Pakistan Urban Forum
Materializing the dream of introducing and hosting Urban Forum in Pakistan sustainably over the years, the Urban Unit held 1st Pakistan Urban Forum PUF I in Lahore in 2011. The event was conceived as a platform to address the different challenges facing Urban Pakistan, of which a burgeoning urban population and its ramifications on urban planning and development was paramount.
Following its success, the Urban Unit and the Directorate of Urban Policy and Strategic Planning, Planning and Development Department, Government of Sindh, co-hosted the second Pakistan Urban Forum PUF II in Karachi in January 2014, which was held in conjunction with the South Asia Cities Conference 2014. The event brought together community activists, government officials, professionals, students and experts in fields of urban planning and development, from Pakistan and abroad, to continue the discussion around the theme “Managed Urbanization: the Road to National Development”.
PUF I and PUF II drew, on average, close to fifteen hundred people per day in various concurrent events including technical sessions, round table discussion sessions, plenary sessions and guest lectures. Each technical session was attended by around three hundred people, and more than fifty people took part in roundtable discussions. In addition, the Forum organized launch events and a five-day exhibition of products and projects related to the urban sector.
Of the many insightful and pioneering developments to result from the Pakistan Urban Forum, the launch of IRIS Punjab - a GIS based information management system is significant. A decision support tool and a holistic e-governance solution - IRIS Punjab facilitates integrated urban information systems that has paved the way for effective policy and planning at provincial and local government levels.
The third reiteration of Pakistan Urban Forum PUF III with the theme “Reimagining Pakistan’s Cities for the 21st Century” was yet another opportunity to bring together participants from Pakistan and abroad who were seeking a better urban future, including government officials, urban sector experts, public and private sector professionals, development agencies, non-governmental and grassroots organizations, academics, and students. These Forums undertook a range of activities during the forum events to achieve vibrant discussion on research and policy work, events and outreach, publications and information, slideshows & documentaries, and video conferencing with leading urban sector experts.