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Title: Understanding localness of built form at the urban scale : investigating 'Maqamiat' in the case of Karachi, Pakistan
Author: Ahmed, Suneela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6789
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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Many cities in the developing world aspire to imitate cities of the West in their built form, since for them this represents ‘modernism’ and the future. Pakistan is a young country and the contribution of a new generation of architects and planners has been inspired by the west, in the post-modern traditions, and not informed by the local cultural, social and physical aspects of the society. Karachi, within Pakistan, has recently seen the construction of a number of buildings and urban design projects that conform to the international concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation, and are a response to the desire of politicians to create a global image for the city. Using the Urdu word maqamiat in relation to the built form, this research assesses what it means for a city to be local in the context of Karachi, being specific, having particular variables impacting the built form, but dealing with similar issues of identity crises as other formally colonized nations. A combination of deductive and inductive research approach that arches over mixed methods is used, in order to reveal the nature and value of maqamiat of built form. Semi structured interviews, focus groups, urban morphological documentation, archive review and personal observation methods have been used for data collecting. Content, narrative and focus group analyses are used to interpret data. The major conclusions point towards the meaning of space, as perceived by communities, is not always bound by physical form. The social attachment and usage of certain types of local spaces cannot be translated, either physically or linguistically, into other languages, and through the influence of foreign imported design language, significant aspect of maqamiat is lost in newer developments. The research postulates lessons from its study of local processes of built form production, the value given to local places by indigenous communities and the impact of global forces through imageability, aesthetics and style. The research identifies that urban anthropologists are better positioned to understand and explain maqamiat because of their cross-disciplinary approach to analysing the society, as compared to urban theorists. The research also identifies unique urban morphologies within the context, which point towards the requirement to develop research and literature related to the local and global interactions and the emerging built form typologies. The research findings can feed into the design profession through policy aimed towards ‘responsive’ urban design.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available