Islamabad the Capital City

1 January 2017

Many were the reasons for which Pakistan needed a new capital city. During the first stages of the life of the new State it was natural that Karachi should have been selected as the capital, since it was a large city and a convenient centre of sea and air transportation. This was not, however, a satisfactory solution from points of view of climate, tradition and the existing buildings, which were not adequate in number or to the standards required by a capital. The layout and structure of the existing port city did not allow it to take on the functions of a modern capital.

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On the other hand, the influx of refugees intensified the existing problems and created new ones. Fig. 1. Map of Pakistan The government of Pakistan decided to cope with the situation by creating a new capital and proceeded toward this end in a systematic manner. By decision of H. E. the President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Mohammed Ayub Khan, a special commission was established to study this problem having as its chairman Major General A. M. Yahya Khan, Chief of the General Staff. This committee had its first session in February 1959, under the chairmanship of General Yahya, and during this session nine subcommittees were set up.

In February 1959 H. E. The President of Pakistan honoured Dr. C. A. Doxiadis by naming him advisor to the Special Commission for the Location of the Capital and in compliance with a request from the President and from the chairman of the commission, a report was issued by Dr. Doxiadis with reference to this problem, in an effort to incorporate the knowledge and the experience of the members of the committees as well as of that of each committee as a whole. The result of this report was that two areas were suggested for the new capital, one outside Karachi and the other to the north of Rawalpindi.

Islamabad. Model of the area On the basis of reports and recommendations of the Commission for the Location of the Capital, H. E. President Mohammed Ayub Khan decided in favour of the site North of Rawalpindi, on the Potwar Plateau and made a public announcement to this effect in June 1959. On July the 2nd, 1959 Major General A. M. Yahya Khan requested Dr. Doxiadis to prepare and submit a report in order to facilitate the task of the commission in preparing the next stages of the work, especially regarding the setting up of a commission for building the new capital and setting up a programme of action.

During late July and early August 1959, Dr. Doxiadis visited the site of the capital and, as a result, the report “Impressions from the site – The necessary data” was issued. 1 In September 1959, the government of Pakistan decided to establish the Federal Capital Commission for the preparation of the master plan and programme of the new capital. Simultaneously, Doxiadis Associates were appointed as consultants to the Federal-Capital Commission.

Fourteen sub-committees, later named committees, were appointed during the first session of the Federal-Capital Commission, who issued a number of reports in connection with the surveys of the existing conditions in the capital area. Following the decision of the government of Pakistan to entrust Doxiadis Associates with the design of the new capital of Pakistan, the first team of experts of the consultant arrived at Rawalpindi early in November 1959 and a methodical collection of data was started, in close collaboration with the Federal-Capital Commission and Pakistani experts.

Another team of experts also started work in Athens under the leadership of Dr. C. A. Doxiadis on the study and classification of all collected and available data. A most important milestone in the history of the capital was the decision taken on February 24th, 1960 by H. E. the President and his Cabinet to give the New Capital of Pakistan the name of ISLAMABAD (the City of Islam). It can be considered that the New capital of Pakistan was born on this day. Several reports covering all facets of the problems related to the creation of the new Capital of islamabad were prepared by Doxiadis Associates.

These reports referred to the size of the Capital, the cost of the project, the facilities needed, highways, transportation in general, and so on. On May 24th, 1960 the preliminary master Plan of islamabad and the planning principles that will make this capital a model for “A City of the Future”, were presented to the Cabinet and approved by H. E. the President of Pakistan. A special authority, the Capital Development Authority, which took over from the Federal-Capital Commission, was set up in Pakistan and charged with the overall development of the new capital.

The greater area of the capital, the metropolitan area, has been planned for a future population of about 2,500,000 inhabitants within a period of two generations. Many factors influenced the decision regarding the location of Islamabad, such as transportation and communications, factors of national interest, defense, economic factors, civic factors, existing facilities, etc. After a careful study of these, the present area – represented by the model on the front page – was selected. The nearby existing city of Rawalpindi would offer Islamabad considerable aid in facilities and initial housing needs.

The chief characteristic of the landscape is that it runs from north-east to south-west along valleys formed by a series of hills running in the same direction. The Murree Highway had to follow this direction through a valley formed by two hills: the Islamabad highway has been aligned vertically to the Murree Highway between the existing airport and Shakarparian hills. Two more highways, by-passing the existing town of Rawalpindi, have been proposed. On the basis of the above ideas, a system of four highways becomes the basic step for the metropolitan area.

These axes form a big square, which will define all future transportation systems and all major functions within the metropolitan area. 2b. Formation of the Metropolitan Area The principal system of axes in the metropolitan area of islamabad defines three distinctive areas: a. the area of Islamabad proper. b. the area of Rawalpindi, the center of which is the city of Rawalpindi. c. the National Park area which will retain certain agricultural functions for several years and where sites must be provided for a national sports center, the national university, national research institute, etc.

