North Nazimabad, Karachi

Owais Mughal

In my series of best planned localities of Pakistan, we will cover North Nazimabad, Karachi. In my humble opinion it is indeed one of the best planned localities of Pakistan – if not in the whole region.

nn1The satellite image to the left shows North Nazimabad’s 20 residential blocks bound in red polygon. East of NN is Federal-B-Area where as North of NN is North Karachi and Buffer Zone.

Whenever the aesthetics of Civil Engineering and Town Planning is considered; it is an acceptable fact that curves and gradients are considered more natural than squares or rectangles.
Cities planned in rectangular grids, though easy to navigate, don’t have same aesthetics as brought out by those which have circular roads and curves. If you look at North Nazimabad‘s map above you can clearly see how aesthetically the curved roads and plots have been designed within mostly rectangular grids. At least to me this is the town planning of highest aesthetic order

nn-eTo further make my point on the elegance of diagonals and curved roads as compared to boring rectangular blocks, I want to present the maps of Blocks C, D and E of North Nazimabad, shown in the photo to the left. Somewhere in the course of basic town planning and Architecture, it is said that

‘Nature never uses straight line in its designs, therefore curves always appear more natural’

Note the little green oval to the bottom left of the map. This is Asghar Ali Shah Cricket Ground in Block C.

Block C has produced so many cricketers of fame (e.g. Moin Khan, Nadeem Khan etc.) for Pakistan in International and domestic cricket that the main diagonal road connecting to Asghar Ali Shah stadium is sometimes called ‘Cricketer’s Alley.’

Brief History of North Nazimabad

North Nazimabad, Karachi Town PlanningThe photo to the right shows North Nazimabad’s location in a larger settled area view of Karachi city.

Uptil late 1950s, Karachi’s northern most .settlement used to be Nazimabad. Being the Capital of Pakistan, and as the population of the city grew, need arose to house federal employees in better planned neighborhoods. Localities of Federal-B-Area and North Nazimabad were thus planned to house Federal employees. As far as aesthetics, ameneties, and grandeur was concerned, no other locality in Pakistan could match the town planning of North Nazimabad.

The land for North Nazimabad was bought by Government of Pakistan from one Masti Brohi Khan who was probably a landlord of the area at that time (1958.) A department called Karachi improvement trust (KIT) started the development of North Nazimabad which later became Karachi Development Authority (KDA.) The planning of North Nazimabad was done by an Italian company of Planners and Architects called Carlo Scarpa & Aldo Rossi in the late 50s. Some references are also seen by this writer that actual architect’s name who planned and designed North Nazimabad and KDA Scheme Number 1 was one named Mr. Polo from Greece. North Nazimabad started as new suburban development called the KDA Scheme number 2 and later it became famous by its popular name of North Nazimabad. The locality of Nazimabad which lies south of North Nazimabad was named after Pakistan’s second Governer General, Khwaja Nazimuddin. Since KDA Scheme 2 was being developed in north of old Nazimbad, it became popular by the name of North Nazimbad or some times just North.

In 1962, the Capital was shifted from Karachi to Islamabad and the planned neighborhood of North Nazimabad became available to general public instead of originally planned employees of Federal Government only.

The Matrix:

North Nazimabad consists of 20 residential blocks identified with alphabets from A to T. The plot sizes across all North Nazimabad are divided into 6 categories viz. A, B, C, D, E and F. Plots of A category have an area of 240 square yards, B = 400 Square Yards, C=600 square yards, D=1000 square yards and F=2000 square yards . Therefore a sample house address in North Nazimabad of A36/T means House number 36 with an area of 240 square yards located in Block T.

North Nazimabad, Karachi Town PlanningThe photo to the left is satellite image of Block A of North Nazimabad.

North Nazimabad is also famous for its main mass transit arterial called the ‘Sher Shah Suri Road’ being a 440 ft wide thoroughfare. There are several 220 ft wide boulevards with rain drains dividing the two lanes.

