Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Analysis of Population Growth and Urban Development in Lahore-Pakistan Using Geospatial Techniques: Suggesting Some Future Options

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Analysis of Population Growth and Urban Development in Lahore-Pakistan Using Geospatial Techniques: Suggesting Some Future Options

Article excerpt

Abstract

Population is the main focus in all studies within the framework of geography because population and basic natural resources are intimately related to each other and with the prospects of urban development and quality of the environment in a region. Therefore, the study and analysis of population growth and distribution in the urban development is the logical starting point for any research of the present nature. Lahore is 2nd largest city of Pakistan in terms of its share in total population of the country. The total population of Lahore was 6,318,745 as per 1998 Census. Systematic monitoring of the urban development, proper management of the City and planned future development would lead to improvement in the living standards and environmental conditions of the millions of people living in the city of Lahore. Remote sensing along with the GIS technology can be used effectively and economically in the analysis and the inventory of urban development and land use and land cover study of the urban settlements. It provides database for the site suitability for further urban development and growth corridors in this fast growing metropolis of the country.

Introduction

With the passage of time due to economic development, industrialization, rural-urban migration and allied factors has brought a major transformation to cities and urban centers throughout the world to grow beyond their usual administrative limits. This phenomenon of urban growth and development is not as simple as it seems but has turned more complex due to this fact that it is largely taking place on open and agricultural lands in and around cities. Therefore, a growing population results in overcrowding in cities and loss of valuable green areas and indigenous vegetation within and outside the city. This has a greater bearing on the green character of many cities of the world. Lahore, the cultural heartland of the people of Punjab-Pakistan is a historic city. It has a recorded history of about 1,000 years. Over centuries; historians have described Lahore as the most enduring and fascinating city not only of Pakistan but of South Asia. Founded by Loh, son of Rama Chandra, more than two thousand years ago, the ancient metropolis enjoyed prominence under various empires, be in Hindu or Mughal, Sikhs or British regime (IMPL-2004).

After Independence in 1947, a large proportion of Muslim migrants from India arrived at Lahore, which resulted in an increase of population of city. Despite this increase in number of people, the areal expansion was not as apparent as it is now a day. This may be because of aftermath of division of sub-continent and unstable conditions in the country as a whole. After this and up till now there has been a steady but consistent spatial growth of Lahore is taking place. During fifties and sixties the Lahore Improvement Trust initiated some new residential projects such as Gulberg, Samanabad, Upper Mall scheme etc.; while Lahore Development Authority(the successor of LIT) also made strides on a number of housing schemes and planning exercises, adding industrial areas, new university campus and airport to the Lahore's cityscape. It is pertinent to mention here that these planned schemes served as main instrument in the Lahore's urban development.

As environnent in the urban areas is seemingly altered by anthropogenic activities, the geographers, urban planners, policy makers and administrators are currently being forced to monitor changes in the urban Land Use and the Land Cover (LULC) (Stow and Chen, 2002). Such studies are particularly important because the spatial characteristics of LULC are useful for comprehending various impacts of human activity on the overall ecological condition of the urban environment (Yeh and Li, 1999). LULC change due to human activities is currently proceeding more quickly in the developing countries than in the developed world, and it has been projected that by the year 2020, most of the world's mega cities will be in the developing countries (World Bank, 2007). …

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