The areas of Islamabad proper and Rawalpindi are both open for expansion towards the south-west, while the National Park area is rather districted from the surrounding hills and Soan river to the south-east. Fig. 3. The main highways Fig. 4. The three parts of the metropolitan area 3 2c. Dynametropolis The cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi will develop as twin cities serving each other in complementary ways. Islamabad will be the capital of the nation and will serve mainly administrative and cultural functions. Rawalpindi will remain the regional center serving industrial and commercial functions.

The master plan for both cities has the flexibility to allow for future expansions of the center. It has been designed on the basis of the ideal city of the future and to form a dyna-metropolis. Each is planned to develop dynamically towards the south-west, their center cores growing simultaneously and together with their residential and other functions. 2d. Islamabad The whole metropolitan area is sub-divided into sectors, called Communities Class V, each for about 20,000-40,000 people and each according to the income group it will serve.

The sub-division of the metropolitan area into sectors resulted from the adoption of a pattern of principal roads placed 2,200 yards apart in both- directions. Fig. 6. Islamabad The sketch indicates growth of functions in the direction of the city’s future expansion Fig. 5. The central functions of Islamabad and Rawalpindi This pattern forms a modulus in the town and maintains a unified scale for the whole metropolitan area. At the same time, it facilitates the road traffic as well as the organization of the various land-use zones into communities of the same order.

The field pattern provides for an hierarchical distribution of roads, starting from the highways, which have 1,200 ft. rights-of-way. The secondary roads have 600 ft rights-ofway. The third category consists of roads 100-300 ft wide entering the sectors, and surrounding the residential communities. The last category of roads, those leading to individual houses and buildings, run into the residential communities. These access roads are either for vehicles or for pedestrians. There is full segregation of motorized and pedestrian traffic.

Longitudinal sections of the roads follow the same classification. The highways are designed with the sole objective of serving high speed motor-traffic. In the other categories of roads, the landscape is more respected, and on roads for the pedestrian, there are even steps where the ground rises steeply. The human scale and that of the machine are kept clearly distinct, and the elements of road design strictly observe the requirements of this separation. The many zones of Islamabad serving various functions have been planned to allow for future expansion.

The administrative sector is placed at the heart of Islamabad, from which it spreads first towards and then along the hills. 4 The civic center is developed in a strip running south-west, which is the main direction of the town’s growth. The residential and the light-industrial zones follow the same trend. 2e. Rawalpindi The existing town of Rawalpindi was the major man-made obstacle in designing the new capital.

After a thorough study of the possibilities regarding the relation of the new capital to the existing town of Rawalpindi, it was found advisable to place Islamabad at such a distance so as to: a. orm an independent settlement for purposes of allowing the design of a physical plan independent of the existing restrictions imposed by the plan of Rawalpindi town. b. provide the new capital with services and buildings already existing in Rawalpindi in order to save the maximum amount of costs. Rawalpindi has been the subject of a special study so as to permit the coordinated and balanced growth of the two towns in a balanced way. A master plan for Rawalpindi was prepared, and regulations about zoning and interim development control were proposed.

For many years to come, the existing town of Rawalpindi will perform the duties of a mother caring for her child, until the child is grown and becomes self-sufficient. 2f. The National Park The third part of the metropolitan area is the National Park, situated so as to serve both Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The National Park has been designed to provide space for: a. educational and scientific institutes of national importance, such as national university, atomic energy center, research center, national health center, etc. b. ecreational facilities, both active and passive, such as sports centers, exhibition areas, zoo, botanical gardens, etc c. agricultural areas for cultivating vegetables and fruits required for the two cities.

The National Park already has the Rawal lake which was created in 1961 following the construction of a dam to collect irrigation water and to supply water to Rawalpindi. In the future, running water, may be dammed to form more lakes. Fig. 7. Rawalpindi Fig. 8. The National Park 2g. Unity of Scale A principle adopted in designing the Islamabad- Master Plan 5 was unity of scale.

This was considered absolutely necessary to achieve a cohesion between the various elements of the town. The city is not a conglomeration of isolated and unrelated spaces, but one entity of interrelated spaces. A scale measurement was determined to govern the elements composing the city, such as plots, streets, open spaces, squares, roads, etc. The selection of a system of axes or prevailing orientation is equally important for the achievement of unity of expression. Based on a study of the scale of the city made by the chief consultant, volume, heights, densities, and floor indices of the buildings were specified for each particular sector.

This study led to concrete proposals for the public-buildings area, the layout plan of which was designed to harmonize with the buildings of the administrative sector opposite the public-buildings area. Fig. 9. Islamabad (model) – Bird’s eyeview from N. E. ; the Capitol with the main administrative center, the sectors of public buildings and residential communities 2h. The Master Plan of the Metropolitan Area Each of the three parts defined by the alignment of the main axes of the metropolitan area is sub-divided into sectors.

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