical problems of Karachi as:
  1. Poor environmental conditions in slums and Katchi Abadis;
  2. An abnormal increase in population leading to quick urbanization;
  3. Health hazards owing to lack of proper water supply, sewerage, and storm water drainage;
  4. Pollution owing to industrial wastes;
  5. A defective transport system and consequent vehicle-created air pollution;
  6. The destruction of historical heritage and green areas;
  7. A haphazard location of some industries;
  8. A disparity in densities of different areas in the city;
  9. Congestion of roads and the downtown area causing, noise and pollution;
  10. A defective refuse collection and disposal system;
  11. Pollution in coastal waters causing harm to marine life; and
  12. Pollution caused by light and electronics.
Other issues may also be added, such as a disregard for architectural heritage, faceless blocks of commercial and residential buildings, and the conversion of amenity plots into speculative housing. Urban planning and development in Karachi suffer from many problems, some of which are listed below.
  1. A lack of evaluation of previous planning attempts—Planning initiatives often start anew without adequately evaluating possible merits of past plans.
  2. The incapability of the planning authorities to execute the plan—Planning in Karachi has been under the auspices of Karachi Development Authority (KDA), which does not possess any legal or administrative control on the nineteen other land development agencies of the city. Thus the capacity of Karachi Development Authority to execute the plans has been constrained.
  3. The absence of political mandate for the planning process—Planning processes have usually been under the direction of the donors or UN agencies, without enjoying the political mandate necessary for keeping open the possibility of ad hoc adjustments.
  4. Technical shortcomings in the planning process—Assumptions used in planning have often been drawn from inadequate sample surveys and obsolete physical data. Even today, Karachi does not have a comprehensive mapping base usually required for all kinds of planning and development exercises. Adding to the lack of information is the fact that data gathered by the Defense institutions are not accessible by the public.
  5. The planning authority is usually not the financing agency of the exercise—this fact has made it nearly impossible for planning agencies to execute the various components according to the outlined framework.

Karachi is in chaos, but it is inhabited not only by the prophets of doom and the merchants of gloom. There are those who care, who have—even if only in their own small way—achieved results that need appraisal, evaluation, and even propagation. Hope for the future lies in these informal efforts. In this city globally known for continued strife and turmoil, the informal sector has indeed managed to keep it alive and thriving. Even with its ever-increasing population and heterogeneous mix, the city has shown great resilience and strength to not only survive but to actually evolve its own alternate culture. Without informal initiatives, this would have been impossible to achieve.

[3] (must read)

Friday, February 13, 2009




Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


The phrase ‘Economic Resources’ means “the natural, human and capital resources that are used to produce goods and services. It is also called factors of production.”[1] In economics, factors of production (or productive inputs) are the resources employed to produce goods and services.[2] They are generally land, labor, and capital; the three groups of resources that are used to make all goods and services.[3]

The definition of economic resources as mentioned above clearly spell out that the theme economic resources is directly related to production of goods and services. In relation to production three questions are very important. What to produce? How to produce? For whom to produce? In addition it is also important to understand that why goods and resources are related to town planning and how land labour and capital are the significant elements of town planning? Whereas; it may need a further explanation regarding economics as well as urban economics so as to understand the details about economic resources, and its significance in Town Planning. Let’s try to answer all these questions in the following:

Natural, Human and Capital resources:
Materials or energy from the environment used for human needs are natural resources.[4] Human resources; is a term with which many organizations describe the combination of traditionally administrative personnel functions with performance, Employee Relations and resource planning.[5] It is the collective capabilities, experiences, potential and commitment of the organization’s board, management team, staff, and volunteers.[6] The objective of human resources is to maximize the return on investment from the organization's human capital and minimize financial risk. Capital resources are the things produced and used to produce other goods and services.[7]

Goods and Services:
In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility. We satisfy our needs and wants by buying goods and services. Goods are items you can see and touch, such as a book, a pen, a folder etc. Services are provided for you by other people, such as; doctor, dentist, haircut and eating out at restaurants.[8] Or in other words, things that are produced by a country's economy examples of goods include food; clothing, machines, and new roads, examples of services include those of doctors, teachers, merchants, tourist agents, construction workers, and government officials.[9]

What is Economics?
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics aims to explain how economies work and how economic agents interact. Economic analysis is applied throughout society, in business and finance but also in crime, education, the family, health, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, science and research. Microeconomics looks at interactions through individual markets, given scarcity and government regulation. The theory considers aggregates of quantity demanded by buyers and quantity supplied by sellers at each possible price per unit. It weaves these together to describe how the market may reach equilibrium as to price and quantity or respond to market changes over time. This is broadly termed demand-and-supply analysis. In microeconomics, production is the conversion of inputs into outputs. It is an economic process that uses resources to create a commodity that is suitable for exchange. Some economists define production broadly as all economic activity other than consumption. Public finance is the field of economics that deals with budgeting the revenues and expenditures of a public sector entity, usually government.[10] Thus; the field of economics mainly determines every policy that a government makes for development or town planning.

