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Paper on Design of Housing Schemes.docx
  Pak. J. Engg. & Appl. Sci. Vol. 12, Jan., 2013 (p. 143-158) Residents ’  Perception and Analysis of the Contemporary   Neighbourhood Design Practices in Lahore, Pakistan   Obaidullah Nadeem 1 , Rizwan Hameed 1 , S. Shabih-ul-Hassan Zaidi 1 , Sajjad Haydar  2 , Husnain Haider  3 , Humaira Tabassum 1  1. Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. E-mail: 2. Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. 3. School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, BC Canada. Abstract    Neighbourhood design has been of special interest to the Planners and allied professionals since long. Review of the relevant literature revealed persistent debate on its size and design concepts. In the pursuit of designs for comfortable, safe and environment friendly living, the contemporary designers have presented various concepts. This paper first explores the most frequently suggested neighbourhood design features and develops a list of 21 design features locally considered as important to influence the perception of residents. It then analyzes the contemporary residential neighbourhood design practices in Lahore Pakistan using eight randomly selected neighbourhoods and questionnaire survey of nearly four hundred residents. The study finds that whilst a mix of  gridiron and rectilinear patterns somewhat akin to traditional street design is in vogue in Lahore, a majority of residents is satisfied with many of the design features. However, there is a need to enhance the provisions for social interaction and safe movement of pedestrians. Further, consultations with all the stakeholders are necessary to develop a locally suitable neighbourhood design concept. Findings of this study also suggest that high level of satisfaction of the residents can be achieved more with meeting their expectations even by providing low density land sub-divisions. Consideration of  prospective resident   s’   socio-economic background and nature of development in their areas of srcin are more important than simply following the design features trumpeted in the literature as good neighbourhood designs.   Key Words :  Neighbourhood Design Concepts; Housing Schemes; Lahore; Pakistan. 1. Introduction   geographers and even for social reformers espe since Howard proposed the idea of garden city A neighbourhood may be described as a small division of a city or sub-urban area which predominantly provides a residential environment and allied facilities for a small population. The neighbourhood size in terms of population may range from 2500 to 25000  persons. But in practice, this term is used for any area comprising a group of dwelling units having identifiable boundaries and community facilities to fulfil the daily needs of residing families [3, 15]. Thus, there are no hard and fast rules for the physical size or area and population of neighbourhood. The concept of neighbourhood with respect to its size and design has been of interest to the town planners, architects, engineers, sociologists, cially [15, 31]. Excessive use of automobiles for daily movement and suburbanization during the 20 th and 21 st centuries resulted in several problems. Some of those most frequently discussed in the literature on city  planning and neighbourhood design include: increased distances, lack of social interaction, sense of community, and security, increased environmental  pollution, and health problems etc. [6, 11, 17, 19]. Such type of problems paved the way for designing walkable or pedestrianized neighbourhoods [1, 19, 33]. Pedestrian access to neighbourhood level activities like elementary schools, health clinics, parks,  playgrounds and convenience shops is often considered as an indicator of urban quality [10].  Pak. J. Engg. & Appl. Sci. Vol.12, Jan., 2013    Designing pedestrianized streets, locating parks and shopping areas at walking distance may increase  possibility of interaction with neighbours. Moreover, walking is found to increase social interaction within the neighbourhood [23]. However, the quality of pedestrian access as opposed to the distance to neighbourhood level public facilities is of crucial importance. If the access route is not properly designed to protect the pedestri+ans from extreme climatic conditions, particularly during hot summer, this may not encourage walking, social interaction and a sense of community. On the other hand, some studies suggest that walkability may not be directly related to the sense of community in a neighbourhood as does the purpose of walking [34]. Of course, walkability is not the only indicator of urban quality at neighbourhood level. Review of literature revealed a number of other design features which contribute to quality aspects of neighbourhoods. Thus some authors suggest that a neighbourhood unit should be socially and environmentally sustainable not only in terms of provision and location of residential accommodation, public facilities, commercial areas and utility services but also in terms of its population density [5, 9]. Whilst, high residential density may cause social problems, it enhances the accessibility of public facilities [35]. In this regards, the New Urbanism movement supports the designing of high density, mixed use walkable as well as public transport based neighbourhoods to achieve social cohesion and environmental sustainability [27, 29]. Another concept of eco-towns propagates the designing of environment friendly towns or neighbourhoods with zero-carbon buildings [2,8]. Studies highlighting the significance of various other design features can also be found in the literature, however, Box 1 presents the most frequently suggested key features of quality neighbourhood design. Research involving simply the assessment of all of these design features as gleaned from the literature in terms of provision, accessibility, and quality in a neighbourhood may not be pragmatic. As [24] found that the physical design of a built environment may have influence on the feelings, thinking and even actions of its residents. Box 1. Most frequently suggested neighbourhood design features   Walkability  Public facilities located within 5 to 10 minute walking distance Pedestrian friendly streets with footpaths and tree lining Car free streets where necessary Slow speed streets with traffic calming measures On-street parking Hidden parking