Rawalpindi Gets Another Miyawaki Urban Forest


Update (Nov. 5, 2021): Provincial Minister of Punjab for Housing Asad Khokhar recently planted a sapling at Allama Iqbal Park and inaugurated a Miyawaki urban forest in Rawalpindi. Many other key officials from the city’s Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) and concerned government institutions also attended the inauguration ceremony and planted saplings in the newly introduced urban forest.

While talking to the media at the ceremony, Asad Khokhar said that federal and provincial governments are working together on various types of green initiatives to create a healthier and greener environment for future generations.

The provincial minister further revealed that around 20 urban forest projects are currently underway in different parts of Rawalpindi. He also said that the presence of urban forests ensures food availability (and shelter) for different bird species living within metropolitan areas.

Update (Nov. 1, 2021): President of Pakistan has recently inaugurated Jinnah Urban Forest and Pakistan’s first-ever Islamic Garden in Karachi. The horticulture project is located right next to the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The concept of this all-new Islamic Garden in Karachi has been inspired by the Islamic Botanic Garden in Sharjah. It has been planted, looked after, and maintained by Shaukat Omari, an 80-year-old retired civil engineer.

Similar to the park in Sharjah, this Islamic Garden features different types of plants and trees that have been mentioned in the Holy Quran. The species that have been planted so far include fig trees, date palms, olive, pomegranate, and citrus plants.

A view of Islamic Garden in Karachi (Credtis: Facebook / Arab News Pakistan)

President Alvi said that urban forestry in a megacity like Karachi is like a breath of fresh air. According to him, this greenery project would serve the purpose of lungs, purifying the city’s polluted environment and converting it into fresh, clean air.

A fully-fledged fruit garden is another noteworthy feature of the Jinnah Urban Forest in Karachi. It has been planted with 22 different species of fruit-bearing trees and plants. They include guava, Chikoo, Sharifa (Custard apple), mango, banana, jamun (Java plum), mulberry, lasura (Cordia myxa), papaya, pomegranate, falsa, and mulberry among others. A total of 5,000 trees have been planted in the horticulture project so far.

To learn more about other noteworthy projects promoting the concept of tree plantation in Pakistan to combat climate change, continue reading this blog.

Update (July 26, 2021): Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently inaugurated the monsoon plantation drive in Islamabad. Addressing the occasion, he said that Pakistan was playing a very important role in bringing down its carbon footprint, which was to reverse the impact of climate change.

He also added that the country’s efforts to increase greenery and vegetated areas were now being recognised by the international community. The premier also urged the citizens to play their part (individually and collectively) in the tree plantation drive, which was to enhance and restore the forest cover that Pakistan had lost in recent years as the issue remained neglected for a very long time.

The Prime Minister also stated that Pakistan had to be transformed into a green country to reduce the menace of pollution and fight global warming. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the other plantation campaigns introduced nationwide in recent years, continue reading this blog.

Update (March 3, 2021): A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has recently been signed between the Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and the Ministry of Climate Change, according to which, the progress of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Billion Tree Tsunami Project will be monitored by a satellite. It is to ensure the transparency of the government-launched tree plantation drives across the country.

The Billion Tree Tsunami Project is a massive-scale development, which is now gaining international attention. It has highlighted the role of Pakistan as one of the leading countries in the world that are putting in serious efforts to tackle the challenges posed by the phenomena of global warming and climate change.

Pakistan is a country that witnesses all four seasons, thanks to its unique geographical location. However, lately the country has started experiencing a number of environmental issues, deforestation being one of them. There is a lack of awareness in terms of tree plantation in Pakistan. Loss of trees and plants, especially human-driven, is occurring on a large scale for various purposes such as burning firewood, making furniture and building houses.

Trees provide us with oxygen and a soothing environment. Therefore, given the fact that we’re increasingly losing green belts to urbanization, and global warming, saving trees should be the world’s top priority. Thankfully, the Pakistani government has finally decided to pay heed to environmentalists’ warnings and woken up from its deep slumber of apathy.

