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UD's School of Public Policy and Administration held a research seminar
on the challenges presented by rapid urbanization in Pakistan.
8:37 a.m., Dec. 16, 2015--The University of Delaware School of
Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) hosted a research seminar last
month on the challenges presented by rapid urbanization in Pakistan.
The seminar was moderated by SPPA doctoral student Muhammad Naveed Iftikhar and featured experts from the U.S. and Pakistan.
The experts' briefings, delivered both in person and by video link
from Pakistan, were followed by a lively and enlightening question and
The seminar began with a keynote address by Michael Kugelman, senior
associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for International
Scholars and editor of the recent book Pakistan's Runaway Urbanization: What Can Be Done?
Pakistan is urbanizing at an annual rate of 3 percent, the fastest
pace in South Asia, and experiencing the development of a number of
Karachis population grew 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, the
largest increase of any city in the world, and is predicted to increase
another 50 percent to 19 million by 2025. Lahores population will
increase from 7 to 10 million.
Further, the number of Pakistani cities with populations between half
a million and a million will have risen from two in 2000 to 11.
Kugelman said urbanization is both promising and problematic for
Pakistan. On the one hand, it could boost the countrys sagging economy.
On the other hand, urbanization will put an immense burden on an
already stressed labor market and severely test the states ability to
provide basic services including housing, transport, education, jobs,
health care, water and energy to its urban population.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Participating by video link from Pakistan, Nadeem Javaid, chief
economist at Pakistan's national planning commission, and Vaqar Ahmed,
deputy executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI), contributed their insights about steps already being
taken and additional steps required to manage these challenges
effectively and take advantage of the opportunities they present.
Javaid shared the salient features of the government's Vision 2025
plan and other efforts of federal and provincial governments to deal
with the urbanization challenge.
He pointed out that half of the countrys population is younger than
30 years, which presents significant opportunities for development as
well as challenges.
Job creation in Pakistan's cities is crucial, Javaid noted, in order
to absorb existing residents and new entrants in the labor force. He
also highlighted Pakistan's efforts to design and implement
evidence-based policies through research on behavioral aspects of
urbanization and city management in the country and planned improvement
in data availability and quality through initiatives that include
enhancements planned for the country's next census.
Ahmed's remarks focused on the role and perspective of civil society
regarding urban policy and management. He emphasized the need to promote
domestic commerce and make cities inclusive for everyone in Pakistan.
Ahmed also highlighted the ongoing role of SDPI in providing
research, advocacy and policy support for addressing urbanization and
other key economic, social and political challenges in Pakistan.
Following the presentations, discussion among the presenters and
other seminar participants highlighted the usefulness of comparative
analysis and cross-national sharing of policy research and experiences.
For instance, several participants had recently returned from a study
trip led by SPPA professor Jonathan Justice that examined urban
management in Seoul, Korea, a global megacity that experienced the
challenges and opportunities of very rapid growth in the late 20th
century before stabilizing at a population of about 10 million.
Although some details of context differ, there are opportunities for
cooperative exchange of strategies and lessons learned from Korea's and
Seoul's ultimately successful responses to the challenge, particularly
given that urbanization is one of the least researched areas in
Other insights contributed by UD students and faculty identified the
importance of engaging in a range of both comparative and country-based
analyses of urbanization in historical and geographic contexts beyond a
narrow focus on North American and European cases.
As one SPPA student pointed out, it is important to distinguish
between aspects of urban life and development that are relatively
generic and so readily facilitate adoption of imported solutions and
those that reflect unique historical and spatial characteristics and
meanings, such as the role of South African cities in the development
and maintenance of the former apartheid system there.
The conversation was stimulating and continued vigorously until the day's available time ran out.
Given the strength of the intellectual connections newly formed as
well as reaffirmed in this seminar, a representative said SPPA expects
continuing engagement among participants going forward. This will afford
opportunities for faculty, students, and urban-management practitioners
to continue sharing insights and putting them to work in real-world
A video of the seminar is available online.
Copies of Pakistan's Runaway Urbanization can be obtained from the Wilson Center.
SPPA's ongoing seminar series includes three to four research
presentations each semester by SPPA faculty, staff and students, as well
as selected experts from UD and beyond. Continuing the mission of SPPA
to bring scholarly research and knowledge to bear on real-world problems
of urban affairs and public policy, the seminars include a wide range
of academic as well as applied research. SPPA welcomes participants from
throughout the UD and Delaware communities. For more information about
the series, contact Justice at email@example.com.
Originally published by UDaily.