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IIED – The Urban Resource Centre, Karachi

The Urban Resource Centre, Karachi: The roles of local organisations in poverty reduction and environmental management, 2008 (pdf, 542KB) by Arif Hasan.

The Urban Resource Centre is a Karachi-based NGO founded by teachers, professionals, students, activists and community organisations from low-income settlements. It was set up in response to the recognition that the planning process for Karachi did not serve the interests of low- and lower-middle-income groups, small businesses and informal sector operators and was also creating adverse environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The Urban Resource Centre has sought to change this through creating an information base about Karachi’s development on which everyone can draw; also through research and analysis of government plans (and their implications for Karachi’s citizens), advocacy, mobilisation of communities, and drawing key government staff into discussions. This has created a network of professionals and activists from civil society and government agencies who understand planning issues from the perspective of these communities and other less powerful interest groups. This network has successfully challenged many government plans that are ineffective, over-expensive and anti-poor and has promoted alternatives. It shows how the questioning of government plans in an informed manner by a large number of interest groups, community organisations, NGOs, academics, political parties and the media can force the government to listen and to make modifications to its plans, projects and investments. Comparable urban resource centres have also been set up in other cities in Pakistan and also in other nations.

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