Architecture of #Karachi disparity divide

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Architecture Then and Now – Some Thoughts
23 January, 2014 By Arif Hasan
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After attending four years at an architecture school in the UK and an additional three years in architect offices in Europe, I returned to Pakistan in 1968 and established my private practice in Karachi. The architecture school I attended was conservative, to say the least. The masters of modernism were considered gods and architects were supposed to fashion a beautiful new world which was to determine how people were to live. I, too, believed in all this till I had to deal with the reality of Pakistan.

All the important architects working in Karachi at the time when I started to practice were also modernists. So, it was alright to bulldoze squatter colonies and old buildings and construct new modernist developments on their land, as Le Corbusier had proposed for his famous plan for Algiers. No architects protested the bulldozing but the bulldozed residents and those living in the old quarters where buildings were demolished, did protest, and often violently. The profession did not notice this.

At that time the architect really had only two clients: the elite and the state. The elite were refined, did not exhibit their wealth, were involved in city affairs and their children visited the local museums and zoos, both through their school and as a result of family outings. This was because Karachi then had a colonial port culture and the elite were is custodians. Housing was the domain of the state which produced constructed “core” houses for its poor and for the lower level staff of state institutions. It also made grand low income housing schemes which were never fully implemented because of a lack of institutional capacity and financial viability. Reducing costs of construction was a passion with architects working on housing at that time. This, it was believed, could only be done through technical innovation and by using indigenous materials. I also spent many years doing this. Small islands of expensive success, around this belief, were created and glorified. However, because they were expensive and did not address the land issue, they could never be “scaled up”.

Today the practicing architect has many more clients than just the state and the elite. The state a still there, but is receding. The elite have been replaced by the rich. In addition, there is an expanding corporate sector, developers, NGOs serving the poor, and the poor themselves. All these groups have different requirements, different cultures and different world views. The rich have far more money than the elite did and they wish to flaunt it. The emergence of populist politics and its culture has replaced the colonial port city culture and marginalised them in the life of the city. So they live in gated ghettos surrounded by security systems and armed guards. Their ghettos contain all that they require for the education of their children, health facilities, entertainment, recreation and shopping. Meanwhile, developers serve the rapidly emerging middle classes. They are different from the developers of the 60s and 70s who were mostly engineers turned entrepreneurs. The majority of present day developers are a part of the messy real estate world and their investments, like themselves, are of dubious origin. The architecture they produce is dominating the city. It is architect signed but draftsman designed and copied from models in Singapore and Dubai. I call it the new vernacular and notice that even when architect designed, it is seldom better than the draftsman designed projects.

The state still builds education and health facilities and regional offices and housing for its staff. It follows the designs, rules and regulations of the past (with questionable modifications) even though the world has changed. It continues to survive on the ruins of a collapsed colonial empire. The corporate sector, meanwhile, has become a major investor in buildings of various types including those of health and education apart from its offices and showrooms. This architecture is far removed from the modernist tradition. It seeks to convey the image that the corporate enterprise has of itself. It seeks to impress and dominate the surrounding landscape. Elements of its architecture are borrowed in a big way for the civic architecture of the city and also for residences, not only in middle class and elite areas but also in the informal settlements. These elements are replacing the traditional elements and motifs that were earlier used.

Architects also work today for NGOs and CBOs who are engaged in providing housing or support for the upgrading to low income settlements. Much of this work is supported by funding from international agencies and/or NGOs. Such work is project related and has very little to do with policy issues. Architects plan and build for the poor but the existing sociology, economy and technology of the process through which housing is built in poor settlements is unknown to them and also untaught. As such, they design in their own image and do not help in improving the existing process and having a wider impact. This issue has surfaced in a big way in architects work in the earthquake and flood disaster zones. There are, of-course, a few notable exceptions to this.

There have been other changes too. When I began my practice, there was only one ism; modernism. Today, in addition to modernist revival, we have post-modernism and its various isms; green architecture; regionalism; and community architecture. Among all these isms, modernism is the only one that has a clear view on man, society, governance, housing, and planning. The others have yet to develop this although in philosophic and conceptual terms, there is clarity. Regarding green architecture, there is much talk of conserving energy, yet architects keep producing glass cages and badly oriented buildings. Why? Again, there a few notable exceptions, very few!

