Faiza Moatasim, "Master Plans and Encroachments: The Architecture of Informality in Islamabad" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)
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Among urban designers and municipal officials, the term encroachment is defined as a deviation from the official master plan. But in cities today, such informal modifications to the urban fabric are deeply enmeshed with formal planning procedures.  Master Plans and Encroachments: The Architecture of Informality in Islamabad (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023) examines informality in the high-modernist city of Islamabad as a strategic conformity to official schemes and regulations rather than as a deviation from them. For the new administrative capital of Pakistan designed in 1959 by Greek architect and planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis, Islamabad's master plan offers a clear template of formal urban design within which informal spaces and processes have been articulated. Drawing on deep archival research, wide-ranging interviews, and an array of visual material, including photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, Dr. Faiza Moatasim shows how Islamabad's master plan is not simply a blueprint that guides future urban development or makes its violations apparent; it is used by both city officials and citizens to develop informal spaces that accommodate unfulfilled needs and desires of those living and working in the city. Master Plans and Encroachments is the first book that examines the informal practices of both the privileged and the underprivileged. The book highlights how low-, middle-, and upper-income people do not randomly build informal spaces; they strategically use architectural techniques to support their informal claims to space, which are often met with the government's tacit approval. In this episode, Tayeba Batool talks to Dr. Faiza Moatasim about the spatial, material, class, and gendered negotiations and experiences that are imprinted on the city through Masterplans. Dr. Moatasim also shares how her research on a postcolonial city such as Islamabad projects onto urbanisms and encroachments elsewhere, and what we can learn the complexities of urban planning and architecture. The conversation also creates a space to address experiences with publishing inter-disciplinary research and highlight the necessity of learning from cities that are often overlooked in the dialogue about and on urban spaces. Dr. Faiza Moatasim is an Assistant Professor of Architecture in Urbanism and Urban Design at the USC School of Architecture. Tayeba Batool is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Tayeba Batool is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/architecture
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