Urban Research and Implementation Laboratory

Pakistan has two major challenges (among many) – rapid urbanization (3% annual, with 13% of urban dwellers living in urban slums and one of the fastest growing youth cohort (64% Pakistanis’ are below age 30 years). If managed well these potential problems can become great opportunities for harnessing the demographic dividend and turning urban cities (small and mid-size) into drivers of national prosperity. Established in 2017, with our NGO partner (AHKRC), the Urban Research and Implementation Laboratory Rawalpindi is based on MIT’s model of urban lab to seek “research learning and insights” on how interventions behave/work at a large scale in grass-root communities. Learning from these experiments and observations (cohorts, trials and community discussions) are then used for research and evidence generation.

RADS Urban Lab Objectives are:

  1. Produce research and knowledge on how individuals, households and communities’ function in different domains of economic and health decision-making, practices, behaviors, coping and risk mitigation mechanisms, information processing, and how changes evolve (social observations, experimentation) – to inform policy and programs.
  2. Conduct research on the various interventions and their effects and processes of uptake and change
  3. Provide a Community field site for academic institutions and collaborations for student/faculty research and on-ground exposure for Pakistani and International Universities
  4. Establish a quality disease (Communicable) and NCD-surveillance system (pilot testing) with capacity to train personnel, conduct community trials, and data quality.

Currently RADS in partnership with AHKRC has collaborated with Yale University (Global Health), Global Health (George Washington University), NUST Islamabad, and Fatima Jinnah Women’s University Rawalpindi for behavioral and economic research and training programs.