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Cultures, Communities and Design

Urban Revitalization –Defragmenting the Lahore Canal
H. Shahid & H. Irfan
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Lahore, a city known for its dynamic and festive spirit is one of the major cultural urban centers of Pakistan. Piercing through the heart of this city from western to the eastern edges is the Lahore Canal. Originally imagined as a linear public space lined with dense trees, it was a testament to the city’s history, lively culture and ecology. Unfortunately, due to intense land use, social and economic development, the city of gardens saw an explosive urban sprawl (Rehman, 2009). Caged by two massive roads which became a rigid impenetrable boundary, the densely lined eco-corridor that was once a cultural and ecological artefact lost its identity, its beauty and its purpose (Mughal, 2005). Beaconhouse National University held a vertical architecture design studio (in semester 1 and semester 5) seeking to revitalize the canal, and connect the sub-urban peripheries to the urban centre by generating public recreational activity alongside canal banks – the solutions focused on economic, ecological and social human well-being of a fragmented urbanscape. The paper discusses the solutions provided after research and experimentation done by both semesters, where activity generating built functions were inserted using dry construction that would not interfere with the ecology of the place. The canal was also imagined as a waterway and transportation link where the banks were imagined to be mixed use spaces with marketplaces to generate strong economic opportunities for the residents of city. Considering that urban development is well underway towards making Lahore a more vertical, compact city, government bodies responsible need to consider the renewal of existing blue and green spaces that involve various stakeholders and sustain a sense of place within their city.


Habibah Shahid is currently teaching as an assistant professor in Beaconhouse National University, graduated from the same university as a geometre working on the optimization of structural systems using polyhedral chains. She has dedicated herself to teach beginning years of architecture about intangible and tangible aspects of architecture. Whilst also focusing on developing the curriculum of geometry and structures for the beginning years of undergraduate program for architecture, with strong focus on integration of these subjects with design.

Hina Irfan is an architectural engineer based out of Lahore. Currently working as an assistant professor at Beaconhouse National University, she is also chairperson of a housing research unit, Unit of City and Housing, affiliated with the Naya Pakistan Housing Program. Her current research is on the linkage between housing terms, perception and housing space. She graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in the Environmental Design of Buildings. She has since worked to develop and integrate the study of ecology and environmental design into the undergraduate curriculum at the school of architecture, and is working towards creating housing theory electives to supplement the research unit at BNU.