Karachi Master Development Plan for a better future

All nations have different problems to cater and challenges to master. The crasser effects of these problems have jeopardized the chances of goals attainment for different nations. Like many other countries, Pakistan has been facing a wide range of problems. Pakistan do not have enough resources to support the socially disadvantaged population, build the infrastructure and stimulate the economy of the country to the same extent as industrialized and third world countries do. Karachi being the metropolitan and mega city with a population of 2.5 million has faced extensive array of challenges. It is trapped under the detrimental effects of life-threatening problems since a long period.

Looking at the distorting and destructive situation of Karachi, Karachi Development Authority prepared a long plan in 1973 called Karachi Master plan after an entire gathering of data and research. The plan was built to understand the underlying problems, project the growth opportunities and make Karachi a hub of development and industrialization for the dwellers. The plan was made for a 10-year period which means that after 1985, a new plan has to be formulated. KSDP was not exactly successful in streamlining the growth. 10 years later in 1986, the same authority, Karachi development authority developed a new plan for 1986-2000. The 1986-2000 planning document consisted of six distinct scenarios and attendant strategies:

  • infilling and consolidating developed areas
  • assuming a low-to-moderate urban growth
  • predicting (conservatively) no growth and aiming to upgrade infrastructure
  • focusing on development of low-income settlements
  • planning exclusively for later development
  • and providing services to cantonments and housing societies.

Due to increasing economic growth, population and urbanization, demand for new projects, investment and pressure on the existing infrastructure is increasing. All this require huge investment in roads, energy, water and other public utility projects.

Plans like these are very important for the growth of any city. They monitor and project the growths and programs that are not duly incorporated in their stipulation. Both of the plans had different approaches and context but both offered a useful mechanism. Despite of the investments made by the authorities, none of them were notified and thus successfully implemented. The dimensions and dynamics by which Karachi has always been governed is very complex due to which the actual potential of this diverse city has never been realized.


Karachi is suffering from major crisis, poor infrastructure, pollutions, traffic issues, unstable management, provision of water, gas and electricity and many other economic problems. To counteract the underlying problems, strategize the challenges and project the framework for future developments, Master plan group of offices (MPGO) – CDGK prepared this plan called Karachi Master Plan 2020.

The strategy framework of the master plan 2020 is linked with the problems and challenges to the vision and corresponding solutions to those. The strategies will implement relevant actions and identify indicators to measure the growth of incorporated project and programs. Furthermore, the objectives of the plan are to support the future growth of metropolitan city, housing needs, allocation of resources, traffic issues, water, electricity and gas crisis, sewerage issues, evaluate current infrastructure projects and formulate proposals for meeting them. The main components of the Karachi Strategic Development plan 2020 are;

1. Land Use:

The main purpose of gathering data regarding land use is to identify the allocation and utilization of land by legal means. The land is expected to utilized for housing, retails, offices, educational institutes, social, recreational, religious, industrial and industrial port related activities.

The spatial growth strategy to meet the momentum of this city and its growing population will be applied. It includes

  • Densification: High-rise development will be used to make more space. This will be affected mostly in Saddar, Jamshed, Gulberg, North Nazimabad, SITE and Shah Faisal.
  • Densification and Infill: The vacant land or space created as a result of densification and will be used for future growth. It will be affected mostly in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Landhi, Korangi, New Karachi Towns, DHA and Cantonments.
  • Infill and expansion: This leads to growth in various degress. For instance; focused expansion in one region and growth in other regions.
  • Status quo: For highly dense areas, status quo will be maintained to keep the population intact.

The master plan seeks promotion of vertical development of taller buildings in specific areas and restrict them from being built in sporadic manner. Development of ‘Media City’ and ‘Education City’ is also a part of plan to meet the growing needs of media, education and health sector. The media city will facilitate and integrate the international and local media organizations to collide and work coherently. Whereas the education city will maximize the availability of educational and health places to make these sectors accessible to local public. Law and order agencies will be brought under action regarding adequate handling of land and reserving it for educational spaces, business expansions and public amenities.

