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HEALING BAGMATI Revitalizing the riparian zone of the Bagmati River


Healing Bagmati - Revitalizing the riparian zone of the Bagmati River 30 ECTS-point Master Thesis in Landscape Architecture Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management Faculty of Science University of Copenhagen Oskar Frelin, nzv337 Jens Hansen Holm ghv268 Supervisor: Peter Lundsgaard Hansen August 2016

Oskar Frelin

Jens Hansen Holm

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This master thesis work represents 30 ETCSpoints and have been prepared during the spring semester from the 8th of February to the 8th of August 2016. The work reflects the collaboration between Jens Hansen Holm and Oskar Frelin, to which both have contributed equally. We would like to thank; all friends in Nepal, fellow students, Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge Skov and our supervisor Peter Lundsgaard Hansen.

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ABSTRACT detail plans, sections and visualizations, how we imagine a river park on a five kilometre stretch of the Bagmati River.

This master thesis deals with a revitalization of the riverscape in Kathmandu, Nepal. The aim of the project is to visualize a green public space in the riparian zone of The Bagmati River which runs through Kathmandu. The thesis explores what impact urban greening can have on a city like Kathmandu, and how a degraded river can be transformed into a public park.

Initially, the Bagmati River Park proposal suggests ways to transform what is currently an abandoned and undeveloped brownfield, into a green public space that reconnects the temples to the water. Secondly it creates access along the river and ultimately the park connects the river to the city. The Bagmati River Park turns the river from being a backside to the city, into an attractive meeting place between Kathmandu and Patan – a green membrane between two urban cores.

By analysing Nepal, the urban development of Kathmandu and the Bagmati river, we address four main challenges that the city faces: A lack of green public space, poor bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, a disconnected cultural heritage, and a river which has become a void and an ecological tragedy. As a solution to these challenges, we put forward a vision and a strategy for Kathmandu, with the river as a point of departure. The strategy focuses on three themes: green, human and cultural connectivity. The river zone then becomes the structure that ties these themes together, essentially by proposing the river network to become a green infrastructure connecting different areas in the city. In continuation of our vision we move to our site, showing in tangible

The design focuses on supporting and preserving the cultural heritage along the river, by connecting and emphasizing the temples, effectively incorporating a “temple walk� into the park design. Each area in the park has been designed based on its current use, with the local characteristics in mind. In that way they become part of a sequence where each of them adds their distinctive character to the greater whole.

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INTRO

XL

18 L

26

Abstract

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Nepal

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Map 1:100.000

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Prologue and motivation

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Geography and ecology

22

Urban development

30

Rivers of Nepal

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Timeline

32

Terminology

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Abbreviations

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Green structures

34

Background

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Infrastructure

36

Research question

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Cultural structures

38

Delimitations

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Method

14

Disposition

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OUTRO Discussion and conclusion

146

Bibliography

150

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M

40 S

62 XS

96

Myths of the Bagmati

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Reorganizing the city

66

Manohara Lagoon

The Bagmati River

44

Registration

68

Shankhamul Temple

102

The degraded river

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1. Shankhamul

70

UN-Park Alleyway

106

Photos of the river

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2. Dhobi Khola

72

Dobi Khola Floating Gardens

112

Climate

50

3. Thapathali

74

Thapathali Wetlands

118

Water flow

52

4. Teku

76

Thapathali Temple Park

124

Historical development

54

Workshop: Urban greening

78

Bagmati Sport Fields

132

Challenges summary

58

Registration summary

80

Teku Ropeway Park

138

Green vision Kathmandu

60

Design concepts

82

1. Greening the river

82

2. Reuniting river and city

84

3. Reconnect along the river

86

Bagmati River Park 1:6000

88

Bagmati River Park elements

90

Aerial visualisation

94

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PROLOGUE AND MOTIVATION Why Kathmandu and the river of Bagmati?

Oskar:

suggested to make the city and the Bagmati River the center of our investigation. I thought that the polluted state of the river and the huge unfulfilled potential of the city would make great subjects for our thesis. The initial motivation for choosing the Bagmati River and Kathmandu, was mainly to clean the river through landscape architecture. However, after visiting Kathmandu we realized that the city was in urgent need for urban greening and that we could do more good by proposing ways to green the city. Instead of the river itself, the riparian zone along the river became the center of attention. Our focus changed to a field, where we as landscape architects can challenge the current situation and make use of our knowledge, in order to benefit both the Nepali people and the Nepalese landscape.

In 2011, a few months before both Jens and I started our landscape architectural studies, I went to Nepal for the first time. I decided to go visit a friend who had just moved there for work, and didn’t really know what to expect. My first experience with Kathmandu was on the day after arrival, when a general transportation strike was going on, and my friend and I were bicycling around Kathmandu on the ring road. This is normally a busy congested transportway, but that day it was full of kids playing and wasn’t laden with fumes. I didn’t reflect on it there and then, but the fact that the ring road turned into a social space on that particular day, was – and still is – a clear indicatior of the lack of public spaces in the city. I think I felt something special for Kathmandu right from that point. It might not be the most beautiful city in the world, even though it has several World Heritage sites (WHS). It’s definitely not the cleanest and probably one of the more under maintained urban settlements out there. But Kathmandu has the most incredible street life. Therefore, it’s not the tourist landmarks that you will remember. It’s the small side streets and the slum backsides, where everybody wants to talk to you and everybody is your friend. For a landscape architect, the city also contains so many possibilities for development. Sometimes it’s frustrating to see all the lost potential when you visit a developing country. This thesis is a great possibility to make a positive impact on a cityscape in need of some love.

