Urban planning and design is about making connections between people and places, nature and the built fabric of a city. It draws together the many strands of place-making, environment stewardship, social equity and economic viability into the creation of places with distinct beauty and identity.
The Urban Unit, equipped with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, has been a strong proponent of urban sector development and management as the only way towards national development in Pakistan. The Unit has taken the lead in developing legal and regulatory frameworks as well as institutional development in the field of urban and regional Planning, an area that has immense potential for improvement and growth.
The Urban Unit has developed expertise in comprehensive, strategic Master Planning, Peri Urban Structure Planning, Urban Design and Beautification, Façade Uplifting and Restoration, Tourism Planning, Housing, as well as urban sector rules, regulations, and codes. The in-depth understanding of the Urban Unit’s team and its familiarity with Government official procedures and practices has given the company an edge over other private sector companies offering similar services. As an autonomous, technical arm of the Government of the Punjab, the Urban Unit has been capacitating various departments and entities in developing procurement documents related to the sector and reviewing consultancy works. The capacity building initiatives also includes imparting specialized training and urban development courses at the Civil Services Academy and the Cantonment Institute of Management and Land Administration (CIMLA). The Urban Unit has played a pivotal role in re-shaping urban culture by assisting governments in making urban areas functional, attractive and sustainable. The company brings forth planning and design that is seamlessly interwoven through analysis and understanding of specific characters of targeted cities.
Effective and efficient administration of cities relies on sound planning. This planning is result of legitimate and accurate data. Over time, Geographical Information System has emerged as a formalized computer-based information system capable of integrating data from various sources to provide the information necessary for effective decision-making in urban planning.
The Urban Unit use Geographic Information System (GIS) to visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data in order to ensure effective decision making. GIS at the Urban Unit has the capacity and technological resources to integrate, store, analyze, share, and display geographic information for informed decision making. We have developed various GIS applications especially the web-based enterprise level application of IRIS. It is a decision making support tool, through which we ensure the provision of updated and quality information to provincial and local governments. IRIS has developed GIS-enabled spatial database with urban profile, land use mapping, infrastructure, and service delivery profile for Punjab cities.
The Urban Unit is working on the economics of cities and the many policies and factors that determine city structure and performance, such as land use restrictions, local labor markets, agglomeration economies, trade and transportation infrastructure. Urban Economics concentrates on the economic relationships and processes that contribute to the important spatial characteristics of urban and regional economies. The economics team of the Urban Unit focuses on the impacts of spatial agglomeration, local competitive advantage and future opportunities of local areas due to wider demographic and economic trends. We also provide urban economic analysis, economic modelling, demographic analysis, strategic planning, cost-benefit/economic impact analysis, cluster analysis and strategic land use and transport planning.
ICT & GIS
21st century is the era of knowledge management - a process which is systematic and based on active management of ideas, information, and knowledge residing within organizations and institutions. There is information, data and institutional memory and knowledge available that is not being fully transformed into organization learning for improved decision-making and governance of cities. Re-conceptualizing the idea and discourse of development planning and decision making with transparency for building on the existing local knowledge; the knowledge management is key expertise of the Urban Unit with all solutions. The ‘Urban Unit Learning Resource Centre’ is significant demonstration of translating ideas into practice. The center acts as an information and learning forum that provides an opportunity to cope with urban development challenges through research and information dissemination to stakeholders.
Water Supply and Sanitation Department at the Urban Unit aims to provide technical and professional support and consultancy services to provincial and local government entities and private sector in Pakistan and overseas for provision of water supply and sanitation for the attainment of Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. The sector works to provide efficient legal, regulatory and institutional arrangements for self-sustaining water supply, sanitation and wastewater treatment services. The sector also provides consultancy support services to clients for master planning, system design, third party validation, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and Citizen Report Card for water supply and sewerage sector projects integrated with the GIS system.
The sector employs various approaches including handholding for public-private partnership, community and business partnership and engagement and design for innovative technical solutions as per client needs for sustainable water supply and sanitation systems in cities and rural areas for top-notch value addition and services.
Solid Waste Management sector comprises of waste management specialists and experts trained from the most competitive institutions of the world. At the Urban Unit, we believe that it is imperative to provide sustenance to human and environmental health so the organization emphasizes on sustainable and efficient waste management practices. While establishing plans, policies and provisions, we aim at preserving a balanced approach among environmental, economic and community needs, with a special focus on cost effective, efficient and innovative ISWM solutions.
SWM remains a major challenge in urban areas across Pakistan as is the case with the rest of the world. Out Solid Waste Management solutions include all administrative, financial, legal, planning and engineering functions that can cater to the related problems. These involve complex interdisciplinary relationships among fields such as political science, city and regional planning, geography, economics, public health, sociology, demography, communications and conservation as well as engineering and material sciences.
Keeping pace with our previous interventions, an Air Quality Monitoring Sensor has been developed at the Urban Unit utilizing the capabilities of its professional team. This sensor can detect the following gases in the air: CO, CO2, NH3, NO2, O2, VOC (PM10, PM2.5 etc.). It has the capacity to be installed remotely, while it can send data to our servers using 4G network from all over Pakistan. The cost of this sensor is low, so instead of relying on US based agency to tell us our AQI, we can now do it ourselves. This low cost sensor has been designed to monitor air quality for homes, businesses, public places, roads and neighborhoods. The data from these sensors will be used to track large scale trends and perform other complex analysis for informed decision making and policy level input. The Urban Unit is determined to decrease the chances of harm, air pollution may cause to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, and may damage the natural or built environment.