What is Urban Economics?[11]
Urban Economics is broadly the economic study of urban areas. As such, it involves using the tools of economics to analyze urban issues such as crime, education, public transit, housing, and local government finance. More narrowly, it is a branch of microeconomics that studies urban spatial structure and the location of households and firms. Urban economics focuses on these spatial relationships to understand the economic motivations underlying the formation, functioning, and development of cities. Urban economics is rooted in the ‘location theories’ [12] that began the process of spatial economic analysis. Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, and as all economic phenomena take place within a geographical space, urban economics focuses of the allocation of resources across space in relation to urban areas.[13]

Other branches of economics ignore the spatial aspects of decision making but urban economics focuses not only on the location decisions of firms, but also of cities themselves as cities themselves represent centers of economic activity.[14] Many spatial economic topics can be analyzed within either an urban or regional economics framework as some economic phenomena primarily affect localized urban areas while others are felt over much larger regional areas.[15]

Urban economics is divided into six related themes:

  • Market forces in the development of cities,
  • Land use within cities,
  • Urban transportation,
  • Urban problems and public policy,
  • Housing and public policy, and
  • Local government expenditures and taxes.[16]

Market Forces in the Development of Cities
Market forces in the development of cities relates to how the location decision of firms and households causes the development of cities. The nature and behavior of markets depends somewhat on their locations therefore market performance partly depends on geography.[17] If a firm locates in a geographically isolated region, their market performance will be different than a firm located in a concentrated region. The location decisions of both firms and households create cities that differ in size and economic structure. When industries cluster, like in the Silicon Valley in California, they create urban areas with dominant firms and distinct economies. By looking at location decisions of firms and households, the urban economist is able to address why cities develop where they do, why some cities are large and others small, what causes economic growth and decline, and how local governments affect urban growth.[18] Because urban economics is concerned with asking questions about the nature and workings of the economy of a city, models and techniques developed within the field are primarily designed to analyze phenomena that are confined within the limits of a single city.[19]

Land Use within Metropolitan Areas
Looking at land use within metropolitan areas, the urban economist seeks to analyze the spatial organization of activities within cities. In attempts to explain observed patterns of land use, the urban economist examines the intra-city location choices of firms and households. Considering the spatial organization of activities within cities, urban economics addresses questions in terms of what determines the price of land and why those prices vary across space, the economic forces that caused the spread of employment from the central core of cities outward, identifying land-use controls, such as zoning, and interpreting how such controls affect the urban economy.[20]

Economic Policy in Urban Areas
Economic policy is often implemented at the urban level thus economic policy is often tied to urban policy.[21] Urban problems and public policy tie into urban economics as the theme relates urban problems, such as poverty or crime, to economics by seeking to answer questions with economic guidance. For example, does the tendency for the poor to live close to one another make them even poorer?[22]

Urban Transportation and Urban Economics
Urban transportation is a theme of urban economics because it affects land-use patterns as transportation affects the relative accessibility of different sites. Issues that tie urban transportation to urban economics include the deficit that most transit authorities have, and efficiency questions about proposed transportation developments such as light-rail.[23]

Housing and Public Policy
Housing and public policy relate to urban economics as housing is a unique type of commodity. Because housing is immobile, when a household chooses a dwelling, it is also choosing a location. Urban economists analyze the location choices of households in conjunction with the market effects of housing policies.[24]

Government Expenditures and Taxes in Urban Economics
The final theme of local government expenditures and taxes relates to urban economics as it analyzes the efficiency of the fragmented local governments presiding in metropolitan areas.[25]

Conclusively for any town planning three questions as mentions above are very important. What to produce? How to produce? For whom to produce? The answer to these questions is the key factor to understand the whole dynamics of economic resources in town planning. Because the answer clearly lead us to appropriate use of economic resources.


