> Solace Under Shade


> City: Karachi
> Issue: Urban Expansion


Team Members:

Sahar-Fatema Mohamedali


In one of the world’s most dense cities, every piece of land holds value and potential. This project explores how citizens of Karachi have taken advantage of pockets of space that exist under bridges and flyovers, by informally inhibiting and occupying them. The illegal land use has resulted in evictions, causing the loss of homes, workplaces and social spaces that were created.

The project investigates a method of mediating the needs and wants of users and land owners, to provide safe, legal and functional uses of these void spaces under a recently built structure. This is done by setting a framework to allow for capitalising on opportunity, while benefiting the public. Research shows how detrimental the effects can be without cooperation, and how successful they can be with it. Taking time to understand the specific context, both physically and culturally, is crucial in order to respond with sensitivity. To spend time on site, observing and reflecting, was the most important part of the process.

Three proposals have been developed, to service three groups of road users that currently inhabit specific parts of the site for purposes of care. Understanding feasibility of construction in terms of site constraints, cost and materials helps to keep the project grounded, realistic and achievable. Each proposal varies in terms of its cost to show the potential that can be achieved, with or without a large budget.

This project is an example which can then be used across different parts of the city. The approach and strategy are replicable, but responding to specific sites and needs in terms of the programme and built form makes every proposal unique. The project is reactionary, responding to built forms and use of space that currently exists. But ultimately, this project seeks to open the discussion about how we should be anticipating the urban voids that are created, the next time infrastructure is planned.