Before we talk about the tree plantation in Pakistan, let’s have a look at some of the most popular green spaces in our country

The Pakistani City with Ample Greenery

Margalla Hills Islamabad
Islamabad is one of the greenest cities in the world.

Of course, you already know which city we are going to mention here. Islamabad has been recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its beauty doesn’t lie in tall buildings and other man-made structures but in the wonders of nature that surround it.

Case in point: Margalla Hills, which were declared a national park in 1980, is believed to have around 600 species of plants and more than 300 species of animals. However, the increasing pace of development in the federal capital is also jeopardizing its natural beauty. Many awareness programs and campaigns on different levels have been organized in this concern to streamline things in a way that they would not cause harm to the natural environment of this city.

The Largest Forest of Pakistan

Changa Manga that is a manmade wildlife reserve
Changa Manga is the largest manmade wildlife reserve in Pakistan

The forest of Changa Manga is the largest man-made wildlife reserve of Pakistan. Covering a large area, it is found in the Lahore and Kasur districts of Punjab. The menace of illegal deforestation in Pakistan on a vast scale has also caused severe damage to this natural reserve of our country. Different types of drives and campaigns have been carried out for tree plantation in Pakistan that strongly discourage the practice of deforestation. The forest of Changa Manga, which was planted in the 1890s, is also in need of these campaigns that effectively spread awareness about the horrors of deforestation and emphasizes on the importance of tree plantation in Pakistan.

One Billion Trees Initiative in KPK

The matter of planting ‘One Billion Trees’ in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been making headlines ever since it was initiated over a couple of years ago. Due to the relentless efforts of the provincial government and some non-profit organizations, this tree plantation campaign turned into an absolute success.

This noteworthy achievement has also been significantly backed and praised by Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan. The land of KPK, which was once turning barren a few years ago, has many dense forests now. This transformation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is another significant step towards a green Pakistan. It has not only been recognized nationally but has also been noticed by international bodies working for the conservation of Earth’s environment.

Nationwide Tree Plantation Campaign

Nationwide Tree Plantation Campaign
Campaigns for tree plantation in Pakistan are being run nationwide

Following the success of the KPK Tree Plantation Drive, the authorities have taken up a bigger challenge now. They are now planning to conserve the greenery of the entire country by taking small but impactful steps. Different types of campaigns and awareness programmes are going to be a part of it. Almost all of the major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Faisalabad and Islamabad are expected to take a significant part in this drive.

Compared to the KPK tree plantation drive, the figures have increased ten times this time and the Prime Minister of Pakistan has goals to plant ten billion trees countrywide. This tree plantation campaign is called ‘Plant for Pakistan’ that already kicked off in the latter half of 2018. Any responsible citizen of Pakistan can be a part of this drive to save greenery in Pakistan.

Recently, the acting Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has declared August 18 2019 as plantation day and urged the citizens to step forward and contribute their part in this national cause by planting at least two saplings. Emphasizing on the importance of tree plantation in Pakistan, he said, “Plantation is not an option, but a need.”

How can we play our part to promote greenery in Pakistan?

Merely taking interest in or listening to the news stories related to the initiatives taken by the government or other organizations regarding tree plantation in Pakistan is not going to be enough. We have access to one of the most powerful social awareness tools in today’s world. We are pointing towards social media, of course. If a hashtag on Twitter can bring a revolution in a country, then it shouldn’t be difficult to rally people for a cause that can save our future generations and to strive for clean and green Pakistan.

Spreading awareness about the harms caused by deforestation in Pakistan and the consequences and disastrous aftermath of human intrusion in nature is crucial. Using social media connections, people can easily gather on one platform and fight against the unlawful cutting of trees. Plus, you can also start the tree plantation drive from your neighbourhood or even from the city you are living in These are some of the ways we can help the government to get somewhere near the goal of planting 10 billion trees in Pakistan.

