Urban Health and Poverty Research: Local Knowledge, Local Solutions

Much of human progress in due to specialization, which in turn was realized when people started living in cities. Even Aristotle thought that city living was a necessary condition fo "Eudaimonia" or a good life. Recent years have seen rapid urbanization world-wide. Today around 82% of North Americans, 40-48% of Asians and around 55% of Pakistanis live in cities. 

Cities allow people to come together, to work with, share, build on and trade with each other. This allows specialisation and wealth creation that have driven the prosperity of the past 200 years. 

But with all this good come some problems. Urban poor live in some of the densest human settlements ever in human history. There are parts of Dhaka in Bangladesh that have over 1 million people per square kilometre. The same "agglomeration" or clustering of people, that drives innovation and prosperity also bring very large of poor peple to live in crowded settlements - at least initially when they move to cities - where there are too many poor people together living in squalid conditions and with few opportunities.

What we are doing 

RADS is collaborating with Akhter Hameed Khan Resource Centre (AHKRC) to develop and urban laboratory where ideas in social development may be tested. AHKRC implements many of the ideas; and RADS does the measurement and reports these in public domain. Updates on this work are available at:

Dhok Hassu Urban Poverty Site and Laboratory
Research Trial Site
First Working paper for the rationale for work on rural to urban migration (in collaboration with RSPN and the European Union)
Policy Brief #45: Establishment of an the Urban Laboratory in Rawalpindi: Addressing Multi-Dimensional Urban Poverty with Community-Driven, Bottom-up Solutions
Policy Brief 48: The Urban Lab: One year on
Infographics about neighbourhoods in the urban lab
Population estimations using crowdsourcing

Dhok Hassu Health Camp

Under its Urban Poverty initiative Akhter Hameed Khan Resource Center (AHKRC) organized 2nd quarterly Health Camp on Saturday, 3rd September, 2016, in UC-5 Dhok Hassu Rawalpindi – with the coordination of Research and Development Solutions (RADS). The health camp brought together the resources and expertise of public and private organizations working in health sector specifically for maternal and child health. They included Population Welfare Department, Rahnuma- FPAP, Sightsavers International and Rotary International - Rawalpindi chapter. Chairman UC 5 - Dr. Shafqat Hussain, facilitated in arranging for the venue by opening his residence to set up stalls/stations for the teams of doctors from participating organizations. There were three main Service stalls at the Health Camp. General health issues were catered by the team of doctors from Rahnuma – Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), who were later joined by the volunteer nursing graduates from Shifa Medical College. Almost 700 people participated in the health camp. Amongst these were 560 registered participants including 270 children and 290 females. However, only a few men participated in the health camp, almost all of them elderly. Free contraceptive implants and IUCD insertions were available to the relevant patients. Thirteen women availed the facility of implants. Patients were given free medicine, some patients needing advance care were also referred to the FPAP clinic in Dhok Hassu.