Prof. Spiro Pollalis online conversation ‘Pandemic and the challenges to the City’ at 2020 Lahore Literary Festival July 17th

Prof. Spiro Pollalis presented on ‘Pandemic and the challenges to the City’ with Prof. Attiq Uddin Ahmed at the Lahore Literary Festival on July 17, 2020 at 10 am EST. 

The conversation started with Prof. Attiq describing the path of cities in facing pandemics. Cities in Pakistan have been expanding at a rapid pace, while the ice cover in northern areas, which feeds many of the water sources for these cities, has been drastically reduced. The COVID-19 pandemic brought pollution levels down when compared to pre-lockdown levels. 

–What sort of cities should we invest in?

Prof. Pollalis started describing the growth of cities in Pakistan and the urban challenges present. Then proceeded to discuss the definitions of sustainability and resilience, and the relation for facing a pandemic. Prof. Pollalis presented the tools developed by the Zofnass Program: the Envision rating system, and the Planning Sustainable Cities Guidelines, to address problems in planning and design for the long term, by making the right cities, the right buildings. 

Buildings are components of the infrastructure, as users and producers of energy, of recycling water, contributing to producing food, and the point where transportation starts and ends. Cities currently import everything and export anything not wanted, such as waste, either to the hinterlands, into water bodies, and emissision to the air. It was clear to face the pandemic with a sustainable city.

–How should we address the challenges in design and planning for the long term?

Planned and designed by Prof. Pollalis, the DHA City Karachi is an example of a sustainable city in Pakistan where sectors were designed as autonomous but interconnected units with multiple local centers, for self sufficiency in terms of everyday facilities and basic services. This is an ideal configuration for a city to face a pandemic as sectors can be isolated as needed without affecting other sectors. 

Several ideas for cities were discussed, such as the ecoblock, which is a typology of a city block that can be adjusted and tackle environmental challenges of rapid urban growth.

Watch the recorded presentation at this link

More details at and

Jul 17 2020 Zofnass Program

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