If you have any queries related to our today’s blog, then reach out to us at blog@zameen.com.

Catch more of our posts discussing environmental improvement in Pakistan and ways you can be a part in it individually and collectively by subscribing to Zameen Blog, Pakistan’s best lifestyle blog.


Developing the World’s Largest Riverfront City – Ravi Urban Development Project


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Located on the outskirts of Lahore, the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project aims to develop the world’s largest riverfront city in Pakistan. The project, envisioned at the time of the country’s independence in 1947, was only seriously considered by the Government of Punjab 66 years later in 2013. The project aims to rehabilitate and develop the dying River Ravi into a perennial freshwater body, with high-quality waterfront urban development on the reclaimed and adjoining land. In August 2020, the Prime Minister of Pakistan also launched the Ravi Urban Development Authority that will overlook the entire process as the project is worth more than Rs. 5 trillion in value. Continue reading to understand the project’s objectives along with its timeline and impact on the people of Lahore and the real estate sector.


Lahore Urban Challenges

As rapid urbanisation occurred due to rising rural to urban migrations and population growth, people poured into cities to seek better opportunities. Lahore was no exception to this. The population of Lahore increased from 3.9 million in 1990 to 13 million in 2021 (Khan, 2021). This massive influx in the city’s population has caused a strain on natural resources and the environment while also resulting in the deterioration of the general living standards of the city’s residents. For instance, the city’s groundwater reserves are depleting at an annual rate of 1 meter. In winters, the city is covered with the smog that disrupts transport and endangers the lives of millions with poor air quality. Moreover, many industrial settlements have polluted the water sources with heavy metals, municipal waste, and industrial sewage. Realising the challenges of overpopulation and falling living standards in Lahore, the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) was formed in 2020 to overlook the formation of a well-planned city along the Ravi riverfront to release the mounting pressure on Lahore. It is a great step towards a clean, green, and secure future. Continue reading to get further insights on the game-changing project.


Ravi Urban Development Project as a Game-Changer

The Ravi Urban Development Project consists of developments on more than 100 acres of land, which will be converted into a state-of-the-art master-planned city in 6 decades. The project poses enormous environmental benefits and economic opportunities for local and overseas investors. It will be completed in three phases. The Ravi River will be cleaned in the first phase, and water filtration plants will be established to revive the river from heavy pollution and industrial waste contaminants. Groundwater will be replenished by establishing a 46 km long lake, which will help the earth absorb up to 1 billion litres of water daily. The lake will also provide 2 billion litres of clean water to Lahore city, fulfilling 50 per cent of the city’s water demand. An urban forest will also be set up during this phase of the project to ensure that all future developments in infrastructure do not have a tremendous environmental impact. The second phase will focus on roads and infrastructure developments, while the third phase will be geared towards setting up education, health, commercial innovation, government, and sports facilities (Randhawa, 2021).

Perhaps the most exciting part of the project is the green and sustainable nature of the entire initiative. Well, though-out urban forestry has also been made part of the project. Under this project, existing forests will be preserved while establishing a 100-acre knowledge park that will host several universities, making it a hub of knowledge and research. It is planned that more than 6 million trees will be planted in the city besides eco-ponds, wetlands, wildlife sanctuaries, theme parks, botanical gardens, and algae ponds. Therefore, it can be understood why the project is a welcome proposition for the local and overseas investors in the real estate sector. Nearly five thousand small and medium businesses will be established throughout the development. The Ravi Urban Development Authority will also provide an ecosystem for technological and media businesses to promote the project’s benefits locally and globally. The development of high-rise buildings consisting of more than 18,000 units will also boost the construction sector, creating thousands of job opportunities in more than 40 allied sectors (DailyTimes, 2021).