lots Houses having front car porches Buildings, windows and porches close to streets Connectivity of Streets  Hierarchy of boulevards, streets and alleys Interconnected street grid network to distribute traffic Properly designed main road junctions with traffic islands Mixed Land Uses and Diversity  Mixed uses within residential blocks Mixed sizes of residential and commercial plots and building types Mixed used commercial cum apartment buildings Mixed uses within buildings Diversity of people from all income groups, ages and cultures Maximum opportunities for social interaction Quality Architecture and Urban Design Central placement of civic uses and community buildings within the neighbourhood Quality of human comfort and a sense of place in design of public areas Quality of urban aesthetics by beautifully landscaped surroundings Human scale architecture of public buildings Sustainability  Minimum environmental impact of development and its operations Minimum cooling and lighting load through careful orientation of buildings and landscaping Use of energy efficient lighting  Use of locally manufactured energy efficient building material Minimum waste generation and preparation of solid waste management plan Operation and Maintenance  Self governance through community organization Independent decision making Generation of own financial resources for operation and maintenance of neighbourhood Self managed operation and maintenance system of infrastructure and utility services Source: [10, 12, 16, 22, 27 34]. 144  Residents ’   Perception and Analysis of the Contemporary Neighbourhood Design Practices in Lahore, Pakistan   Similarly, we cannot completely ignore the perception of residents about neighbourhood design features. Thus, it sounds more logical that evaluation of neighbourhoods on the basis of design features commonly found in the literature must be supplemented with the perception of residents about how far they are satisfied with certain design features of their respective neighbourhoods. This study examines the contemporary neighbourhood design practices in Lahore. For this purpose, the design pattern and circulation system of the selected neighbourhoods have been critically analyzed in the light of international design practices. In addition, the resident s’  perceptions about various designs features and the problems they are facing in their respective neighbourhoods have also been evaluated thus enabling us to identify improvement measures  particularly in local context. This study is believed to be of importance not only because it aims to contribute to the current debate on neighbourhood design concepts but also due to the fact that research on the current practices of residential neighbourhood design in Lahore is scanty. In the later context, the findings of this study would be of interest to neighbourhood designers, planning officials and the residents alike. The next section describes the methods adopted and the data collected for this research. The third section introduces the case study area (Lahore) and the selected neighbourhoods. The fourth section presents critical analysis of major design components of these neighbourhoods. These are augmented with the resident s’  perceptions/satisfaction level about various features of their respective neighbourhoods in the following sections. The final section presents conclusion of the study. 2. Research Methodology   The premise of this paper is to determine resident s’  perception about the quality of neighbourhood design. For this purpose, various research articles and other sources of literature such as books and websites were studied to identify the most frequently suggested features of a good neighbourhood design. A review of the LDA record revealed that there were more than two hundred residential housing schemes/neighbourhoods in the Lahore metropolitan area. Soft copies (scanned images) of 195 private housing schemes available with the LDA were obtained [18]. The detailed layout plans of almost all of the schemes have been prepared using a mix of gridiron and rectilinear pattern. Following this, eight neighbourhoods (locally called as private housing schemes) located towards the southern periphery of the Metropolitan City of Lahore were selected randomly. Names of the selected neighbourhoods have been kept confidential, since these are private housing schemes and disclosing the names may affect their business. The data/information pertaining to design characteristics were derived by analyzing detailed layout plans of the neighbourhoods, field observations and holding brief discussions with the members of their respective management committees. For field observations, a neighbourhood design characteristics checklist was devised which was divided into ten sections comprising of more than sixty questions. Main sections of the checklist were related to site characteristics, land use breakup and layout features, circulation system, location and provision of community facilities, commercial areas, utility services, hard and soft landscape elements etc. A questionnaire survey of 50 residents from each of the eight neighbourhoods was planned to be conducted to know their perception/ satisfaction level about various design features of their respective neighbourhood. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the residents for interview. In this sampling technique every  member of the target population has equal probability of selection [26]. As far as the sample size is concerned, though the population of case study neighbourhood varies but it is by and large homogenous in nature. Considering similarity of responses and minimum valid sample size (N=30) for normal distribution, a target of 50 interviews from each neighbourhood was set, as suggested in literature on social research methods [21]. However, some of the randomly selected residents were not willing to give their opinion, thus making a total sample size of 363 residents from 8 neighbourhoods. The questionnaire also sought their views on the degree of social interaction, causes of little social 145  Pak. J. Engg. & Appl. Sci. Vol.12, Jan., 2013 interaction (where applicable), and changes to be made in the neighbourhood design to improve social interaction and safe pedestrian movement. The questionnaire also included 21 important features of the neighbourhood design, mainly relating to the provision and accessibility of