Tall buildings are a cancer?

Sometime back, we reported Karachi was going to have its own twin towers on II Chundrigar road. The project is now in danger of being scrapped altogether because of, and get this, the CM does not agree to it, likening tall buildings to a cancer on the city!!!

How’s that for an arbitrary reason! Progress being shut down for political gain, pretty much what this city(country) has been facing ever since conception :S

Click here for the article (in urdu), which i think appeared in Daily Ummat.

A seperate discussion thread is running on SkyScraperCity here.

Story Credit: SWA

28 Comments so far

  1. wasiq (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 2:54 am

    Feb 06 2:49 am [ 2561 posts ] 25177 comments

    welcome back KMB….

  2. mansoor (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 2:56 am

    lol wasiq! we’re not going any where man :D

  3. MB (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 3:40 am

    CM is both WRONG & RIGHT.

    Wrong in a sense that if things are planned properly, development is suppose to be a solution to many problems, building construction in this case. In cities where there may be an issue with land you can have tall buildings covering less with the ground. Also this will definitely generate great activity but we should consider many factors, especially in our case & environment.

    But given that fact that Karachi, specially the inner core has literally been converted into a Gutter of tall blocks, thanks to our corrupt builders and equal dishonest officials, I strongly propose not having these SKY”CRAPPERS”. We should remember what happened in Turkey few years back? Cannot just turn a blind eye saying an earth quake is in no ones hand.

    So Skyscrapers will just addition to the mess instead of proving a solution. Number of people in any given area will increase but as there is no parallel improvement in facilities people are facing water & electricity crisis more often these days along with garbage and broken roads everywhere.

    We need to expand Karachi from its outer limits, making sure we provide them proper facilities as well else the population will again try to reside in inner core coz after all they are humans. They want to have access to schools, for their kids, easy access to their offices, markets etc along with proper facilities. And the traffic has made it even more difficult now for people even at average distances.

  4. talal (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 4:11 am

    skyscrapers are the symbol of capitalism. It was a new concept in west few decades ago and still is. Pakistan is experiencing the similar time. The monetary power in our society is very well represented by the mcb tower and the habib bank plaza. Architecture has always been a victim of the most influential institution of the society in a particular epoch. In 5th century religion was dictating the architecture, In renaissance period arts/science and superamacy of individuals, after industrial revolution technology, in todays time, capitalism dictates it.
    lesson from the story is that: skyscrapers are inevitable in the society where money rules and it will happen at a faster pace in karachi if not now than in the years to come. Until and unless the society takes a different approach in terms of its ecnomics and politics.

    whether its a good or bad, is a different issue.

    karachi needs some master master master planning (not only in urbanization but in all the important institutions of the society), otherwise i can imagine the end of its story, i dont know what do you guys think?!?!

    i feel sorry to say that but thats what i perceive from its current conditons and future developments in progress.

  5. Pak_Stallion (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 8:12 am

    Sorry Mr. CM but I think you are a total moron and an enemy of Pakistan if you are suggesting against Pakistan’s development. And tall buildings are not the outcome of capitalism. Capitalism will exist with or without it. It is an efficient way to utilize urban space. The CM should be simply terminated and some enlightened person should be assigned. Look what other “MUSLIMS” are doing for their nations to compete the west… Oh man when are we going to get on the right track…






  6. Pak_Stallion (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    Sorry Mr. CM but I think you are a total moron and an enemy of Pakistan if you are suggesting against Pakistan’s development. And tall buildings are not the outcome of capitalism. Capitalism will exist with or without it. It is an efficient way to utilize urban space. The CM should be simply terminated and some enlightened person should be assigned. Look what other “MUSLIMS” are doing for their nations to compete the west… Oh man when are we going to get on the right track…






  7. MB (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 9:10 am

    No one denies the value of those skyscrapers but you have to consider some ground realities my dear. The advocates of these skyscrapers forget that those example stay impractical in our situation where rules and regulation and formalities are not fulfilled. Just pasting few links regarding them is not enough. The CM is a stupid a***. Someone teach him the definition of progress. Without proper buildings for housing and commercial purpose we cannot progress.

