Mapping and spatial modelling techniques can be used to describe the complex nature of the city as a system that grows, evolves, and responds to the presence and activities of its residents. In the case of Karachi, one of Pakistan’s economic hubs, one such pivotal group were the Muhajir community, Partition era urban migrants who change the composition of the city upon their arrival therein. These spatial models allowed for a multi-layered methodological approach in an environment where there was/is a scarcity of up-to-date data and data had been aggregated at a broad scale leading to generalisations. These limitations with regard to useable detailed datasets led to the use of alternative data sources for further nuanced exploration. Using multiple data sources including official masterplans and electoral and censorial datasets as well as secondary or grey literature to build a complex socio-spatial history for the community, the study examined the impact the Muhajir community had on the growth and development of the city.
About the speaker: Sadaf Sultan Khan is an architect and currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Cities Cluster, working on Inclusive urbanism and Urban Land Nexus in East African cities. Her work has previously explored the socio-spatial impact of migrant presence and activities in the city.