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Logics of Improvement, Development & Displacement in the Asian City

How is development bound land governed and acquired for infrastructure/urban renewal projects? How do ordinary citizens confront evictions and/or negotiate for their homes, other properties and livelihoods in both urban and rural contexts?

New urban planning logics infused with the language of ‘improvement’ and ‘development’ are transforming the socio-spatial landscape of Pakistan's largest metropolis - Karachi. In this moment, development bound land is up for grabs in different parts of the city with local, provincial and federal governments as well as juridical orders, private sector and global interests aligning in complex ways. How is development bound land governed and acquired for infrastructure/urban renewal projects? How do ordinary citizens confront displacement and/or negotiate for their homes, other properties and livelihoods? How are these processes constituted by social relationships such as those around gender? We explore how communities respond to their marginalization in decision-making processes and resist land displacements and evictions; how they organize and demand redress, and how they are prone to psychological harm and loss of community well-being. The project covers sites that extend from Karachi’s center to its periphery. The project relies on a mixed-methods approach using questionnaire surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups, media tracking, mapping, archival research, and digital storytelling.