The Potential of Investing in the Ravi Urban Development Project

Pakistan’s prime minister has frequently emphasized the construction sector’s role in uplifting the country’s economy. The Ravi Urban Development Project will give new life to the construction industry and the economy, so the government has announced multiple incentives for the construction sector to facilitate capital flow, tax reductions, financing facilities, and simplification of relevant laws. In the future, the project will generate over 250 billion rupees in revenue, creating more than 260,000 jobs. Upon successful completion, it can be used as a model for other cities, such as Karachi, Gujarat, Jhelum, and Khushab. Consequently, it is anticipated that the project will bring much needed foreign direct investments and local industrial growth for the economy of Pakistan, revitalizing the real estate sector.



With the challenges associated with rapid urbanisation rising in Lahore, such as overpopulation and deteriorating living standards, the Government of Punjab decided in August 2020 to launch the Ravi Urban Development Project. The project aims to develop a state-of-the-art planned city along the Ravi Riverfront. The project is planned to complete in three phases. The first phase will focus on cleaning the river from all pollutants and establishing a nature park. The second and third phases are focused on infrastructural developments. The project will provide a much-needed boost to the construction sector of Pakistan, along with generating jobs and revenue from 40 allied industries. The project can be a great opportunity for local and overseas investors and can prove to be a game-changer for the economy of Pakistan.



CM for speeding up work on Ravi Urban Development project


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LAHORE: Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Usman Buzdar, on Tuesday,  directed the relevant authorities to speed up the development work on the Ravi Urban Development project.

The Chief Minister presided over the meeting on the project which reviewed the progress. 

He further mentioned that in the first phase, 44 thousand acres of land has been chalked out where an industrial zone on 6 thousand acres of land and three barrages with a storage capacity of 6 lac cusec water will be constructed. 

In addition, the project will be environmentally friendly and 60 lac samplings will be planted in order to curb environmental pollution. 

Several officials including Chief Secretary, Chief Executive Officer Ravi Urban Development Authority Imran Amin, Provincial Minister Housing Asad Khokhar, Principal Secretary to CM, Secretary Finance, Secretary Housing, Chairman P&D, Commissioner Lahore Division and Head of Special Monitoring Unit were in attendance. 



For more news and information, visit Graana.com 



Different Ways Cities Can Integrate Urban Renewal | Graana.com Blog


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Urban renewal is an economic and development tool to renovate and resuscitate the aggravated conditions of impoverished or degenerated regions in an urban city. Such regions are marked with dilapidated infrastructure, stunted economy, lack of private investment, inadequate sanitation, unfit living conditions, deteriorating buildings/houses, contaminated water, and so on. Urban renewal breathes a new life in such unsustainable regions and stimulates private investment and sustainable solutions.

Urban renewal revolves around slum improvement, urban regeneration, and gentrification. It can include renovation, relocation, upgradation and demolition of existing structures. Public investment in road upgradation, street cleaning, and improving linkages stimulates the region’s economy as improved infrastructure attracts private investment. 

Urban Renewal Process


There are two major ways through which urban renewal can be adapted – regeneration and gentrification. 


Urban regeneration is the redevelopment of dilapidated areas marked with poor environmental conditions, high population density, congestion, and related urban problems. It includes improving physical infrastructure through demolition and construction, renovation, and exciting start-ups to reverse the economic downturn and pump up private investments. Most importantly, regeneration does not include relocation or resettlement under any condition. It is also known as a ‘retrofitting’ or ‘revitalisation’ program. 

Urban renewals target congested areas, introduce new land uses, improve linkages to business centres of the city, increase municipal services and amenities, add an aesthetical value, and drive rental and property matters upward. The imminent surge in property values motivates private investors to invest in the region’s regeneration. As a result, congestion, crime rates, and intolerance decrease. A new life and revived community activism emerge to save the region from urban decay. 