2. Housing:

With increasing population, the demand and housing needs have also increased. This plans considers housing an essential need and requires timely attention. To meet the demands, CDGK and Sindh Provincial Government have added policies and their formulation to facilitate with this problem. The main focus will be on the people will moderate or lower income level. However, the strategies proposed to achieve the goals will be;

  • An inclusive approach: “Housing for all” approach will be used where such initiatives and projects will take place that will provide houses to lower class mostly.  
  • A pro-poor policy: Housing schemes that will improve the dwelling situations of people below the poverty line and grant them access to loans from commercial banks.
  • Appropriate plot allocations in housing projects: According to this strategy, 75% of the land will be allocated for smaller plots to meet the increasing demand on lower level group.
  • Improving the efficiency of land market: This includes measures which will have to be put in place to improve the efficiency of the land market such as amendments in land transfer procedures, appropriate land use, building standards and regulations.
  • Building capacity of land administration: The administration will be expanded with respect to legal and regulatory structure.

One major issue in the bridging the gap between supply and demand is the current backlog which is growing approximately 100,000 units per year. To deal with this problem, densification, consolidation and infill strategies should be used. Economic centers should be brought under usage with affordable housing schemes. This plan also aims to develop partnership with private sector and builders since they play a crucial part in this. KSDP 2020 has covered all people, all income levels and upgradation of 539 Katchi abadi is also a part of it.

3. Transport:

Despite of large expenditures, the transport system of Pakistan keeps getting worse due to lack of planning or poor management and maintenance. To increase the accessibility and mobility, the government needs to put their due focus on this transport and traffic system in Pakistan. The master development plan 2020 plans on making the mobility easier, convenient, safe, secure and accessible and since it is an essential need for Karachi.

The policies have been formulated to achieve objectives such as

  • Making relevant actions to improve the current transport infrastructure.
  • Providing safe, convenient and affordable transport alternatives and avoiding single-occupancy vehicles.
  • Strengthening and improving the traffic management and traffic engineering.
  • Formulate strategy for management and operation of local bus terminals.
  • Bringing technology and innovation in the structure. Adopting GIS data-base system.
  • Strategize a transport development plan and road building programs which will cater to the traffic problems and challenges.
  • Improve safety, energy efficiency and air quality and seek improvements through strong private sector participation.
  • Reserve high volume routes for buses and low volume routes for mini buses.
  • The plans also focus on providing garage and parking facilities to rickshaws, buses and taxis so that they can keep providing services to the public.

To improve the transportation system, the KSDP 2020 has planned to work on the Rings road project, including central ring road, inner ring road, Northern ring and outer ring road and the purpose to relieve congestion.

4. Infrastructure:

The economy needs reliable infrastructure to connect supply chains and efficiently move goods and services across borders. Infrastructure connects households across metropolitan areas to higher quality opportunities for employment, healthcare and education. Ever since the inception, Pakistan had to work primarily for the foundation of infrastructure. Pakistan ranks 67th in basic infrastructure category. Historically, a continual imbalance between demand and supply of infrastructure facilities is seen. Pakistan has severe challenges such as water crisis, sewerage and waste management.

Water Crisis:

Courtesy: The News

Therefore, in collaboration with KW& SB, Karachi strategic development plan has planned relevant actions to be taken as per this plan. The measures involve reinstallation of meter, recycle and re-use of already treated water to avoid water wastage. Other reasons of water crisis are the illegal availability of water to certain regions and non-payment of water bills. KW & SB plans to streamline and integrate the payment procedure and intensify the contract with largest debtor.


Capital and non-capital measures for sewerage challenges have been proposed in this plan. Large sewer trunks to be built around Lyari and Malir river and these would carry most of the city’s water, existing plants to be improved and rehabilitated to improve their efficiency, existing pipes to be removed to avoid water wastage.

Solid Waste Management:

To manage the waste, it is important that every individual takes responsibility of the litter and waste they produce. Prevention, reduction and recycling should be the supreme focus of the authorities. Active and productive teams and groups to be made at union level and the accountability of these groups to be transparent.

