KARACHI - Poor friendly cities have become poor unfriendly; big social change is expected in the country, while reforms in the education sector can transform the country into urbanized one. The old contraband organisations become inoperative due to liberalisation, turned to real estate business leading to massive speculation. These notions were expressed by renowned economist Dr Arid Hasan, while delivering a keynote on The World Class City Concept and Its Repercussions on Urban Planning for Cities in the South at a one-day seminar, held at Karachi University (KU), organised by Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC), KU. Director AERC Prod Dr Nuzhat Ahmed presided the seminar, in which large number of students and KU teachers participated. Dr Hasan said that in Karachi alone in the financial year 2006-07, banks and leasing companies had provided loans of an equivalent of US$ 1.8 billion for the purchase of vehicles that is why the traffic has become a major problem of the metropolis. The evidence suggests that these loans were provided as a result of an understanding between the automobile industry and global banking and financial sectors, he said. The transformation is taking place in the country, as several old and traditional social values were being changed. Whereas traditional justice provision systems, including Jarga and Punchaiyat, are also being transformed with new systems. The emergence of the welfare state model was born out of an uneasy reconciliation between capitalism and its national and international opponents. The welfare state model in Russia and China was ended as a result of the domination of the market economy, structural adjustment and the role of decentralisation and devolution. Three global institutions, including the United Nations, WTO and the IMF/World Bank, have total control in determining global politics and development processes. As per many studies, the old contraband organisations become inoperative due to liberalisation. They turn to real estate business leading to massive speculation. The state has responded to these market pressures and made land available for development through land use conversions, new development schemes and the bulldozing of low income settlements, he said. Talking about the agenda of the World Class City, Dr Hasan said that the world-class city should have ironic architecture by which it should be recognised (such as highest building of fountain in the world). He said, It should be branded for a particular cultural, industrial or other produce or happening. It should be an international event city. It should have high-rise apartments as opposed to upgraded settlements and neighbourhoods. It should cater to tourism (which is often at the expense of the local commerce). It should build flyovers, underpasses and expressways rather than restrict the production and purchase of automobile and manage traffic better. This is disgusting that in our country only projects are being carried out but with out any proper planning, he said and added that in the case of Karachi I see projects replacing planning for the foreseeable future. Some basic principles can help to judge the authenticity of these projects. For example: Projects should not damage the ecology of the region in which the city is located. Projects should as a priority seeks to serve the interests of the majority who in the case of our cities are lower and lower middle income groups. Projects should decide land use on the basis of social and environmental considerations and not on the basis of land values al ne. Projects should protect the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the communities that live in them. This would in my opinion produce better projects. But you cannot effectively follow these principles if you do not have affection and respect for the natural environment and for the people who form the majority in your cities, he opined. Poor friendly cities have become poor unfriendly cities, this is really point of concern for us, he said and added that the privatisation of education and food inflation were the real causes of this deterioration.