Center for Social Science Research
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Call for Papers: “Managing Megacities” at the University of Karachi


University Partnership Program

University of Karachi and George Mason University

International Conference on “Managing Megacities”

at the University of Karachi, Pakistan

Date: TBD


Call for Abstracts

In 1950 New York was the only megacity in the world, with 10 million or more inhabitants. Then Karachi’s population was only one million. In 1970 Karachi was not even among the 30 largest cities in the world. Currently, with an estimated population of over 22 million, Karachi is ranked as the 7th largest megacity in the world and its population has now exceeded that of New York.   Today, most megacities are located in developing countries and beyond their size, many of these megacities share a constellation of challenges, including transportation shortages and congestion, water scarcity, environmental degradation, lack of health and education facilities and, extremely large proportions of young people, many of whom are trapped in poverty, violence and crime. These urban challenges take on a qualitatively new face at the scale of a megacity.

Over the last two years, the School of Public Policy and the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University have collaborated with the Department of Public Administration at the University of Karachi in social science research capacity building, through the University Partnership Program funded by the U.S. Department of State. The focal point of this partnership has been studying Karachi, with a special emphasis on the use of social science data for planning, programming and evaluation purposes. As the initial phase of this partnership is drawing to a close, an international conference is being organized on “Managing Megacities” at the University of Karachi on May 24-26, 2016. The purpose of the conference is to highlight insights gained through the partnership, with an eye to improving the management, and ultimately the quality of life in Karachi, drawing on the experiences of other megacities in developing countries.

With this Call for Papers we are soliciting abstracts on five Thematic Sessions which may relate to existing or emerging megacities. Each session will concentrate on challenges facing residents and policymakers in a particular policy domain, such as:

  • Water and Sanitation
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Education and
  • Youth Entrepreneurship

Papers for the thematic sessions should be based on qualitative or quantitative research and should address domain relevant issues of planning, implementation and/or evaluation of policies and programs in megacities, where the size and complexity of the urban environment qualitatively shift the administrative environment. 

Abstracts are to be submitted by February 15, 2016 to

Notification of decisions will be communicated by February 26, 2016

Selected final papers must be submitted by April 15, 2016

Conference Program Committee:

From George Mason University; Co-chairs Scientific Program Committee Dr. James Witte ( and Dr. Mehtab S. Karim (  

From University of Karachi: Chair, Organizing Committee (

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