AT a time when the country’s population is expanding at a rapid pace and housing societies are cropping up in all the major cities to cope with increased demands for houses, it is really important that proper planning is done to meet the residential demand in such a manner that it has least impact on our environment and also sufficient land remains available for agriculture purposes in order to ensure food security.
Without any exaggeration, the country is lucky to have a Prime Minister who has a vision with futuristic approach as ever since assumption of power he has given an unprecedented focus to greener landscape and development of agriculture sector on modern lines. ‘Green and Clean Pakistan’ programme is just one example of it. Also in a tweet on Saturday, PM Imran Khan shared his ideas as how future cities in Pakistan would look like. Alluding to environmental challenges faced by the country, he said building structures should rise vertically as this will ensure that we have ample space for agriculture purposes as well as greenery around us by planting more trees. He said avoiding large sprawling built-up areas would also allow easier provision of amenities to the urban dwellers. To achieve the objective, he said the government is in the process of making laws to ensure that buildings are not only constructed as per international safety standards but also go as high as in other cities across the world.
Indeed in big populated countries, high-rise buildings have been built for residential and commercial purposes. And given our population size, it is important that we also emulate similar models and that will also help the PTI government to fulfil the promise of providing five million houses to the people. While we expect that the government will complete the process of legislation to this effect at the earliest, it is also important that building codes and regulations in the whole country are implemented in letter and in spirit in order to ensure safety and security of the dwellers. In some fire incidents especially that occurred in high-rise buildings in Karachi, one saw how the building laws were clearly flouted that put people’s life at great risk. It is also important that seismic safety codes are also fully implemented besides proper system is put in place that ensures proper upkeep and maintenance of buildings so that people could live or work there with ensured safety.
The people will also have to bring a change in their mindset and attitude by preferring apartments over big palatial houses. This can be done by providing them apartments that are designed by reputed architects at reasonable rates as currently purchasing a plot and then constructing a house on it is going beyond the reach of common man. Though many people laughed over chicken and egg policy, yet it is really important that such economic activity is generated in rural areas and small towns that stop migration of people to big urban centres. Undoubtedly, a holistic and scientific approach is required to build and remodel our cities and other infrastructure so that our eco system becomes human friendly.