River City

Rahma Shahid


#LandGrabbing #Military #RiverCity #AgriculturalLand #Security

River City is a two part project. The first half, developed specifically for Satellite project 2022 comprises the small form of a minaret. Often, local land grabbing includes the building of religious sites to prevent others from taking over. Religion is a highly sensitive issue and even the smallest perceived slight can spell disaster.
The State, backed and effectively hidden by the institutions of the government, have traditionally taken over masses of indigenous and agricultural land and created housing societies for personal gain. The River Ravi Development Authority (RUDA) has recently been granted  a project to create a city adjacent to the historical city of Lahore; this city is proposed to be built on the Ravi Basin. The Ravi was once a river so mighty, it felled Alexander the Great. Today, it may not have the same capacity, but it still feeds fertile land for millions of people in South Asia. The building of this city will spell disaster for the millions of people living in Lahore and other nearby cities; already choking on the worst air quality and groundwater drainage in the world.

Regionally, land grabbing mafias and other entities have used religious sentiment to illegally takeover land. Creating a mosque on a piece of property is one such way. Tearing down a mosque, even legally, incites aggressive sentimental response in the community. This blocks off the property from its legal owners formost of their lifetimes. 

The creation of objects colloquially used as land grabbing techniques, here seen in portable form will begin the understanding of ways to protect the self. Its a double-edged sword to bastardize the local practice and make it meaningless in the long run. This movement to place a dome wherever you want to mark territory will become so common that it will be forced to separate itself from actual religion itself.

A further speculative scope of this project is creating a society where portable minarets are a norm; some minarets obviousoly being more powerful than others. 

An odd mix of using criminal activity, the horrifying blasphemy law, and the dome to protect vulnerable agricultural land.









Additional Info
Mainstream narrative wipes away centuries of craftsmanship and knowledge and creates a divide between how I view my city and how others imagine it. My work aims to see, celebrate and elevate the un-modern, Islamic dome – the pinnacle of design. In my previous projects, I talk in detail about colonialism and modern day imperialsm and how they affect the design world. Link ︎︎︎

Related Newspaper Articles



“The government wants to spend $7 billion to develop the Ravi riverbank, but opponents say that risks replicating the environmental and societal problems in nearby Lahore.”
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“The capital is known for its mosques and madrassas built on encroached lands. But these are too sensitive to tackle”
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“Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed says order to remove encroachments from park will not be withdrawn” Link︎︎︎