    You pasted few links with photos of these undoubtedly beautiful cities but you forgot to paste the standards they maintained when they went for those stunts. If you still don’t get it i will recommended you watching DISCOVERY’s documentary on Singapore. Would you believe there are clips in that documentary as early as 1965 and it shows Singapore as our own Liyari. So what was the magi that turned it around. Its worth digging into it.

    I would love to see any expert discussing this. Technical facts would be a great help.

  8. MB (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 9:21 am

    Do read this latest one by AC. Its interesting. After reading it you would understand why even the most easiest & simple schemes fail here & we dream about making Khi a skyscraper city. If CDGK can maintain a standard, fine. Else Karachiites would consider this just another method to get commission, along with road construction tenders.

  9. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 9:53 am


    The said twin towers are from a Private Venture firm , its not a product of CDGK.

  10. Kamran (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 9:57 am

    Get in touch with reality folks and try to find out what happened to those sky-scrapers. Sears tower is almost completely vacant and so is Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.I know this since been there, seen that. In fact except the shaghai towers ( I don’t know about it) all other very tall buildings have become white elephants with extremely high maintanance costs and no real benefit except of course the boasting rights. Is that what we want in Pakistan?
    Buildings don’t represent development. In fact in any nation’s development index, buildings-tall or short are not even considered. What is important is how many people have health care coverage? How many people have decent, affordable housing? Are we able to provide decent schooling to every child? What happens to those poor souls who retire after a lifetime of service? etc etc. In fact the world’s # 1 rated country to live is not the one with any sky-scrapers but has all the other things I mentioned above. Try visiting UN and WHO websites to see for yourselves.

  11. karachiite (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    The issue is this: would preventing skyscrapers in Karachi suddenly result in increased funding for healthcare, education and other good things? The answer is NO, because the private sector is constructing the buildings and it is the government that is responsible for the social sector spending.

    Although the loss of having skyscrapers is almost non-existent the benefit is immediately apparent.

    1) Karachi has no A class office space. Companies setting up in Karachi, specially international companies, go through a nightmare trying to find quality office space. I.I. Chundrigar Road is the Wall Street of Pakistan, but it has no decent buildings.

    2) The boost is confidence because of having 50-60 story skyscrapers will be enormous for the city and the country. Success attracts success. Once Karachi is perceived to be a ‘happening place’ all kinds of investors will jump in to invest in areas beyond real estate.

    3) There will be increased tax revenue generated that can go towards education, health etc.

    4) These buildings will be built by international companies as the expertise is lacking locally. This means that there will be a major increase in quality of construction in Pakistan.

    5) Jobs and more jobs.

    Beyond the immediate costs and benefits of the projects, the question is why are some govt. departments holding up major projects that have been approved by the federal and city governments? Is it because of valid reasons, in which case these should be explained to the public, or is it because of laziness or greed?

  12. mansoor (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 10:56 am

    karachiites point are all valid IMO.

    One of the facts we often forget to consider are the ancillary benefits.

    Success begets success. You can judge that for yourselves, citing the number of investors setting up shop here after all the ‘branding’ the mushy govt is doing.

  13. MB (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

    Its obvious that its not by CDGK dear. If they want to list down skyscrapers in next election and display it to public to get votes then i doubt it will work. Otherwise no one is denying skyscrapers in theory. There needs to be a lot of consideration done before they go for it. What if this gov. is ousted. Who will have to pay the ultimate price if any mismanagement is done now .You & me. Dont you see the proof of my point in traffic. What about the parking space for this hundreds of offices. You can go upward for people. How much same is true for traffic. How earth proof those buildings will be in case of disaster. Instead of that why not focus on expanding Karachi with or without skyscrapers .

    KARACHIITE has got some excellent & valid points but again, they are good to hear BOOK lines. Please consider ground realities too. If one thinks Skyscrapers would make us an investment heaven you will have to check again. What about the difficulties the investor face after investing billions. This gov. will make all the false promises & the next one will cancel the deal as honoring words is absent in our dictionary. Law & order is another big factor.

    So definitely Skyscrapers are not a cancer but they are definitely more dangerous than that if not built properly. Gov. should in fact, if i am not over ambitious make a Skyscraper park outside Karachi by inviting tenders worth trillions & let it roll all the activity of this city while continuing on the routine work. It will not only be possible to make new land plans with proper designs but would be helpful not to repeat previous mistakes. Also it wont disturb inner cities life too. Thats my point.