According to reports, Karachi produces 16,000-18,000 of solid waste each day. KSDP plans to develop Garbage transfer stations. It will have compacting trucks for 178 unions and it will be able to squeeze, press and lift waste. The plan aims to create an enabling environment and supporting private sector involvement in the segregation, recycling, collection, transfer, treatment and disposal of wastes, and prioritizing the involvement of lower income recycler groups wherever possible.

5. Electric Power:

Photo courtesy: SAMAA news

To improve the power supply, the plans was proposed in two phases;

  • Immediate Action Plan (2006-2011) The objective is to close the 1628 MW gap between electrical power supply and demand. In this phase, KESC will have to surge 300 to 400 number of 11kv primary distributions and 4000 11lkv for sub-stations. On conservation side, all hoardings / bill boards, should be powered by solar power. This conservation will save 20 MW of energy in Karachi.
  • Long Action Plan (2011-2020): The higher demands of 1140 MW in 2011-2015 and 1400 in 2016-2020 will be responded. An increase in hydropower generation capacity is also expected to happen in this plan. Expansion of Bin Qasim town includes industrial loads of textile city, automobile city, marble city, downstream industries of steel mills and expansion in other industries as well to take load of Bin Qasim port power plant.

One of the reason of suppression of economic growth and development is the shortage and non-availability of the power around Karachi. The per capita consumption is pretty low as compared to Malaysia and China.

The generation of power by KE is as following

StationAvailable capacity (MW)Source of Energy
Bin Qasim Power Station1130Natural gas and Furnace oil
Korangi Power Station215Natural gas and Furnace oil
SITE gas turbine power station92Natural gas
Korangi gas turbine Power station70Natural gas

KESC gets its natural gas from Sui southern gas company. Due to the shortage of natural gas, SITE and Korangi gas turbine power station could only be operated during peak hours. However, the main power being supplied is via bin qasim port which is the most efficient in the grid. To meet the demand, KESC has to import power which makes it more expensive. KESC will also have to increase about 700 to 800 number of 11 kV primary distribution feeders and will have to establish about 8000 numbers 11kV distribution substations during this period.

6. Social Services:

This is the last feature of the plan and tries to cover all problems from health, education to amenities available. With limited resources, CDGK has to take care of wide range and larger problems and is planning to do in collaboration with private sector.


To establish and enable an environment where primary health care facility is accessible, low-cost or ready-to-use buildings should be utilized which require least modification. The already existing facilities to be renovated and surveyed if they are still functional. Local made equipment would be given preference to encourage local goods and decrease imports. Other than infrastructure, well trained staff is also very important. Proper education spaces should be created with minimum or low cost.

The government should establish a health related disaster preparedness program with an organised action plan and triage system that is adequately rehearsed with civil defence, policy and ambulatory services, and local government officials.


Educational facilities are available in access in the metropolitan city since private sector have taken an active part in primary, secondary and sub-standard education facility. However, the objective is to spread the facilities in all over Karachi and not to particular areas, the schools to be built in commercial areas to restrict utilization of residential plots for this purpose. Special Education Centers for vocational training of special persons shall be established in all towns, particularly Keamari, Malir, Gadap and Bin Qasim Towns. Tiers of education facility should also be minimized.


Karachi lacks in number of playgrounds, sports ground and sport facilities for the kids and adults. However, the recreational activities have been built over the years. The KSDP-2020 seeks to improve recreational opportunities and their equitable distribution to all residents of Karachi. The main objective is to build sports complexes and grounds so the children can be encouraged towards sports and the talent can be polished and given the needed platforms.

Urban agriculture:

The existing agricultural activities will be strengthened and further expanded to realize the potential and natural advantage of the area. The agricultural development program will be designed to cover the following aspects:

  • Protection of cultivated land
  • Better water conservation practices to save water lost during irrigation
  • Livestock farming established at suitable location
  • Adequate land to be allocated for cattle, poultry and dairy farming.
  • Establishment and facilitation to the farmers.
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