Architectural education has not yet come to terms with the changes I have described above. It still lives in the past. It is not easy to come to terms. So many conflicting isms. So many clients with different cultures and adversarial demands. And then there is the politics of these cultures and demands, with a whole new vocabulary and terms such as “it is not the business of the state to do business”, world class city, direct foreign investment, investment friendly in infrastructure, event city, cities as engines of growth/socially responsive architecture, built environment, upgrading, regularisation etc. These and related terms are unknowingly determining the stylistic and functional aspects of the work of architects in our society and also societal values which feed into teaching concepts and methodologies.

In coming to terms with these changes, education has also to consider the changes that have taken place at the building site and in the construction industry. When I began practicing, the contractors building the residences I designed came from a strong building tradition. Most of them belonged to a bradari of masons and some of them could trace their lineage as masons back to seven generations. Their bradari punchayats were alive and well at that time but are only ceremonial in nature today. Their younger generation has for the first time in the last decade, gone into new professions. In addition to being contractors, they also knew how to work with their hands, something they had learnt through the shagirdi system. They venerated their teachers and called them ustad. They used many local terms which have now become obsolete, such as naw for plinth; sitoon for column and dehlees for the floor near the entrance door. The terminology used today is almost all English.

Materials of construction when I started practicing were all locally produced and there was very little variety available. This guaranteed a similarity in finishes, both internally and externally, for both high and middle-end residential and non-residential buildings. Today, thanks to neo-liberalism, imported materials are easily available and the cheaper ones are sometimes cheaper than their Pakistani equivalents. Also, a whole range of industrially produced imported building materials are available and extensively used. They differ from each other. Their use has increased the cost of construction and finishes although they have not necessarily helped in producing better designed and/or more technically sound buildings. They have also introduced a variety and often discordant surface finishes and issues of scale. However, they have made it easier for architects and developers to copy international designs out of magazines and from their visits to foreign countries.

The contractors I work with today have not come from a building tradition. They have never worked with their hands. They are investors and entrepreneurs. Some are engineers and/or architects, heading small construction firms. For larger projects a number of medium size companies created by enterprising engineers, sometimes backed by investors, have also emerged and are expanding. They seem to be replacing the smaller entities. In addition, their owners are training their children as architects and project managers. A new hereditary contracting system on a turn-key basis is emerging which will have a major impact on the way architectural designs are conceived, implemented, and projects are delivered. Meanwhile, the poor will continue to build as they have in the past, yet, borrowing elements and images from the changes taking place in the higher income areas of the city. And given the multiplicity of clients and isms, there will be more divisions, more disparity and a divided profession. I feel a serious discuss is needed.

Why Men Need Women

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/13/feminism-france-islam-majorite-opprimee-racism

Feminism can save France from Islam: that’s the real message of The gender role reversal video Majorité Opprimée!!
The video superficially purports to target sexism and homophobia. But its essence is class bigotry, racism and misogyny! And thats what LGBT and Feminism vs evolved religious practice don’t like!
ASKING FOR HELP!!
infact!!
what instigated the whole #LGBT discovery? ignorance about its psychology leading to blind activism, acknowledgment, and the whole moronic Facebook otherwise violating all fundamental human to privacy online to make a PROFOUND decision to add more than 50 gender categories to “describe” WEIRDOS WITH TWISTED SEXUAL HISTORY and that has CNN kyra phillips gushing over like their is no tomorrow? FLAUNTING THEIR IDENTITY CRISES down “normal” people!?! Normal being people for whom its easier to say “I need your help”
its the more IDIOTIC FEMINISM movement!

true!! That A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women!

but  a middle-class French man – is patronized, sexually harassed and belittled by women too, as the film portrays!

you know the women’s right to property and contracts (already a Fundamental right in many advanced religious cultures like ISLAM), and voting (WHATEVER THE FUCK DEMOCRACY ACHIEVED FOR THEM???) – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women.(aren’t more women fighting for fertility treatments now??)

Western Feminist campaigns have attempted to change societies, particularly in the West , by achieving women’s suffrage, gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property (obviously basic rights along with a desperate desire to create & lure an alpha male into marriage and having children with strong emotional and stable life!!= happily ever after!!)

TRUE!! Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women (Not entirely successfully considered a basic right of women yet!!)