[3] Sullivan Arthur, Steven M. Sheffrin (2003) Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 4 ISBN 0-13-063085-3
[12] Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp, Ed (2004) Urban Dynamics and Growth: Advances in Urban Economics. Elsvier Inc.
[13] Richard J. Arnott and Daniel P. McMillan, Ed (2006) ‘A Companion to Urban Economics’ Blackwell Publishing ISBN 1405106298
[14] O'Sullivan, Arthur (2003) ‘Urban Economics’ Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 0-07-248784-4
[15] McCann, Philip (2001) ‘Urban and Regional Economics’ Oxford University Press
[16] O'Sullivan, Arthur (2003) ‘Urban Economics’ Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 0-07-248784-4
[17] McCann, Philip (2001) ‘Urban and Regional Economics’ Oxford University Press
[18] O'Sullivan, Arthur (2003) ‘Urban Economics’ Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 0-07-248784-4
[19] McCann, Philip (2001) ‘Urban and Regional Economics’ Oxford University Press
[20] O'Sullivan, Arthur (2003) ‘Urban Economics’ Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 0-07-248784-4
[21] McCann, Philip (2001) ‘Urban and Regional Economics’ Oxford University Press
[22] O'Sullivan, Arthur (2003) ‘Urban Economics’ Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN 0-07-248784-4
[23] Ibid
[24] Ibid
[25] Ibid



Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


1. Introduction:
A Street is a public thoroughfare in the built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A neighbourhood or neighborhood is a geographically localised community within a larger city, town or union council. Neighbourhoods are often social communities with considerable face-to-face interaction among members.

2. Objective:
The objective of this assignment is to document the physical, social and economic characteristics and activities of the streets and neighbourhoods of our urban context of Karachi.

3. Reason for this assignment:
Some of the students in class are left alone and not a part of any group. They wanted to do an individual assignment instead of doing group work and feel that they can not clearly spell out their abilities and intellect in the group assignment. Therefore for those students who are not working with any group this individual assignment is designed so as they may individually do it in their own personal capacity.

4. Methodology:
The assignment "My Street My Neighbourhood" is very simple where a student will document the physical, social and economic conditions of his own neighbourhood. The methodology of this assignment is very easy for anyone who can draw a plan i.e. a base map and make its overlays showing physical social and economic activities in his street and neighbourhood through photographs and comments.

Step # 1: At first one has to locate his/her neighbourhood through free online available Google earth map and then save its picture and identify the boundary of his/her neighbourhood.

Step # 2: Draw or trace a base map of your neighbourhood showing all four streets around your house or appartment as well as other buildings surrounding your house. Mark or highlight your house / appartment in Red and all other buildings in light brown colour.

Step # 3: Visit all the four streets and take pictures of your neighbourhood showing the streets and buildings from any corner so as maximum view can be established. The pictures may also be taken to show the physical conditions of streets and problems in it such as water and sewerage overflow, garbage disposal, electricity, telephone, and cable wires etc Similarly document social and economic conditions such as people sitting and interacting in your street or the commercial enterprises shops in the neighbourhood, Fruit and Vegetable carts, beggars, eunuchs etc Thus; a whole day activity may be photographed.

Step # 4: Make maps overlays i.e. first a base map showing the boundary of the neighbourhood and your house / appartment in red highlight with name of streets and neighbourhood. Second map overlay showing the physical conditions and your observed problems with highlighting their location with different colours and legends. Third map overlay showing the social activities in your street with their identified space/location highlighted with different colours and legends. Fourth map overlay showing the economic activities in your street with their identified space/location highlighted with different colours and legends. Map overlay showing the Master Plan of proposed improvements in your neighbourhood.

Step # 5: Make report writing about an Introduction of your neighbourhood; it’s Location with map, observed Problems and identified issues with pictures on A-4 size paper, Reasons for those problems as observed or discussed with any elder of the neighbourhood, and proposed Recommendations for Improvements with a Master Plan. Complete the report with a Title page on A-4 Size paper and Maps maximum on A-3 Size paper. Ring bind the report and submit.

5. Submission and Deadlines:

The deadlines for each step are as follows:

Step 1: 27th February 2010
Step 2: 6th March 2010
Step 3: 20th March 2010
Step 4: 17th April 2010
Step 5: 1st May 2010

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


The theme of current lecture is Natural Resources. In the following a detailed description about natural resources is given for the understanding of students learning town planning.


Natural resources are naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified (natural) form. A commodity is generally considered a natural resource when the primary activities associated with it are extraction and purification, as opposed to creation. Thus, mining, petroleum extraction, fishing, and forestry are generally considered natural-resource industries, while agriculture is not.

