It’s time for Asia to grow!

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  • Education minister says country ready to progress as UN forecasts urban growth in developing countries

Surveys and projections indicate that all urban growth over the next 25 years will be in developing countries with Asia leading the race on this front. The UN forecasts that today’s urban population of 3.2 billion in the world will rise to nearly 5 billion by 2030, when there out of five people will live in cities.

The revelations were made by Punjab Minister for Education and Tourism Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan while addressing the inaugural session of three-day Annual Architects Convention on Friday. The convention has been organised by the Institute of Architects Pakistan, Lahore Chapter which will continue till tomorrow.

The minister said that by 2025, it is estimated that, in Asia alone, we will have at least 10 of the mega cities. Pakistan along with its neighbouring countries like India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Indonesia must face this challenge with a well-planned and sustainable approach by learning from each other.

While emphasizing the need to come up with pragmatic solution for solving the problems associated with urbanisation, Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said that the mega cities can be the engines of rapid economic growth.

“Mega cities may provide mega opportunities for massive growth patterns taking root in these urban centres. It is how we face this challenge that will determine our future. Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, is already ranked amongst the 10 most populated mega cities of the world. Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan, has already surpassed the ten million bench mark and is at the threshold for joining the club. Our urban centres are plagued by a multitude of issues which include lack of urban and social planning, limited financial resources, scarcity of water, electricity, gas, sewerage facilities, public transportation, housing, overburdened and aging infrastructure, traffic congestion, environmental pollution and mass migration to the cities which necessitates sustainable approach to optimize the potential locked in to these great concentrations of human resources.”

The minister concluded that the Punjab government had adopted an active strategy to address these issues through urban policy and planning, urban design, urban economics and urban sociology which were being simultaneously brought into play.