Security and Value: Squatter Dwellings in Karachi

  • Jan van der Linden


The urban landscape of Karachi’s low-income neighbourhoods presents the observer with an apparent dilemma: the quality of housing in the city’s squatter settlements, the bastis or katchi abadis, and in its urbanised villages, the goths, is characterised by remarkable disparities in the standard of housing. Yet these visible differences do not fully correspond, as might be expected, to obvious factors such as legality or illegality of tenure, length of residence in the city, or income differentials. At the same time, marked differences between neighbourhoods point to underlying common, even, one might say, collective, strategies of housing investment on the part of residents. Collective, because common investment strategies appear to reflect, as we shall argue, common perceptions about current circumstances and future needs among squatters.


House Price Housing Market Housing Stock Investment Choice Tenure Security 
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© Hastings Donnan and Pnina Werbner 1991

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  • Jan van der Linden

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