The term was introduced to a broad audience by E.F. Schumacher in his 1970s book Small Is Beautiful.[1] Afterwards; different authors used this phrase for different purposes and interpreted it in their own manner. For instance in United States natural resources are described as:

“Land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, groundwater, drinking water supplies, and other such resources (including the resources of the exclusive economic zone) belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by, the United States, any state or local government or Indian tribe, or any foreign government.”[2]

Similarly other defintions are:

“Assets that are physically consumed or waste away, such as oil, minerals, gravel, and timber can be said as natural resources.”[3]
“A material source of wealth, such as timber, fresh water, or a mineral deposit, that occurs in a natural state and has economic value.[4]
“Materials found in the natural state, such as water, soil, sunshine, minerals, that are used by humans.”[5]
“Any part of the environment that species depend on for their survival can be termed as natural resources.”[6]


Natural resources are often classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. The renewable resources may be further categorized as unconditionally renewable (e.g., solar, tidal or wind energy) and conditionally renewable (e.g., fish, forest products). Conditionally renewable resources will last indefinitely if not over-exploited because that part of the resource that is used can be replaced through natural processes.[7]

Furthermore; renewable resources are generally living resources such as fish, coffee, and forests etc. which can restock (renew) themselves if they are not over harvested. Renewable resources can be used indefinitely if they are used sustainably or if not over harvested. Once renewable resources are consumed at a rate that exceeds their natural rate of replacement, the standing stock will diminish and eventually run out. The rate of sustainable use of a renewable resource is determined by the replacement rate and amount of standing stock of that particular resource. Non-living renewable natural resources include soil, as well as water, wind, tides and solar radiation.”[8]


In case of town planning the understanding of natural resources is very important. Because; the end product of any town planning exercise is the construction of new built up structures on a virgin land or in other words change of natural environment into built environment as per future needs. The other outcome of town planning is the reconstruction of the existing old built up structures or in other words transforming the built environment to suit the needs of present time. In both cases there emerge major changes and transformations in the physical appearance and character of the existing context. These changes and transformations may occur in the form of large movements of soil (sand and stones) from one place to another to be used as building material. Grubbing of natural vegetation and trees from a virgin land in a given context to be use inside buildings. Thus; these changes and transformations may cause various impacts such as change in ground water pattern, bearing capacity of soils etc.

Furthermore; the towns, cities and urban areas attracts large number of population that live and work there and consume lots of natural resources such as oil and gas. Large high rise buildings also exist in urban context that requires a lot of building material and natural resources and also become cause of urban heat islands.

Additionally in town planning many mega construction projects are made that require major changes in the ecology of land, terrains, soils, vegetation, rivers, storm water drains, coastal belt etc. This change and transformation may be carefully analyzed through Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Social Impact Assessment (SIA), Visual Impact Assessment (VIA); Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVSIA) etc. So as the town planning may be sustainable.

Initial Environmental Examination (IEE):
IEE is a preliminary attempt to evaluate environmental impacts in order to determine whether a full-scale environmental impact assessment is needed. It is also called as Initial Environmental Investigation (IEI), partial EIA or "Preliminary EIA".[9]

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):
A process by which, the consequences of planned development projects are evaluated as an integral part of planning the project. The EIA can be defined as the analysis of biological, physical, social and economic factors to determine the environmental and social consequences of a proposed development action. The goal of the EIA is to provide policy makers with the best available information in order to minimize economic costs and maximize benefits associated with a proposed development.[10]

Social Impact Assessment (SIA):
It is the component of EIA concerned with changes in the structure and functioning of social orderings. In particular the changes that a development would create in: social relationships; community (population, structure, stability etc); people’s quality and way of life; language; ritual; political/economic processes; attitudes/value. Can sometimes include health impacts.[11] "Social impact assessment includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment."[12] “This technique is a form of direct impact analysis used to assess how the costs and benefits of reforms are distributed among different stakeholders and over time. SIA is based on stakeholder analysis, and is particularly useful for disaggregating data on assets (physical, financial) and capabilities (human, organizational) into meaningful social categories. When reasonable national survey data exists, SIA uses a range of qualitative data collection tools (focus groups, semi-structured key informant interviews, ethnographic field research, stakeholder workshops to determine impacts, stakeholder preferences and priorities, and constraints on implementation. In the absence of adequate quantitative data, SIA supplements qualitative, sociological impact analysis with purposive surveys that capture direct impacts and behavioral responses to reform, or specific dimensions (e.g. time-use patterns) that affect reform outcomes.”[13]

Visual impact assessment:[14]
It is an evaluation of the visual impact of resource development proposals on forest landscape.

Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment:[15]
Landscape and visual impacts are two separate but closely related elements. ‘Landscape’ refers to the appearance of the land, including its, shape, texture and colours. It also reflects the way these components combine to create specific patterns and pictures that are distinctive to certain areas. Landscape is not just a visual, phenomenon it relies on a number of other features/influences that will have shaped its character. For example topography, geology, ecology, land management and architecture all play a part in the formation of a landscape.

