‘Pressure from organized and knowledgeable groups at the grassroots. Government officials and agencies respond positively if research findings and development alternatives are supported by large scale on-site work and public involvement.’ Arif Hassan
Vasda Lahore is a forum to share ideas and promote initiatives to help Lahore grow as a democratic, egalitarian and sustainable city.
A monthly meeting of the forum is held on Saturday evening from 8-10pm at Lahore Chitrkar. The next lecture of a monthly series of presentations, discussions and activity sessions about the Lahore city is on walled city Lahore, Mochi gate by Rabia Ezdi.
Vasda Lahore has planned to organize an exhibition 'Vasda Lhore' dedicated to living city of Lahore, aimed at exploring, expressing, inventing and unfolding the spirit and form of the city. The city is not merely a static, spatial, functional, geographical place but a breathing, moving, pulsating being, teeming with stories and songs, imagination, wisdom, magic and myth. It is a rich layered site of our shared living. The project is purposed at creating urban knowledge; initiating active interaction with and dialog about the city and its future.The exhibition will include photographs, audio/Video recordings and Text about the city. We look forward to developing a thorough, interesting, comprehensive collection with your contributions. A panel of designers and artists will select and arrange the final exhibition in collaboration with the contributors.
A blog of the exhibition process and final selections is available on the web.
Vasda Lahore has started a series of walks around Lahore. These walks are held on alternate Sundays and everyone is welcome to participate. The venue is announced a few days in advance on the website and through e-mail. It is hoped that participants will not only benefit us individually but create a shared understanding of the city. Suggestions for walk venues are welcome.
1. The citizens lack a voice in the planning process in the given development paradigm, their welfare and needs fail to be the real objective of the development efforts. Even when recognized in principle there is practically no public hearing/transparency in the mega city projects.
2. City planning in Lahore is increasingly dominated by a bias in favour of motor cars, entertainment controlled by multinationals, profit oriented health-care and educational opportunities for the citizens. Diversity which gives life to the city is fast disappearing with less multi-class neighborhoods, no support for the survival of cultural activities without sponsorship of multinationals, less multi-class educational institutions and public arenas. Lack of public transport also contributes to class separation and ghettoization of areas.
3. Environmental degradation, the air, water, noise, local flora and fauna is under stress. Tree cutting, encroachment of open area, traffic etc. are not only making city living harsh but are actually life threatening. The Ravi chokes at the edge of the city and the increased hard surfacing prevents recharging of the aquifer. Local trees are being replaced by imported varieties without concern for their impact.
4. Mega-projects and their impact on the city and its inhabitants especially in the Roads and Transport sector, such as Ring Road, LRT need to be seriously evaluated for efficacy and potential damage it can cause to the city environment and living quality.
5. WASA privatization and issues of water supply/management/contamination.
6. No comprehensive and effective policy for heritage conservation. No proper listing of heritage areas…we are still living with the Special Premises Act. Most of the areas of nineteenth century and early twentieth century Lahore are disappearing rapidly….they have urban typologies, which are more relevant for preservation than individual buildings Krishen Nagar, Purani Anarkali, Gowalmandi, Mayo Gardens etc. Evacuee trust properties are disappearing under encroachments….part of Lahore’s multi-religious historical heritage. E.g. Baoli bagh inside walled city, the baoli on Queens Road, Bhaddar Kali temple complex.
7. There is danger of gentrification of the walled city in the face of the latest interest and financial input of the World Bank for the walled city development. The city needs to concentrate on improving things for people already there - by providing training, education and more suitable jobs.
5. Link to short film by Dani on some Lahore Issues