Feminism is an idiotic collection of movements and ideologies that immaturely aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equality of political, economical, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment (already a Fundamental right in many advanced religious cultures like ISLAM i.e not practiced by barbaric societies like Saudi Arabia/ middle Africa and North Pakistan).

so When Did Feminism Become a Bad Thing leading to production of LGBT and 50 other genders on Facebook?
SO?
Beyonce Knowles, possibly one of the most famous women on the planet, recently said in The Shriver Report that: “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality”

she is absolutely right. Anyone who claims that we live in a society where women don’t automatically face discrimination needs a severe reality check. Take the disparity in wages, for example; according to TUC statistics, on average, women are paid 15% less than men, and this increases to 35% in part-time work.
Feminism is mainly focused on women’s issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, the author bell hooks and other feminists have argued that men’s liberation is a necessary part of feminism and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles! and this is just one of the MANY misconceptions!!

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
Buddha

So?

well its  a question, the answer to which comes down to setting  priorities, finding balance, and showing kindness to HUMANITY. But MONITOR all their questionable mass actions!! Forgiveness can be a powerful means to nurturing & healing, but it does not come naturally for both sexes. similarly, Men and Women React Differently to Kindness!!

a) Men have a harder time forgiving than women do, according to new research. But that can change if men develop empathy toward an offender by seeing they may also be capable of similar actions. Then the gender gap closes, and men become less vengeful.

b) The mere presence of female family members — even infants — can be enough to nudge men in the generous direction.

Some of the world’s most charitable men acknowledge the inspiration provided by the women in their lives. Twenty years ago, when Bill Gates was on his way to becoming the world’s richest man, he rejected advice to set up a charitable foundation. He planned to wait a quarter-century before he started giving his money away, but changed his mind the following year. Just three years later, Mr. Gates ranked third on Fortune’s list of the most generous philanthropists in America. In between, he welcomed his first child: a daughter.
Mr. Gates has reflected that two female family members — his mother, Mary, and his wife, Melinda — were major catalysts for his philanthropic surge.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidi-grant-halvorson-phd/grateful-indebted-relationships_b_983467.html

#Taliban must prove they are #muslims

“If you want to live here, you will have to live by OUR laws and constitution
Otherwise you will not find an inch of land on our soil even for your grave”

by Yasser Latif Hamdani:

My 14 points in response to Taliban’s 15 demands:

1. Surrender.
2. Face trial for your crimes against the state
3. Compensate your victims under Qisas and Diyat.
4. Apologize to the entire world especially Pakistanis.
5. Deposit your weapons with the Pakistan Army
6. Name your handlers both in Pakistan and abroad
7. Rebuild all the schools you blew up.
8. Rebuild all the mosques, churches and Sikh Gurduwaras you blew up.
9. Confess to being child molesters and rapists.
10. Deposit all your funds in the state treasury so that these can be used to build girls schools in your area.
11. Admit that what you did was un-Islamic and against Shariat.
12. Repent
13. Take a shower.
14. Agree to voluntary castration.
15. Recite Kalma in its true spirit and become muslims if u claim to be. Else u r free to practice ur religion (whatever it is).

Some are more equal…

http://www.dawn.com/news/1086863

This is Group psychology, sense of entitlement, and social bullying gone to unhealthy extremes, since childhood  like sits with likes in school, cliques exist with in workplace environments, corrupt breed more corrupt freinds, Unfortunately there is no law against such discrimination. its not JUST the underprivileged, social, ethnic, sectarian and class discrimination exists among all sections of the society at all times of history, wherever this crass notion of superiority versus the other’s ‘inferiority’ exists its wrong, individual acts of kindness and fairness can make a big diffrence.

Karachi on principal shd be made a separate province regardless of this discrimination. Unfortunately there is no law against quota & domicile system in pakistan & social, ethnic, sectarian and class favoritism seeping into public life & and work ethics exists among all sections of the society in pakistan!!

world in the hands of military corporations

Of all things most deadly of technology. Mass weaponry has broken all records in its expansion and achiving desired results.

New world order = American power expansion through mediation and ammo support to armed conflicts around the world = find importance in pak-afghan/saudi arabia/iran conflict = spread of controversial wahabi/deobandi Islam = formation of =Taliban in the name of jihad= find friends in Taliban = removed enemies of Taliban= form a dictatorship in the name of religion supervised by archaic tribal and their uncivilized military dictatorship = shariya of pakhtunwali barbarism in Afghanistan = repeat model in Pakistan and middle east=help the stronger seat of terror in Israel. Happy ever after!!

causes of #homosexuality

Of all arguments for and against homosexuality,  on the basis of religion and science (another religion for some apparently) with none of them actually proven in the favor of it. Here are observational facts.