The significance of resources in town planning can be further understood through a brief historical background of Town Planning in the 1900s in United Kingdom. At the turn of the century, legislation continued to improve conditions for the industrial work force.

This included

Town Planning Act 1909,
which forbade the building of back-to-back housing, symbolic of the poverty of the industrial cities, and allowed local authorities to prepare schemes of town planning

Housing Act 1919, which gave the Ministry of Health authority to approve the design of houses

Housing Act 1930, which required all slum housing to be cleared in designated improvement areas

Around this time, the Garden Cities movement was formed under the influence of Sir Ebenezer Howard, a visionary who took public health reform further by planning to build green cities on the principle that: 'by so laying out a Garden City that, as it grows, the free gifts of 'Nature fresh air, sunlight, breathing room and playing room shall be still retained in all needed abundance.' This eventually led to the New Towns movement and the New Towns Act 1946 although, by the time new towns were being built, the rise of the privately owned motor car had made much of Howard's vision unattainable.

Pressure on the countryside:
With all the new housing, the rise of the motorcar and continued industrial development, the countryside came under increasing pressure. For example, between 1919 and 1939 over four million new homes were built, the majority on green fields, and advertising hoardings sprung up unregulated across the landscape. In response to this threat, the need for planning controls to be extended to cover the countryside as well as towns was recognised and in 1926 the Council for the Preservation of Rural England was formed later renamed the Campaign to Protect Rural England. As pressure was put on the Government to take action, two important acts of Parliament were passed:

Town and Country Planning Act 1932, which was the first legislation to accept the desirability of countrywide rural planning

Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935, which was designed to prevent the sprawl of towns and cities across the countryside. 'Ribbon development' is linear development of long rows of buildings built along main roads leading out of towns

Town and country planning comes of age:
The end of the Second World War brought consensus over the need for comprehensive planning to rebuild bombed out towns and cities and to help reorganise industry. The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 introduced the basis of the system that we have today. It introduced two significant changes i.e. Local authorities now had to complete a local plan, setting out detailed policies and specific proposals for the development and use of land in a district. Land use would be controlled and planning permission would be required for development.

However some sectors, such as agriculture, were granted significant exemptions from planning controls, called permitted development rights, which still exist today. After the 1947 Act, the system continued to evolve. Important events include

1955: The national Green Belt system is put in place to prevent urban sprawl (the first Green Belts were designated around London before the Second World War

1968: County structure plans are introduced to co-ordinate and guide local plans

1988: Regional planning guidance is introduced to act as a strategic guide for county structure plans

1990: The Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The act divides planning into forward planning and development control. Forward planning is about setting out the authority's strategy for the future - through a development plan - and development control is about controlling the development that happens

1991: The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 amends the Town and Country Planning Act and introduces the plan-led system, affirming that planning applications should be decided in line with the development plan

Finally it is clearly spelled out that the understanding about natural resources is quite significant in any town planning exercise.

[13],,contentMDK:20433436~menuPK:2453409~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:490130,00.html [14]

Friday, February 6, 2009



Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


The theme of current lecture is Maps. In the following a detailed description about maps is given for the understanding of students learning town planning.

What is a map?[1]

A map is a visual representation of an area or a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes. Many maps are static two-dimensional, geometrically accurate representations of three-dimensional space, while others are dynamic or interactive, even three-dimensional. Although most commonly used to depict geography, maps may represent any space, real or imagined, without regard to context or scale.

Map Making or Cartography:[2]

Cartography or mapmaking is the study and practice of making representations of the Earth on a flat surface. Cartography combines science, aesthetics, and technical ability to create a balanced and readable representation that is capable of communicating information effectively and quickly.

History of Map Making:[3]

The earliest known map is a matter of some debate, both because the definition of "map" is not sharp and because some artifacts speculated to be maps might actually be something else. A wall painting which may depict the ancient Anatolian city of Çatalhöyük (previously known as Catal Huyuk or Çatal Hüyük) has been dated to the late 7th millennium BCE.[4]/[5] The ancient Greeks and Romans created maps beginning at latest in the 6th century BC. As early as the 700s, Arab scholars were translating the works of the Greek geographers into Arabic. In ancient China, geographical literature spans back to the 5th century BC. The oldest extant Chinese maps come from the State of Qin, dated back to the 4th century BC during the Warring States era. Early forms of cartography of India included legendary paintings; maps of locations described in Indian epic poetry, for example the Ramayana. Indian cartographic traditions also covered the locations of the Pole star, and other constellations of use. The Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, produced his medieval atlas Tabula Rogeriana in 1154. He incorporated the knowledge of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Far East gathered by Arab merchants and explorers with the information inherited from the classical geographers to create the most accurate map of the world up until his time.

It remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries.[6] In the Age of Exploration from the 15th century to the 17th century, European cartographers both copied earlier maps (some of which had been passed down for centuries) and drew their own based on explorers' observations and new surveying techniques. The invention of the magnetic compass, telescope and sextant enabled increasing accuracy. In 1492, Martin Behaim, a German cartographer, made the oldest extant globe of the Earth.[7] In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a globular world map bearing the first use of the name "America". Due to the sheer physical difficulties inherent in cartography, map-makers frequently lifted material from earlier works without giving credit to the original cartographer. By the 1700s, map-makers started to give credit to the original engraver by printing the phrase "After [the original cartographer]" on the work.[8]
In cartography, technology has continually changed in order to meet the demands of new generations of mapmakers and map users. The first maps were manually constructed with brushes and parchment and therefore varied in quality and were limited in distribution. The advent of magnetic devices, such as the compass and much later magnetic storage devices allowed for the creation of far more accurate maps and the ability to store and manipulate them digitally. In the late 20th century and early 21st century advances in electronic technology led to a new revolution in cartography. Specifically, computer hardware devices such as computer screens, plotters, printers, scanners (remote and document) and analytic stereo plotters along with visualization, image processing, spatial analysis and database software, have democratized and greatly expanded the making of maps.

Map types:[9]

In understanding basic maps, the field of cartography can be divided into two general categories: general cartography and thematic cartography. General cartography involves those maps that are constructed for a general audience and thus contain a variety of features. Thematic cartography involves maps of specific geographic themes oriented toward specific audiences. As the volume of geographic data has exploded over the last century, thematic cartography has become increasingly useful and necessary to interpret spatial, cultural and social data. An orienteering map combines both general and thematic cartography, designed for a very specific user community. A topographic map is primarily concerned with the topographic description of a place, including the use of contour lines showing elevation, Terrain or relief. A topological map is a very general type of map. It often disregards scale and detail in the interest of clarity of communicating specific route or relational information. “A topographic map is a detailed and accurate graphic representation of cultural and natural features on the ground. Topographic maps have multiple uses in the present day: any type of geographic planning or large-scale architecture; earth sciences and many other geographic disciplines which use highly detailed maps in its standard requirements.”

Maps for planning and development of urban areas:

Town Planning and allied professions have always been demanding suitable base maps as a prerequisite to any planning.[10] Maps are not new to town planners and engineers. However, preparation and use of large-scale maps, especially for urban areas, is not as good as in developed and other developing countries.

Maps are required by every Department/agency of the Provincial and Federal Governments having stake in development of urban area. Local authorities, public undertakings, service organizations require maps. However, the requirement of maps in terms of contents, quality and accuracy vary from organization to organization. Also, some organizations use maps every day while some use maps occasionally yet some others use maps once in a way. It is important to note that all the agencies aforementioned and others do not need comprehensive map, i.e. all the information in map. In the myriad of agencies involved in planning and development of towns and cities it is the agencies responsible for planning for physical development, which need maps most. Municipal authorities rank second in use of maps - comprehensive maps are required for planning and execution of works by engineering department, maps of buildings/plots for taxation and election purposes.

The institutions like urban development authorities, Local authorities - Engineering and Health Departments, Power Transmission and distribution agencies, Agencies for Urban Water Supply and Drainage system, Survey, Settlement and Land Records (City Survey) Department, Agencies for city transport system, Fire Force, Police Department - Traffic & Law and Order and Postal Department requires the maps on daily basis. Whereas; other institutions like Public Works Departments, National Highways Authority, Railways, Housing boards, Education Department, Health Department, Census Department and Election Commission requires the maps occasionally. Similarly the maps are required for different purposes. Full topographic maps at different scales are required by Urban Development Authorities for preparation/ revision of Comprehensive Development Plans, Zonal Plans (Sectoral Plans), Neighbourhood Plans, Sub-division Plans, Town Planning Schemes, etc. in the local planning area.[11]

The Scale of Maps:[12]

The scale of a map is the ratio of a single unit of distance on the map, to the equivalent distance on the ground.[13] Maps are sometimes referred to by relative descriptions of large scale or small scale. A large scale map displays objects so they appear relatively large. For example, an island displayed on a 1:10,000 map will appear larger than if displayed on a 1:100,000 map. Thus, the former is large scale. Maps with a ratio of 1:50,000 or larger (for example, 1:25,000 would be larger) are considered large scale. Maps with a ratio of 1:50,000 to 1:250,000 are considered medium scale. Any maps with a smaller scale (for example 1:500,000) are considered small scale.[14]

