Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

The fast growing megacity Karachi as a frontier of environmental challenges: Urbanization and contemporary urbanism issues

  Salman Qureshi  
Department of Geography and Geology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, Salzburg 5020, Austria. Department of Geography, University of Karachi, University Road, Karachi 75270, Pakistan.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 September 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010



The megacity Karachi, as a globalized complex, is the business capital of Pakistan and had been the federal capital until 1958. It is one of the most important cities of the world in terms of population, economic potential and geo-strategic location. A growing body of infrastructural development during this decade has thoroughly changed the landscape of the city. The recent development pattern proclaims it as one of the most fashionable and futuristic global city. On one side, it accommodates more than 539 squatter settlements and at the same time, the sky scrapers in the city serves as business and technological parks for the country as a whole. Several researches, supporting authorities and scientists, are focusing on megacities as unique ecosystems worldwide. Unfortunately, Karachi seems abortive in attracting the focus of the scientific community. This paper aims to present a synoptic view of this city by highlighting the contemporary urbanism issues like urbanization trend, environmental quality (physical and built), socio-cultural imbalance, economic settings and urban planning and it is further substantiated with an overview of geography and administrative skeleton. The rebirth of the city’s landscape (after the administrative devolution in 2001) has been discussed discretely. An effort has been made to represent explicit urban indicators which could assist to have a generalized perception about the important elements and characteristics of the city. However, a major approach is to underline the sensitivity of Karachi as a challenge for environmental and urban planning and an acute opportunity of research, where the discussion embarks on the requirement of thorough transdisciplinary approaches to study such urban systems.


Key words: Sindh, Pakistan, megacity, sustainable development, mega urbanization, urban regeneration, urbanism.