Urban growth in the Kathmandu Valley: The transformation of public space

Chitrakar, Rajjan Man, Baker, Douglas, & Guaralda, Mirko (2014) Urban growth in the Kathmandu Valley: The transformation of public space. In Bravo, Luisa (Ed.) Past Present and Future of Public Space – International Conference on Art, Architecture and Urban Design, 25-27 June 2014, Bologna, Italy.



Traditional towns of the Kathmandu Valley boast a fine provision of public spaces in their neighbourhoods. Historically, a hierarchy of public space has been distributed over the entire town with each neighbourhood centered around more or less spacious public squares. However, rapid growth of these towns over the past decades has resulted in haphazard development of new urban areas with little provision of public space. Recent studies indicate that the loss of public space is a major consequence of the uncontrolled urban growth of the Kathmandu Valley and its new neighbourhoods. This paper reviews the current urban growth of the Kathmandu Valley and its impact on the development of public space in new neighbourhoods. The preliminary analysis of the case study of three new neighbourhoods shows that the formation and utilization of neighbourhood public space exhibit fundamental differences from those found in the traditional city cores. The following key issues are identified in this paper:

a) Governance and regulations have been a challenge to regulate rapid urban growth;

b) The current pattern of neighbourhood formation is found to be different from that of traditional neighbourhoods due to the changes with rapid urban development;

c) Public spaces have been compromised in both planned and unplanned new neighbourhoods in terms of their quantity and quality;

d) The changing provision of public space has contributed to its changing use and meaning; and

e) The changing demographic composition, changing society and life style have had direct impact on the declining use of public space.

Moreover, the management of public spaces remains a big challenge due to their changing nature and the changing governance. The current transformation public space does not appear to be conducive, and has led to adversely changing social environment of the new neighbourhoods.

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ID Code: 76384
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Urban growth, urban neighbourhood, public space, transformation, Kathmandu Valley
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban Design (120508)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2014 22:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2017 19:52

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