What Causes Male Homosexuality?
Summary: The psychological and scientific communities provide much speculation but few reliable answers about the causes of same-sex attraction. Our many years of experience suggest a clearer perspective.

Statement From The American Psychological Association (APA)
The official explanation from the APA says that there is no consensus about what causes homosexuality. But we have observed eight predisposing factors that are common in the backgrounds of men with same-sex attraction. [ MORE ]

1. Unhealthy Childhood Relationships With Females
Females can wound young boys by smothering, criticizing, controlling, and ignoring proper boundaries. Some boys who have experienced such wounding develop unhealthy relationships with women in adulthood in which they either push them too far away or hold them too close. [ MORE ]

2. Distorted Concepts of Gender
Unhealthy childhood relationships with females can distort a man’s view of the female gender, affect how he sees himself in relation to women, damage his sense of masculinity, and prevent the natural development of a sense of genderedness. This can leave the individual without a sense of the opposite sex as complementary and attractive. [ MORE ]

3. Feeling Incongruent With One’s Own Gender
Feeling incongruent with what a man believes his gender requires may create a psychologically unstable situation, resulting in the unconscious mind compensating through fixations or attractions toward males and masculinity. [ MORE ]

4. Problems In Relationships With Other Males
During childhood, some boys disconnect from other males due to negative experiences with males, negative stereotypes about males, and fear of being seen as strange. This leaves their normal needs for same-sex connection and bonding unmet, resulting in longings and cravings for male closeness. [ MORE ]

5. Sexual Conditioning
Sexual desire can be conditioned through pairing specific stimuli with sexual arousal. Male-on-male sexual abuse and early exposure to male pornography may create or intensify homosexual arousal for some boys. [ MORE ]

6. Sexual Abuse
In addition to its potential role in conditioning sexual arousal, sexual abuse can create or intensify gender incongruity, disaffiliation from other males, and if the perpetrator is female, fear or hatred of women. It may also create repetitive patterns of compulsive sexual behavior. [ MORE ]

7. Certain Biological and Physical Issues
Research on direct biological and genetic causes of homosexuality is inconclusive. But our experience suggests that certain biological factors can have an important indirect impact by affecting other parts of the developmental pathway. [ MORE ]

8. Certain Emotional and Psychological Problem
Certain emotional and psychological issues may increase the likelihood of developing homosexuality. These issues probably don’t play a causal role, but may intensify the effect of other predisposing factors, particularly gender incongruity, same-sex disaffiliation, sexual conditioning, and sexual abuse. [ MORE ]

#Harvard #law Quran #justice

Harvard recognises Quranic verse as one of the greatest expressions of justice
harvard-law

Cii News | 24 January 2013

Harvard Law School, one of the most prestigious institutions of its kind in the world, has posted a verse of the Holy Quraan at the entrance of its faculty library, describing the verse as one of the greatest expressions of justice in history.

Verse 135 of Surah Al Nisa (The Women) has been posted at a wall facing the faculty’s main entrance, dedicated to the best phrases articulating justice:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted”

According to a Saudi daily, a Saudi student who studies at Harvard first highlighted the development when he published a picture of the display on his Twitter page.

“I noticed that the verse was posted by the faculty of law, which described it as one of the greatest expressions for justice in history,” Abdullah Jumma said.

Established in 1817, Harvard is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. Among its alumni is US President Barack Obama and a host of influential journalists, writers, media and business leaders and even professional athletes.

According to its official website, The Words of Justice exhibition is a testimony of the endurance of humanity’s yearning for fairness and dignity through law. “The words on these walls affirm the power and irrepressibility of the idea of justice.”

There are approximately two dozen quotations on display in the art installation created by the Law School. The three most prominently displayed at the entrance of the art installation, are quotes from St. Augustine, the Holy Quraan and the Magna Carta. According to the Harvard Law School these quotations illustrate the universality of the concept of justice throughout time and cultures.

Quotations were selected from a pool of over 150 contributions from law school faculty, staff and students. Librarians at the Law School Library researched the historical context and authenticity of each quotation and developed a website to share this research with visitors to the art installation.