The Eucalyptus Town:

In the period 1983-87, during the mayorship of (late)Abdus Sattar Afghani, whole North Nazimabad locality was planted with hundreds and thousands of Eucalyptus saplings. As fast as Eucalyptus grows, within few years whole Nazimabad town turned into a green paradise of tall Eucalyptus trees.

However, lately these eucalyptus trees have been mostly cut down for reason better known to the subsquent city governments. One reason that I have heard is that Eucalyptus is a water thirsty tree and so many of the eucalptuses in North Nazimabad were causing the ground water level to go down.

Also Called Taimuria

During the same era, in order to localize the neighborhood names, North Nazimabad was renamed as ‘Taimuria’ and Federal-B-Area was renamed as ‘Mansura’. With the demse of Government of that time, the new names also met their natural death and never caught a mass acceptation. Today the only remnants of the name Taimuria in North Nazimabad are the ‘Taimuria Police Station’ and a ‘Taimuria library’.

Today:

North Nazimabad, Karachi Town Planning The photo to the right is Block B of North Nazimabad .

North Nazimabad of today has lost much of its past glory. Just like many localities of big cities, businesses from city center slowly creep into residential areas and people of these area start moving further outward to suburbs. Same has happened to North Nazimabad. The once peaceful residential locality of Karachi is now fast turning into a commercial market.

In the past few years some of the amenity plots and playgrounds have also been converted into commercial plots.

Block H now boasts of an artificial grass hockey ground called Olympian-Islahuddin Dr. Shah Hockey Academy. This is quite prominent as a blue color rectangle in satellite view of block H.

On my last visit to Karachi, I was surprized to see almost 80% ‘F’ size plots of block F were converted into some private school or private University. The once small eating shops in block H and block A had collectively turned into full fledge food streets. barkaat-e-Hyderi market is now one of the largest shopping centers of the city. All multinational fast food chains have opened their branches in

The photo below shows Block F of North Nazimabad. Many of the plots in Block F were of area 2000 sq feet. They have mostly been converted to something commercial e.g. Private Schools and Universities.

North Nazimabad, Karachi Town Planning

Infrastructure:

North Nazimabad of today boasts of atleast four First-Class Cricket Grounds, several hospitals, A Medical and Dental University, Several HSC Colleges, Taimuria library, several parks and sustained commercial activity which makes it a complete city inside the city.

In 2001, North Nazimabad was declared as one of the 18 towns of Karachi.

Mass Transit Plans for North Nazimabad

North Nazimabad is included in the Karachi Mass Transit Plan (KMTP) of 1970s. The Orangi-Cantt Station mass transit corridor touches Block A and B of North Nazimabad.

North Nazimabad also has a Railway Station on Karachi Circular Railway Route. So whenever the KCR is fully revived on its loop, North Nazimabad will benefit.

It is also part of the currently in-works green line bus transit system.

Population:

According to 2018 census results, population of North Nazimabad is 708583

Trivia About North Nazimabad:

1. The Four First-Class Cricket grounds of North Nazimabad: Bakhtiari Youth Center A Ground (Block S),  KDA Stadium (Block S) , Syed Asghar Ali Shah Stadium (Block C), which also held a 3-day International between Pakistan and Zimbabwe andKCCA Stadium (Block N).

2. In 1960, North Nazimabad was connected by Karachi Circular Railway Service with its Railway Station in Block B called ‘North Nazimabad’. The station remained operation until 1999. KCR service got suspended in 1999.

3. Postal Code of North Nazimabad is 74700.

References:

1. North Nazimabad in Transition by Sabeen Jamil
3. Karachi Municipal Corporation
4. Google Maps for all the Satellite Maps

Ready For Your Geography Quiz?

So in the satellite image below, can you try to find out where is North Nazimabad located? Answer is given above in the first map of this post.

North Nazimabad, Karachi Town Planning

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