Navigating The Grid In The ‘World-Class City’ —Findings From Lahore And Colombo

19 January 2024

January 19, 2024
Location: VC Lounge, LUMS

In the past two decades, planners, policymakers, and property-speculators – have expended considerable effort to reimagine and remake South Asian cities as ‘world class.’ Yet these years have seen a deepening of the urban pathologies that such efforts ostensibly seek to redress. The poor are not simply left behind in the rush to create a world-class city; rather, world class city making initiatives often exacerbate problems in accessing urban resources and infrastructural services, particularly for the marginalised. This event is an attempt to shed light on the contradictory, and deeply unequal, consequences of world-class city making across two sites – Lahore and Colombo. By drawing on findings from archival, ethnographic, and life-story research, we share the myriad ways in which inequities are generated and exacerbated by urban infrastructural interventions, and simultaneously, how these transformations are negotiated by the urban and peri-urban poor.

This event is free and open to the public.
Limited seats. Register here:

Event Schedule:

5:15 pm – 5:30 pm

Welcome and Refreshments

5:30 pm – 6:05 pm

Screening: Being Here (33 minutes) – A film by Sharni Jayawardena, with Asha Abeyasekera, Vraie Balthazaar, Iromi Perera “Follows the lives of four working class women and the place they call home – Colombo. The film explores the realities of living in a city aspiring for ‘world class’ status.”

6:05 – 6:30 pm

Presentation: Inequality in a sprawling city – the case of Lahore’s urban Villages by Hala Bashir Malik, Umair Javed, Fizzah Sajjad

6:30 – 7:10 pm

Discussion/Q&A with Iromi Perera (Colombo Urban Lab), Asha Abeyasekera (University of York), Vraie Balthazaar (Law and Society Trust), Dileepa Witharana (Open University of Sri Lanka),
Hala Bashir Malik (Hyper-Practice/IDEAS), Fizzah Sajjad (IDEAS/LSE), Umair Javed (LUMS/IDEAS) Moderator: Ammara Maqsood (UCL)

7:10 – 7:30 pm

Closing remarks by Professor Jonathan Spencer (University of Edinburgh)