  14. Anathema (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

    good idea and bad.


    1. a tall building means further traffic and parking issues
    2. further water shortages

    bad: we really could use it to develop this business centre.

  15. MB (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

    I guess you said it oppositely…or were you sarcastic ?

  16. Anathema (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

    i meant its a good idea the CM does not agree. becuz if we do have these two tall buildings, the traffic congestion levevl and water shortage level at IIC will woren further. so we can do without.

    Its a bad idea by the CM becuz the area could use landmark buildings.

  17. SWA (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 1:21 am

    First off, thanks for KMB for carrying the story I suggested, hats off to you guys.

    Second, all those crying negative to this development, lemme address your fears:

    – This development is being done by a foreign company WITH THEIR OWN MONEY and therefore it will be pumping money to our economy

    – It will provide jobs to a LOT of people during its construction, not to mention the jobs it will provide as a result of the image boost that Karachi will receive and the investment that will occur here as a result.

    – It will be constructed according to international building codes, meaning, it will be constructed to standards higher than any presently existing building in the city.

    – It has parking space underground and on three whole podium levels for more than 1800 cars. Now I dont think that will make the traffic situation any bad.
    Regardless, the solution to traffic problem isnt to stop comercial development. It is to install Mass Transit. We shouldnt think backwards guys, WHAT is WRONG with you!!

    Karachi is the only mega city left without any properly constructed sky scraper now. Our city is HUGE and is expanding outwards. There is not much space left in the center of the city and skyscrapers are the only answer sooner or later. Its best that this one sets a good example earlier on than some shoddy construction later.

    WE NEED to have some modern icons in the city to be proud of as well. After all, dwelling in history doesnt last too long. You just end up getting left behind in the world.

    Why the CM didnt allow this project to go to full height is the most ABSURD reason I have heard in my life. This is not the way to regulate things that even the city authorities have allowed. It only means that you are trying to keep Karachi down and away from development. Face the music guys: EVEN LAHORE IS GETTING A 75 STORY TOWER! Karachi is going to be left behind once again in Pakistan and all buisness will go elsewhere in the country!

    PLEASE DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO PROTEST AGAINST THIS NON-SENSICAL DECISION BY THE CM. Write to your media contacts, newspapers, etc. After all, it is only up to us to defend this city’s future.

  18. mansoor (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 1:47 am

    anathema: taking both sides of the coin are we?

    i’m with swa on this, STOPPING is not the answer, its running away.. get the facilities around it in order, not turn the massive investment away.

  19. swa (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    Re-stressing again: The city authorities approved it, so why does the SINDH CM have a problem with it??? The only reason is that he doesnt WANT Karachi to progress!

  20. MB (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 9:20 am

    If we have all the values in positive for this long list of “It will” & “It has”… by SWA then my VOTE is for SKYSCRAPER. But SWA does say the same that :
    ” There is not much space left in the center of the city ”
    So why not have these SS outside or at outer limits. By the way having a car parking for 1800 cars doesn’t mean we got solution. You forgot that cars are supposed to be driven. If we have just 10-20 such SS with car parkings then basically you are adding 20-30000 cars onto the traffic. Think about that. Removal of all illegal constructions near roads, including removal of tajawuzaat (with proper replacements ) and KCR, MASS TRANSIT, overheads and underpasses would be the starting point for an all out attack. Meaning starting to build SS. But not with current ground realities. As i have been saying all along.

  21. Anathema (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    @ mansoor: not taking sides. presenting two sides of an argument. isnt that was debating is about?

    im against it. 1800 cars is comepltely insufficient. twin towers. will accomodate apprximately 100 people on each floor (and thats being as pessimistic as possible). if thats approximately 25 floors, then thats 2500 people. even if not 2500 people bring cars, and 1800 do,, then ure stocked up. what about teh balance

    and what about the water shortage? how are resolving that? ive been on IIC three and a quarter eyars and i cannot express teh water problem enough.

    fine. we’re lagging. but at a social cost. fine lahore is getting a building. fine. whatever. but. if that has irreversable social costs then im better off without one. if thisbuildig means more people whtout parking spaces, and more water shrotage in the area then really i fail to see how havibng a landmark will be such beautiful thing.

    narrow-mindedness is seeing “anathema taking both sides of the coin” (really mansoor. when did u become so shallow?) but u must weigh the pros and cons before deciding the good and bad

    and in any case. what does my voice matter. im just presenting an argument. i fail to see how the two buildings will be such a social blessing.

