ENVIRONMENT & URBANIZATION Vol 21 No 2 October 2009
and grown spatially. In Lahore, this nucleus is the eleventh century WalledCity surrounded by the areas that developed in the nineteenth and earlytwentieth century and that today form the inner-city core. Over the pastseveral decades, the Walled City, along with developments on its sur-rounding Circular Road, has emerged as the major commercial centre forPunjab.
While traditionally, the Walled City was an organized mix of largely residential and related uses, there has been a major transformationof its urban and social fabric through intensifying commercial activityover time. The area now shows symptoms typical of inner-city decay, suchas a deteriorating infrastructure, residential out-migration, a dilapidationof the built fabric and commercial congestion. Paradoxically, however,while there is apparent decay in the area, an invisible order is in place. Itmay not be ideal or just, but its existence cannot be denied,
as the areanot only plays a central role in the daily functioning of Lahore
but isalso critical to provincial and national markets.While both government and citizens generally acknowledge thatLahore inner city is suffering from decay, interventions and upgrading ap-proaches in the past have been unable to arrest the process of deteriora-tion. One reason for this is that government approaches to solving theWalled City’s problems have been “fragmented” and have lacked a holisticview of issues, local “systems” and operating processes, and of the relation-ships of the area with the wider city. Major government studies and pro-grammes for the Walled City include the Lahore Urban Development andTrafﬁc Study (1979–1981), the Walled City Conservation Plan (1986) andthe Sustainable Walled City Project (2006).As Vandal
pointed out, a major shortfall of the Walled City Con-servation Plan (WCCP) was that it focused on physical and architecturalsolutions, but lacked local participation and an understanding of localsocioeconomic processes both in its conception and implementation.According to Kron,
the WCCP also began restoration work prematurely,before active degradation was slowed down or stopped. The more recentSustainable Walled City Project again views the city primarily as an his-torical and architectural artifact, and overlooks its integral urban and com-mercial functions. In recent years, the Punjab Department of Archeologyhas also spoken of plans
to shift the general bus stand, remove indus-trial units and close off a section of Circular Road in response to damagebeing caused to heritage sites by air pollution. These plans exemplify aheritage conservation approach criticized by some as “museumiﬁcation”.
Furthermore, despite the absence of in-depth research, discussions withinthe bureaucracy about the relocation of the Walled City–Circular Roadwholesale market are commonplace. A current prospect considers therelocation of the market to a newly constructed trade centre at JauharTown.
In 2004, the government announcement of plans to relocate theWalled City’s Akbari market
to a faraway location was met with majorresistance by traders, which led to the plan being cancelled. The govern-ment’s failed attempt in 1988 to shift the area’s freight terminals
toBund Road, three kilometres from the Walled City, was another demon-stration of shortsightedness; faced with a highly impractical separationfrom the wholesale market, transporters shifted back to original locationson Circular Road within a few months.
Despite government investment in studies and projects over the pastﬁve decades, the inner city’s continuing state of decay signals the needfor the establishment of a new approach, aimed at a holistic development
2. The market serves not onlythe province of Punjab but alsolocations across all of Pakistan.3. Qadeer, Muhammad (1980),
Lahore: Urban Development in the Third World
, VanguardBooks Ltd, Lahore.4. Kron, Zachary M (1996),“Conservation of the urbanfabric: Walled City of Lahore,Pakistan”, accessible athttp://web.mit.edu/akpia/www/AKPsite/4.239/lahore/lahore.html. a5. Vandal, Pervaiz (1988), “TheWalled City conservation plan:an analysis”,
,Times Group of Publications,September, 5 pages.6. See reference 4.7. Ezdi, Rabia (2006), “Indefense of the fort”,
,Jang Group of Newspapers,Pakistan, 12 March.8. Sedky, Ahmed and Dina KShehayeb (2002), “Heritageprotection: against what?”,Paper presented at the FirstInternational Conference of theWPAHR-V, Alexandria, Egypt,2–4 March 2002.9. Lahore’s Jauhar Town islocated approximately 14kilometres from the Walled City.10. Akbari
(market) islocated at the Walled City’sAkbari Gate and specializes inthe sale of spices, grain, lentils,sugar and oils.11. Goods-forwarding terminals.12. Interview with the chief urban transport planner, PunjabDepartment of Transport.