Imran Khan’s government’s announcement to build 5 million houses is timely and welcoming. However, the question is where to build these houses, how to build these houses, for whom to build these houses and its relationship with job destinations, social network and public transport availability? Building mass housing, especially low-cost housing, is not a new political slogan in Pakistan. In the last 70 years, every political and military government made a huge claim in housing provision. The building and rebuilding of houses in Karachi and Lahore was overseen by the Improvement Trusts which was later upgraded to Development Authorities, such as the Karachi Development Authority (KDA), Lahore Development Authority (LDA) etc. These Trusts initially played an important role in regenerating old cities (such as Shah Alam area in Lahore) after the chaos and destruction of the partition. However, their predecessor, the Development Authorities provided development help to the provincial and local governments by building suburban housing schemes, such as Samanabad, Shad Bagh, Township, Iqbal Town, Johar Town in Lahore. Moreover, in Karachi mass houses in Korangi, Lyari and Malir were built to accommodate the sharp population growth in the post-independence era. The scale in housing problems provides an opportunity in Karachi to introduce alternative models of low-cost housing, such as the Khuda Ki Basti and Orangi Pilot Project. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government came into power with the slogan of roti, kapra and mukan (food, clothes and house). His government built labour colonies and low-cost housing. Housing provision was important to the point of the Junejo government’s Five Point development strategy. His government regularised and later upgraded the Katachi Abadies (slums area) to provide relief to the poor people. In 1980, and 1990, the government encouraged the Cooperative Housing Societies, which created a mushroom growth in the site and service plots at the edge of the city. Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif government also initiated Mera Ghar and Ashiana Housing in their tenure. People experienced the rapid growth of DHA and Bahria Town in the last twenty years. All these housing schemes took more than 20 years (sometimes 30 years) to attract people due to the distance of the location from jobs and educational institutes. Besides these housing schemes, Pakistan experimented building new cities and industrial towns after independence. Islamabad is one of these experiments which was aimed at providing affordable housing to middle-class people. Sector-I and Sector-G were designed for low to middle-income people, which now is even unaffordable for high-income groups. The recent failure to build a new town was Zulfiqarabad in Sindh. All over the world, new cities are expensive to build and even harder to populate, due to the absence of an economic and social network. In 1980, and 1990, the government encouraged the Cooperative Housing Societies, which created a mushroom growth in the site and service plots at the edge of the city. Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif government also initiated Mera Ghar and Ashiana Housing in their tenure. People experienced the rapid growth of DHA and Bahria Town in the last twenty years History has told us that building low-density housing schemes and new cities create more housing problems rather than solving them. This is due to a project-based approach which promotes speculation rather than resolving housing problems in Pakistan. Then the question is where and how to build 5 million houses. Worldwide, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and metro train systems provide a catalyst for urban regeneration and land development. Property near BRT/metro stations and corridors become desirable for redevelopment due to their proximity to the transport system, jobs, educational institutes and health facilities. Hong Kong and Singapore are the best examples of building mass housing near train stations, known as rail plus property model. The recent development of the Metro Bus in Lahore, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Multan and future BRT in Peshawar and Karachi provide opportunities to prepare land use policy and regulations that would encourage 20 to 30 stories of apartment buildings around BRT stations and alongside corridors. International developers are willing to invest in high-rise apartment buildings on high-quality transit corridors, particularly if the government assembles and acquires land for development. Pakistan can learn from Delhi, India where a close relationship between the metro train and property development is regenerating the city. Pakistan needs a 21 century approach to redevelop its cities and avoid mistakes made in the past. Housing is more than brick and mortar and needs capable institutions to carry this job. Imran Khan’s government needs to form a comprehensive urban planning approach, and legal and financial systems to provide 5 million houses in Pakistani cities. The government should prepare a national urban policy plan which provides incentives and tools for building mass scale, affordable housing in all cities with a population over a lakh. The new local government’s actions should empower Mayors and their team to align national housing targets in their jurisdiction. More importantly, the government should evaluate and merge all organisations which are responsible directly or indirectly in the provision of housing before creating a new housing authority. A creative way of delivering affordable housing can become a vehicle for economic growth, foreign direct investment and new social contracts to the people in the Naya Pakistan. The writer is an Associate Professor Muhammad Imran teaches transport and urban planning at Massey University, New Zealand. He is an author of a book “Institutional barriers to sustainable urban transport in Pakistan” published by Oxford University Press Published in Daily Times, October 12th 2018.