Culture of Poverty and Sustainable Development: Case of Machar Colony in Karachi

Keywords: Bengali population, culture, citizenship rights, upward mobility


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This paper analyzes the intrinsic relation between two key indicators of development; sustainability and poverty. It specifically focuses on culture of poverty and sustainable development. Sustainable development envisions a balanced growth of human societies, meeting the current needs without compromising the required natural resources for future generations. The idea of culture of poverty is put forward in social theory, and the idea revolves around ideals of people experiencing poverty and how it may play an important role in preserving their disadvantaged situation, thus maintaining a cycle of poverty across generations. They may be resistant to considering sustainable choices while taking advantage of economic opportunities. So, the question posed is whether the culture of poverty acts as a hindrance or a facilitator for sustainable development. Given that culture forms an intrinsic part of sustainable development principles, this paper reviews the case of a marginalized low-income community in Karachi, exploring the everyday choices they make within the culture of poverty and the interface they have with the larger framework of sustainable development. Case study methodology has been employed, with qualitative interviews, observation and mapping used as research tools. The results of the research reveal a sense of disempowerment that residents of Machar Colony face, leading them to focus on short-term survival rather than long-term sustainable development objectives.  The prevalent culture of poverty impedes progress and development, failing to pave the path for sustainable livelihood.


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How to Cite
Ahmed, S. (2024). Culture of Poverty and Sustainable Development: Case of Machar Colony in Karachi. Journal of Art, Architecture and Built Environment, 7(1), 17-34. Retrieved from