The state of green areas in Karachi reflect a bleak pictures as ratio of such areas has witnessed a considerable decline in the last few years, says a World Bank Report.
As per World Bank latest report titled, The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces, many cities around the world are missing out on significant development opportunities by ignoring, under-leveraging, or mismanaging public spaces. “There is an enormous opportunity for smarter use of public spaces, to unlock the “hidden” value they create for communities, neighborhoods, and entire cities,” the report adds.
Talking about Karachi, the report said that the city’s population grew from 10 million in 1998 to 16 million in 2017, primarily through immigration. The urban extent also grew by 8 percent from 2005 to 2017, consisting of 13.4 square kilometers in the core city and 211.8 square kilometers in the larger urban zone.
However, the city’s urban environment and infrastructure provision have not kept pace with its growth. Green areas have decreased by 4 percent, whereas the urban extent in the core city has expanded by 8 percent between 2005 and 2017.
The average number of street intersections per square kilometer is 71.7—which is lower than the United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UN-Habitat) benchmark of 100 intersections per square kilometer and the average road length per square kilometer is 13.21. Informal settlements are also pervasive in the central part of Karachi.
Karachi appears to have an equally accessible and connected public-space network. The share of public spaces out of total built-up areas is 14 percent; the share of street areas is 8.7 percent. Even though the share is relatively lower than in Dhaka and Lima, almost 95 percent of people live within 400 meters of OGAs (open and green areas).
The report said that cities like Karachi have large areas of vacant and open land—around 15–21 percent of total built-up areas. These areas could be transformed as new public spaces, either on government-owned land or incorporated as part of private urban developments.