  22. mansoor (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

    anathema: it is debatable, but i was always under the impression that in a debate, one takes either of the two sides, not both.

    let me ask something… keeping in view the halaat of IIC road as it is now, what would you suggest be done? Let it be and hope everything clears up magically itself? The duty of the govt. is to ensure facilities are provided for the benefit of the people, which includes roads, parking (in some cases), water, gas and all.

    Electricty is now a seperate concern since after being privatized, it is no longer in the hands of the govt.

    It is the responsiblity of the citizen to generate economic activity whereever/whenever they can, so as to benefit society (in terms of providing jobs and livelyhood) themselves (standard of living etc) and the state (taxes).

    Living in the same frame of mind, and not progressing leads to stagnant lives, and eventually self-imposed death.

    Coming in from another angle, necessity is always the mother of invention (i hope you agree to atleast this). When there will be a necessity, things will gradually improve, when things are just enough or even barely enough, there will always be a status-quo.

  23. Concerned (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

    Bottom line the CM is stupid.

  24. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on February 7th, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

    Regardless of Skyscrapers are good or bad. Let’s have a good laugh at the reason CM used to turned down the development “allowing this will create a plethora of such developments”

  25. Anathema (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 12:06 am

    how many of us are aware that the hge railway property plot opposite the IIC GPO is now being handed to a GCC construction commpany to construct 7 greenbelt towers? when those towers could easily be constructed as parking lot buildings charging a nominal fee of about PKR 500 per car per month. ure solving a major parkinng issue. and also not worryig bout the other amenities that will not be available.

    i fail to see how the skyscrapers will benefit society

  26. Sufi (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 2:28 am

    I like skyscrappers..

    just the sight of our cm ticks me off :/

  27. MB (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 3:30 am

    Sorry Mansoor but I will have to add to Anathema. And here is why :-

    keeping in view the halaat of IIC road as it is now, what would you suggest be done?
    We are not experts. We are concerned citizens about the apparent difficulties we shall be facing when we shall have SS. So let the experts come up with a solution.We can only present a very basic & layman view, at least me. The gov. along with the experts, if they have will can sure come up with a solution. Watch Discovery’s Extreme engineering for few impossible tasks being achieved by great minds.

    Electricty is now a seperate concern since after being privatized, it is no longer in the hands of the govt.
    That’s the cry is about. Matters where the gov. should take respobsibility, they are trying to throw that responsibility on private (electricity, steel mill etc.) away or are absolutely blind about it (health & education)

    Living in the same frame of mind, and not progressing leads to stagnant lives, and eventually self-imposed death.
    And jumping into innovation (calling it progress) without planning makes sure a Society’s death. How about that ?. What ever the theoretical economic benefits you list. They don’t out weigh the disaster that would be in the making if they are built improperly with history supporting our view strongly. Now you just cannot push it at a side saying we should not live in history etc. coz history, especially ours does reflect the intention of our gov. as well as the builders. You & I will some day be in that office or apartment & not these officials or builders. And ANATHEMA has already stressed on water issues. The home & office that I am in both have 24 hours water available but fankly when any issue comes up toh mujhey moat aati hai ye jaan ker ki paani nahi hai. And this water is just one example. There are many others.

    When there will be a necessity, things will gradually improve
    Sorry change it to…….When there will be necessity, things will gradually change. But change may not be necessary for improvement.

    But still having said all this. I still say YES to SS’s in Karachi (mentioned in previous comment) just to prove that i am for PROGRESS. In fact those who know me personally would tell you i am an over emphasizer for progress but it’s just that it makes me sick thinking SS will be built inside in main areas.

  28. Anathema (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

    i am for progress. in fact some of my erlier arguments on this blog made people feel i lack religious and other ethics.

    but. MB has put exactly into words what i failed to.

    These towers can be landmark, the way Creek City and Creek Marina will be. just that IIC is really the last place where these towers will actually be more of a bane than a boon.

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