Ways to Regenerate Urban Areas

  1. Upgrade transportation networks to improve connectivity and elevate ease of doing business.
  2. Mending the dilapidated building and improving the street structure.
  3. The government should offer housing subsidies that incentivise and target the inner-city population to buy property in the region. 
  4. Work with private partners to regenerate the area and add economic stimuli. 
  5. Support small start-ups to kickstart the economy.
  6. Incorporate mixed land-use to attract more population.
  7. Support commercial areas, local schools, water plants, waste management, and affordable housing in the region.
  8. Tree plantation to increase greenery in the area and boost air quality. 
  9. Support small vendors (vegetable sellers, stationery shops, restaurants, etc.).


Urban Gentrification:

Urban gentrification is characterised by transforming a metropolitan area from a low-value region to a high value. If urban renewal is targeted to develop a dilapidated region in a high-value neighbourhood, it can be categorised as urban renewal. Other times, it can result from specific urban renewal programs that inflate the region’s property values. 

The term is derived from “gentry”, which means people of a higher social status. In 1964, the term was reintroduced by a renowned sociologist, Ruth Glass, when she studied the influx of middle-class residents into the previously low-income areas of London that belonged to the working class. Urban gentrification is often carried out under the clause of eminent domain, whereby public authorities can compulsorily reclaim private land for civic purposes. 


Elements of Gentrification:

  • High property and rental value
  • Displacement of residents as property rates surge high
  • It can be politically driven
  • A rapid rise in employment and business
  • Physical improvement 
  • An upper-middle-class character
  • A surge in city amenities
  • Increased traffic inflow
  • A direct effect on the housing market
  • High rate of taxation
  • Increased transportation cost in accessing central business districts (CBD)


The Impact of Gentrification:

  • Change in Neighbourhood Character: Gentrification is a process that tends to displace the existing low-income residents of a region because the abject transformation of the neighbourhood from low value to high value makes the living standards extravagant. For this reason, such a renewal attracts criticism from the public—the entire fabric of the community changes from events to cultural values to street flavour. Therefore, gentrification can lead to socio-economic and political issues.
  • Economic benefits: Gentrification benefits public investors and young families searching for affordable housing in new towns and societies. It generates more tax revenue for the local municipalities as the economic activity rises. Young families can find a safe and reasonable living place with many public services and amenities. 
  • Social Cost: In gentrification, there’s a human cost involved. It reduces the capacity for long-time dwellers to afford their living in an upgraded area marked by expensive services and inflated goods. There’s a chance that a chunk of the population can get displaced or need to be migrated, especially if the gentrification upscales an informal settlement or a slum.
  • Private Investments: In gentrification, private investment also surges and opens avenues for new businesses, new government initiatives, real estate development, reduced crime rate, and more community activism.


In totality, gentrification means different things for different sections of society. For the well-off people, it presents an opportunity to acquire safe land. For private businesses, it opens up new market streams to elevate their sales. For governments, it offers a well-sustained tax base. For the local people, it can be a cost if their incomes do not grow simultaneously with the rising prices in the region. If gentrification leads to displacement, it can be deemed a failure of urban planning as it fails to sustain the existing population. In other words, gentrification has a human cost involved, which can lead to displacement, urban sprawl, and mushrooming of slums if not taken into consideration. Hence, urban renewal should always be targeted to rebuild and resuscitate existing communities, not to resettle. 



Types of Urban Structures in City Planning


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We often wonder about the layout of a city whilst travelling across it and viewing the passing commercial areas and residential neighbourhoods. We wonder if there is any particular model it follows or planned haphazardly as different land uses emerge.

Today, Graana.com will introduce you to the three main models of city structures so you can always map them out in your mind. 


What is an Urban Structure?

The urban structure is an outlay or arrangement of a city as a result of a land-use plan. In other words, it is the outcome of the land-use plan designated for a city. It pinpoints the location of business centres, residential areas, hospitals, and other structures within a city.

The urban structure also denotes the amount of required land and its consequent uses. There is an intrinsic interrelationship and dependency between urban structure and the land use of a city. If a city’s government changes its land use, the urban structure would also have to be changed.