The scale of map to be used for a particular purpose in a project is determined as to what topographical features and what plan elements (details) are required to be shown with a certain degree of clarity on one or more sheets. Thus, to show a concept for circulation system and layout of plots in a sub-division plan (layout), in any urban area, a 1:2,000 scale map may be adequate. But, if details on plot numbers, entrance to plots, plot dimensions, centre line of roads, chamfers, asphalt, alignment of services like water, electricity and telephone, planting of trees, etc. are to be shown, maps at scale 1:1,000 would be needed. If the width of plot and roads is less than 10 m then a 1:500 scale map would be required to show all the afore cited details.
Process in planning - Best Practice:

Requirement of maps in terms of content, accuracy, scale, etc. in planning and development of urban areas can be appreciated well when the process involved in planning for physical development and implementation is known. Planning urban areas, especially metropolitan areas and cities, may have three stages, although they can vary:
  • Outline Development Plan (ODP) now re-christened as Perspective Plan, at macro (city/town) level;
  • Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) also at macro level. This can also be called Master Plan;
  • Zonal Plans for part of city/town to elaborate the details; and
  • Town Planning Schemes at micro (local) level to implement the plan.

These levels are basically to perceive, conceptualize and see details from city/ town level to part of city/town and local level. These levels naturally require maps at different scales with different content with one or fewer maps to see the area under consideration.

For instance for planning a metro rail system or a bypass for rail or road, entire metropolitan area or city as the case may be has to be on only one or two sheets for all to see the alignment at metropolitan or city level. To fine tune the alignment, to avoid insurmountable obstacles, more and more details will be needed for which maps have to be at larger and larger scales. Only important features are shown on maps at small scale. All the features would be required at detail planning. What features in base map and what elements in plan proposal need to be shown on map user (planners, public and decision makers) determine the scale(s) for maps at a particular level.
Preparation of Master Plan:

Preparation of Master Plan at Metro/city level is highly complex and needs multi- disciplinary team of experts. However, the experts who steer the work on planning are the physical planners. Before embarking on making projections for demographic aspects to estimate the land required to meet the growth during the plan horizon, several studies are carried out by physical planners apart from other discipline. Most important planning survey is the use of building and parcels of lands, not only in the existing developed area but also in the vicinity, what is called Local Planning Area.

Planning studies:

Statutes on Town and Country Planning in all the States require preparation of Existing Land Use of every plot/property. Land uses are classified broadly in to 8 main groups. Not only that, a register showing the land use of every property need to be prepared and maintained along with the existing land use map. Hard copies of maps must be as large as 1:1,000 to mark the land use in field and to prepare fair maps in office; A GIS in deed, but in hard copy form.

Another planning survey for physical aspect is structural condition survey. This survey assumes importance in old areas due for redevelopment and/or rejuvenation. Structural conditions of buildings are classified in to 4 or 5 classes: very good, good, moderate, poor and obsolete. This survey is for structures for which each and every structure must clearly be available on maps to mark the appropriate condition in the field and to prepare fair maps in office. For this purpose also maps must be at least 1:1,000 if not at 1:500. This is yet another GIS earlier to electronic era.

All these maps need to be documented for reference and record, lest they are called for in courts of law. Large-scale maps show limited area on a sheet. They need to be generalized to prepare smaller scale maps: 1:5,000, 1:10,000, 1:20,000 to depict parts of urban area or the whole urban area on one or two sheets. The principle of Part to whole be applied which is similar to preparation of smaller scale maps from survey data at larger scale. Planning studies other than Land Use and Structural Condition are for:
  • Density of population/house holds;
  • House hold survey for social, economic conditions which is a sample survey;
  • Traffic and transportation survey;
  • Problems in physical condition like congested areas, narrow roads, bottlenecks, bad junctions, low lying areas, pollution from industry, etc.

All these surveys are not aimed at each and every property and maps at small scales, say 1:5,000, 1:10,000 and 1:20,000 may suffice. Analysis of the physical aspect - Land Use and Structural Condition - and socio-economic aspects, problems in physical form, function, need to be made and results shown on small scale maps: 1:5,000, 1:10,000 and 1:20,000. After the land requirement for future growth is established, land availability has to be analyzed for suitability for development. To show the results of the analysis as thematic maps also smaller scale maps, say 1:5,000, 1:10,000 and 1:20,000, area required. Result of each of the study on separate maps (transparencies) at smaller scale (all at same scale) will be compared with one above the other (sounds like GIS in place!) to synthesis the studies and draw inference. The maps showing the results of planning studies at small scales, on one or two sheets, are the basis on which alternative plans at macro level are conceptualized.