community facilities, provisions for pedestrians and vehicles, street furniture, soft landscape elements etc. (See Box 2). These features were identified on the  basis of our extensive interaction with planners working in planning agencies of the Punjab  province, communication with neighbourhood developers and informal discussions on numerous occasions with residents of planned neighbourhoods in Lahore. Box 2. Neighbourhood design features/ community facilities studied to explore residents ’ per ception   Community Facilities  Primary school location & access to it Secondary school location & access to it Health clinic location and access to it Sub-neighbourhood cent. location & access to it Town centre location & access to it Arrangement of activities in town centre Parks and Playgrounds  Provision of playgrounds Children playground location & access to it  Neighbourhood park location & access to it Provisions for Pedestrians and Vehicles Provision and width of footpaths Pedestrian crossing facilities Measures to reduce traffic speed Parking facility outside school Parking facility in town centre Street Furniture and Soft Landscape   Elements  Provision of street lights Provision of waste bins in the town centre Landscaping of town park Landscaping along the roads/streets Landscaping in other public areas Provisions for Social Interaction and Security  Provision of places for social interaction Security arrangements within the town Source: Author  s’  own construct based on literature,  personal experience and discussion with residents. Whilst many of these features are somewhat similar to those enlisted in Box 1, these are locally considered as important indicators of the quality of 146 neighbourhood design which may influence the satisfaction level of the residents. In order to facilitate data analysis, a five point Likert scale was used to determine the satisfaction level of residents ranging from highly satisfactory to highly unsatisfactory. The overall trend of resident s’  perception is also determined by assigning index scores to the each satisfaction level of the interviewees. The percentages of responses against each category for each design feature of neighbourhood are presented in the form of horizontal bar charts (Figures 2-6). Since this is categorical data, the most typical summary measure for this type of data is the percentage or number of cases in each category [32]. These are helpful in comprehending the pattern of satisfaction/ perception at a glance.  3. Introduction to the Case Study   Neighbourhoods   The case study neighbourhoods are situated in the city of Lahore. It is the second largest city of Pakistan (Figure 1). According to the 1981 and 1998 census, its population was 2.952 and 5.144 million respectively. The current estimated population has increased to 6.748 million [4]. This explosion of population has exponentially increased the housing demand in the city. The governmen t’ s housing and planning agencies have failed to meet the existing housing demand not only in Lahore but also in the country [14]. As a corollary to this, the private sector has stepped in to develop residential neighbourhoods (housing schemes) at various locations in the  periphery of the city. In order to regulate private sector residential development, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) as the principle planning agency has been promulgating private housing schemes rules from time to time. At present, the LDA is following the Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Land Sub-division Rules 2010 [20]. The case study neighbourhoods were registered mainly during early 1980s to early 1990s, as Cooperative Housing Societies under the Cooperative Societies Act 1925 (VII of 1925). However, their detailed layout plans were submitted to and approved by the LDA after several years of their registration. It is normal to observe this lag in registration and approval of layout plan because of time consumed in raising funds, acquiring land for the neighbourhood,  Residents ’   Perception and Analysis of the Contemporary Neighbourhood Design Practices in Lahore, Pakistan   distances within the neighbourhood are usually large and require the use of car for accessing public facilities. The estimated design population of the large- sized four neighbourhoods ranges from 20000 to 60000 persons whereas that of other four neighbourhoods falls within the range of 2700 to 13000 persons. Thus the case study neighbourhoods can be termed low density residential development since their gross density varies from 23 to 50 persons  per acre. It is pertinent to mention here that the design population has been estimated by multiplying average household size (i.e. 7 persons in urban areas of Punjab) with the total number of residential plots in each neighbourhood [4]. Moreover, the larger neighbourhoods are not yet fully colonized. Fig. 1. Land use Map of Lahore Source: Lahore Development Authority, 2012. and designing process. However, these neighbourhoods have been developed on flat terrain. Regardless of their size, all these have boundary walls and security posts at their entry points thus portraying as modern gated communities. The later has gained importance in recent years due to very high security concerns in the wake of events that followed after the 9/11 incident. The approximate area of the four case study neighbourhoods (Figures 7 to 10) varies from 600 acres to 1200 acres whereas the area of the remaining four neighbourhoods (Figures 11 to 14) lies between 120 and 270 acres. The relatively large size of four of the case study neighbourhoods is because there is no restriction on maximum size in the said housing scheme Rules although these do suggest minimum area to be 100 kanal (12.5 acres). Resultantly, some of the neighbourhoods/housing schemes are spread over an area of 1000 acres (8000 kanals). In such cases, the The survey data revealed that the resident population belongs to upper middle and high income class of the society. However, most of the families have shifted from old and unplanned area of Lahore and other cities of the Punjab. The variables of qualification/occupation and srcin of household were included in the survey questionnaire but their analysis is not presented here, since no significant variation in the socio-economic status amongst the interviewees was observed.
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