The Cities research cluster examines new forms of urban change, politics and transformation, with a focus on rapidly urbanizing cities of the Global South. It seeks to document and study new urban spatial forms, covering a variety of aspects, including, but not limited to cartographies, economies, politics, social structures, and urban cultural life.


Pakistan’s rapid urbanization has resulted in major challenges. The urban population has been growing 3 % annually, as citizens in the suburbs and rural areas are moving to cities faster than any other country in South Asia. Projections suggest that more than half of Pakistan’s estimated 250 million citizens are expected to live in cities by 2030.

Research Problems

Within Pakistan specifically, the following research questions play a key role in shaping the cluster’s research activities and points of inquiry:

  • Urban local governance, with an emphasis on political participation, mobilisation, and state-society relations;
  • Urban inequality and challenges around informality, service provision, planning and infrastructure development, including links with urban public finance;
  • Environmental sustainability, including economic and environmental costs of rapid urban growth;
  • Urban violence and insecurity;
  • Gender, class and ethnicity are considered as cross-cutting themes, and remain central to our research. We rely on an interdisciplinary approach, at the intersection of sociology, anthropology, economics, history, and urban studies and planning.

Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS

Postal Address


Sector U, DHA

Lahore Cantt, 54792, Pakistan

Office Hours

Mon. to Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information

T: +92-42-3560-8000

X: 8182, 4452