Concept plans:

Concept plans are free hand sketches on the base of accurate maps, at smaller scale (1:10,000 or 1:20,000 depending on the planning area) on one or two sheets, to show the boundaries of land areas for different uses, arterial and lower order road system, railway system, density of population/ house holds, etc. However, boundaries of proposed land uses and road system will not have any definite geometry.

Master Plan:

After a concept or combination of two or three is accepted, Master Plan (CDP) is prepared on accurate map at larger scales, say 1:20,000 or 1:10,000 (for Metros and large cities), and 1:5,000 for others.

Format of maps for Master Plan/Planning Drawings:[15]

Town planners, Architects and Engineers convert topographical maps in to working drawings to work on. They use the ISO A Series sheet formats for their drawings. Ammonia prints of drawings on A0 to A3 have to be folded to A4 size to have title block on top to go into files, storage, used in field and sent across by mail. Planning drawings must be in Landscape format. Planning drawings at any scale for any coverage must always be on base of scientifically prepared topographical map. Planning drawings will have legend and title block column at the right hand side of sheet from top to bottom. Column width can be 100 to 175 mm. Title block must be at bottom-right corner.

The drawings of Master Plan approved by Government are statutory and need to be preserved for long time. Album form is best to the purpose. Further, drawings must be compact and handy to go in to album without folding. For this purpose, A1 size (841 x 594 mm) is best both in album and handling on desk and in field. All the drawings in the Master Plan may be to A1 size in modular form. Topographical maps at scale 1:5,000 with an 800 x 400 mm format covering 4 x 2 km (8 sq km) fits within A1size with sufficient margin at bottom for full length for legend and title block and fit in a handy album.

Preparation of Zonal Plans:

The phase of Zonal Plan is between Master Plan and detail plan. Zonal plans are enlargement of Master Plan for part of city or town or for a particular land use zone. Zonal Plan include plan document to supplement the plan (drawing). Zonal plans may show even the minor roads but may not show individual properties which are very small. Maps for Zonal Plan must be at 1:2,000 to show all the details; but neither dimensions nor all properties. Town planners’ role does not end on preparation and approval of Master Plan and Zonal Plan at small scale to remain as wall maps for adoration. His role includes translating Master Plan/Zonal Plan in to Action Area Plans.

Preparation of Area Plan:

Area plans are action plans to implement the proposals in Master Plan. It may be for extension of city/town or rejuvenation or redevelopment of old and blighted areas. Master Plan is the basis for Area Planning. Maps for Area Plan start at the scale of Master Plan (1:5,000) to delineate the area for planning. Site plan at scale 1:1,000 will be required with additional survey data - cadastral boundary and topography and service cadastre. Maps may be in modular form. But, to see the concept (Master Plan content) for the whole area on one sheet site plan has to be at smaller scale. The Master Plan may be fine tuned on the accurate site plan.

Draft details plan, keeping the Master Plan concept as it is or with modifications, is prepared on a large scale, say 1:2,000, to show all the details in the plan - plots with numbers, roads, road elements like carriage way, centre line, junction details, plot dimensions, even entrance to plots, etc. Details plans may be in modular form. After the Draft Plan is approved detailed plan is finalized on maps at scale 1:1,000 to show all details and dimensions. Dimensions are also indicated to help setting-out and to prepare engineering designs. But, Plan is not fit for allotment of plots and for development. Physical planner’s responsibilities do not end after preparation of Master Plan at small scale. Physical planner must co-ordinate development as well not only organizing and overseeing setting-out of his plan on ground but also there after.


Finally it is quite clearly spelled out that the understanding about maps is very significant and a prerequisite for the person involved in any town planning exercise.


[4] Robert Kunzig (1999). "A Tale of two obsessed archeologists, one ancient city, and nagging doubts about whether science can ever hope to reveal the past" Discover Magazine, May 1999. From
[5] Stephanie Meece (2006). "A bird’s eye view - of a leopard’s spots The Çatalhöyük ‘map’ and the development of cartographic representation in prehistory" Anatolian Studies, 56:1-16 From
[6] S. P. Scott (1904), History of the Moorish Empire, pp. 461-2 From
[10] Prabhakar Misra (2001) “The Changing Frame of Town Planning “ From
[11] L. R. Rudraiah (2003) “Maps for planning and development of urban areas” published in proceedings Map India Conference 2003 From: