Qudsia Naunehal Shah

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I am a researcher at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. I have an MA in Social Anthropology of Development (2006) from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and an MSc in Economics (2002) from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. I am an alumna of the Institute's Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities. I have more than 10 years of development and research experience. As part of my work, I engage with various themes particularly those that relate to the history and traditions of religious communities and their interactions with the modern world. I have a keen research interest in Climate Change and more recently on 15th Oct 2020 presented a paper, 'Between Expedient and Ethical: Muslim approaches to the Environment' organised by Michigan State University. I am in the process of developing educational resources to create awareness of Climate Change among different segments of Muslim community.

Hyderabadi Wind–Catchers, Pakistan

Hyderabad is a city in Pakistan that is about 165 kilometres from the nearest sea front that is the Arabian Sea. The ancient and mighty river Indus flows just on the outskirts of this historic city.

Climatically Hyderabad is a very unique city because the wind always blew in a South Western direction. Taking advantage of this, for the last almost five hundred years each house in this ancient city used to construct what were called ‘mungs’ (wind-catchers), sometimes each house would have one mung for each room. These provided cool air in oppressive summer heat. Up until 1960’s the cityscape of Hyderabad had these ‘mungs’ adorning each rooftop. This is no longer the case. There are only two wind-catchers in Hyderabad now and they are only placed for aesthetic reasons and are not functional. Pakistan is an energy starved country and is one of the 10 countries in the world that will be most adversely affected by Climate Change. The urban development programmes should include taking advantage of local and traditional building techniques but unfortunately this is not the case. The building materials similarly, across Pakistan are, detached from the environmental context and are counter productive to the climate with the net effect that they make homes colder in winter and warmer in summer. Using Hyderabad as a case study, I will expand my study to other areas in Pakistan as well as usefulness of other traditional building techniques.

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