There are multiple elements that urban structure covers, such as the associated land use, city typology, transportation plan, residential units, city growth pattern, commerce and industry, business centres, geographic constraints, and livelihood patterns.


The Three Models of Urban Structure

Urban models are particular arrangements of a city’s structure that plan out where the city’s residential areas and business centres will be situated and at what distance.


Burgess Concentric Zone Model

Ernest Burgess was the first person to introduce the burgess concentric zone model in 1923. It is one of the earliest urban models that formed part of urban planning studies. In this model, the city is shaped in consecutive concentric rings, or circles, or zones with a business centre in the middle. So, if you were to zoom out on a zonal city’s map, it would look like a bullseye. Burgess explained that the citizens’ socio-economic status depends on their distance from the central business district (CBD), which is present at the centre of the bullseye.

Ernest introduced five zones in this structure as follows;

a) Zone 1: This denotes the city’s business centre where most businesses, companies, and skyscrapers are located.

b) Zone 2: It is located right outside the previous zone and is marked with factories and manufacturing plants. Hence, most of the city’s goods are manufactured here. Together with zone one, this zone employs the significant workforce of the city.

c) Zone 3: This zone is a neighbourhood of the working class encircling zone two. The majority of the workers live in apartment buildings.

d) Zone 4: This neighbourhood is associated with the middle-class. Therefore, the zone is marked mostly with modest houses instead of apartments.

e) Zone 5: The outermost zone is an upper-class neighbourhood comprising the wealthiest areas with luxurious houses and facilities.

Example: Chicago city, which Burgess studied to formulate the zonal model.


Hoyt’s Sectoral Model

Homer Hoyt developed the sectoral model in 1939 as a follow-up on the concentric model. Hoyt studied that the city expanded not in a concentric fashion but in a sectoral manner. The growth patterns in the cities follow wedge-like patterns that extend from CBDs and the relative distance with the major routes of transportation in the city. More of the population is situated near highways and railroads. y. Hence, CBDs are not the only determining factor. It is the transportation flow that determines the crowds.

As a result, the growth is outward in wedges extending beyond the concentric model’s bullseye. It’s also associated with Strip or Ribbon Development. Along with the wedges, the residential units and commercial activities will mushroom. Lower-income households are also present that skirt the commercial areas

Example: Islamabad, Karachi, and Amsterdam are some examples of the sectoral model.


Multiple Nuclei Model

As the title suggests, the multiple nuclei model consists of multiple nodules with one CBD at the centre of each. The greater the growth of the city, the more nuclei would emerge. The nuclei stand for small CBD around which other land-use arrangements align. The model was proposed by Edward Ullman and Chauncy Harris, who observed that not all cities fit the centric or sectoral model. Instead, cities consist of multiple regional centres.

The main factor for such nucleic growth is the ease of transportation. More significant movement in the city enables various regional centres to become specialised with their business centres, residential units, heavy industry, etc.  Like in the sectoral model, manufacturing and wholesaling activities are also located near main transportation channels. The heavy industry is located on the outskirts marked by low-income households. Overall, each nucleus attracts population from the surroundings, grows in size with time, and impacts the surrounding land’s value and the mushrooming of commercial and business activities.

Example: Los Angeles and Bahawalpur in Pakistan are some examples. 


Islamabad – A Sectoral City

Islamabad is a sectoral city with five zones and multiple sectors identified by alphabets like I, H, G, E, D, etc. There are four different sub-sectors within each industry, at the centre of which is “Markaz ” aka business centres. However, in this sectoral city, the land use planning has largely avoided housing planning for the low-income groups, the by-product of which is “out-of-the-plan” settlements – slums and squatter settlements. Moreover, if you look at Islamabad’s growth pattern, there is a more comparative increase in population and housing near the main Srinagar Highway and main urban road. Therefore, city planners need to assess the needs of a city properly to apply the best urban structure model for the city.