The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman

On April 11-12, 2014, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT is hosting an evening lecture and one-day conference on “The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman." Perween Rehman was director of Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) until she was tragically murdered on March 13, 2013. Through this symposium we aim to draw parallels and lessons from the success story of the OPP, both in Pakistan and elsewhere. We also aim to celebrate the legacy of Perween Rehman as a woman, architect and social activist in what is deemed to be Pakistan’s most turbulent city, and especially as someone who chose to dedicate her career to the support of low-income communities of Karachi.

Her distinguished colleague architect Arif Hasan, Chairperson of OPP and Urban Resource Center, will give the keynote address at MIT on Friday, April 11th at 6pm. The keynote and lecture will both take place in MIT room 4-720.


The Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) was initiated under the direction of Dr. Akhter Hameed Khan in 1980. Orangi Town is located on the periphery of Karachi, Pakistan. It is a cluster of 113 low income settlements (that were mostly categorized as slums up until 1992), with a population of about 1.5 million. The organization’s biggest success has been of providing social and technical support to neighborhoods in Orangi Town interested in self-help initiatives by demonstrating how to finance, maintain and manage facilities such as sewerage, water supply, schools, clinics, solid waste disposal and security. Its success is reflected in the fact that the OPP model has been replicated in many settlements all over the world; it is now recognized internationally as a model for self-sustained community-led projects. OPP has now grown to form three independent institutions: OPP-RTI (Research and Training Program); OPP-OCT (Orangi Charitable Trust), and OPP-KHASDA (Karachi Health and Social Development Association).

OPP-RTI (Research and Training Institute) manages low cost sanitation, secure housing support, education, water supply and the women's savings programs along with other related research and training programs. Mapping and documentation of numerous settlements in Karachi has been one of the institute’s greatest contribution to the field.

Architect and Social Activist Perween Rehman served as director of OPP-RTI for about 25 years up until her death. She had been involved with OPP since 1983 and had devoted a major part of her life towards improving the lives of residents of Karachi’s poorest neighborhoods. At the time of her death, she was involved in an extensive project involving the documentation of Karachi’s land use, which has been suggested as a possible reason she was fatally targeted by land-grabbing mafia in the city.


Please note that the schedule is subject to minor changes between now and the symposium dates (announcements will be made accordingly).

For more information, visit http://web.mit.edu/akpia/www/symporangi.htm
We can also be reached via email Hala Malik (hala@mit.edu) or Fizzah Sajjad (fsajjad@mit.edu).