Both:

We chose a site such as Kathmandu because we wanted to challenge ourselves to use our skills and knowledge in a completely different context than the one we are used to. It has been an exciting, and at times exhausting, task. We have learned that landscape architecture is needed more than ever in cities like Kathmandu. As the city expands at a rapid rate and population numbers rises, the public spaces are diminished if they are not properly taken care of and planned for. Learning that our methods and approach can be applied to a different context and that people can benefit from our knowledge and design, has also been a motivating factor. It is our wish that our thesis can inspire the future development. Many great ideas of how to work with Bagmati is already out there, and with this thesis we hope to make a contribution; to inspire with our visualization of a greener future for Kathmandu.

Jens:

In the autumn of 2015, Oskar and I had a talk, and decided to write our master thesis together. Oskar, who had been in Kathmandu before,

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Kathmandu 2011 Oskar: This picture was taken in 2011 on my second day in Kathmandu on my bicycle trip around the city. When we were starting to reasearh the Bagmati River, I went through my old pictures and found this boy overlooking the Bagmati.

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TERMINOLOGY Chautari Ghat Khola Lingams Marg Mati Pagoda Riparian zone/area Sattal Sikhara Stupa Tirtha

Rest stop or community gathering place, usually in the shade of a major tree with a sitting plat-form underneath. Seen both in urban and rural Nepal. Stairs built at the river banks to give access to the water for devotees, usually around the temples. Nepali for minor river/stream. Cylindrical structure. Abstract representation of the Hindu god Shiva, used for worship in temples, shrines or and as a solitary structure around the city. Nepali, meaning street. Nepali, meaning major river. Tower, usually a temple, with multiple roofs seen all over South Asia. The landscape in between the river and the land. Riparian is also one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes on the planet. Resting place, usually a building around the temples for pilgrims to stay in. North Indian type of Hindu tower. Hemispherical structure. A sanctuary used for meditation and worship by Buddhists. Sanskrit for “crossing place�, used when referring to pilgrimage site.

ABBREVIATIONS HPCIDBC KVDA WHO WHS UNESCO USAID

High Powered Committee for the Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilization Kathmandu Valley Development Authority World Health Organization World Heritage Site United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United States Agency for International Development

Ghat Sketch of a Kathmandu ghat. The ghats are stairs, usually at the temple areas, giving the visitor easy access to the water to perform ritual baths.

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BACKGROUND Rapid urbanization in developing countries often fails to learn from other cities that have been through a similar development. There is a need to acknowledge the benefits of urban greening being just as important for the city as the built environment. Green spaces improve the city dwellers’ quality of life, reduce stress and provide a sense of peace (Chiesura, 2004).

Rivers have throughout human history been an omnipresent part of people’s lives. Almost all of the greatest civilizations grew from river valleys. The life-giving properties of water have been exploited throughout our history. Quick access to water, opportunity of fishing and yearly floods from the river irrigating crops, resulted in an abundance of food. This abundance of resources gave rise to communities of which some parts were engaged in non-agricultural activities, giving rise to more complex social organization and the construction of city societies. The rivers were also used to transport goods, thus creating trade routes and connecting the emerging cities along the river (McCannon, 2008).

As stated in 2001 by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), urban greening, in a broad definition, provides a number of services that are linked to human wellbeing. The supporting services are the indirect services such as nutrient cycling, soil formation and primary production which in turn support the provisioning (i.e. food, freshwater) regulating services (i.e. air and water purification) and cultural services (i.e. recreational, aesthetic value). The provisioning and regulating services are important for people’s wellbeing, livelihoods, sense of security, access to food, clean water and shelter, whereas the cultural services provide physical and mental wellbeing, as well as creating social cohesion (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005).

The oldest known civilization emerged in 3500 BC around the river system Tigris–Euphrates in what is known as Mesopotamia, an area currently occupied by Iraq, Kuwait and Eastern Syria. Simultaneously, civilizations rose in Egypt around the River Nile and in the Northwestern regions of South Asia, from Afghanistan through Pakistan to Northwest India around the Indus River. Together they are often referred to as the ‘cradle of civilization’ and all of them had a river system as a premise for their development (Mountjoy, 2005).

Green public spaces have also proved to be an essential part of a disaster resilient city, as was made evident by the 2010 earthquake in Christchurch. Brand and Nicholson (2016) writes about learning from post-earthquake Christchurch: “The inner city parks provided refuge and shelter immediately after the earthquakes and were used as a base for the international search and rescue operations.” Some of the largest cities in the world such as Deli and Jakarta are prone to earthquakes and the amount of green space in these cities can be a decisive factor in saving lives if disaster strikes.

Urban greening

In 2010, our planet passed a landmark, as over 50% of the seven billion people populating the world now live in cities. The urban growth was mainly focused in less developed countries and most of the largest megacities are situated in less developed countries. As more people move to cities, the stress on housing stock and existing green spaces increases and when cities expand rapidly, urban green spaces are often neglected (Jim, 2012). As put forward by Jim (2004) “If green space is deprived, a compact city becomes the antithesis of a green city”.

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Rivers in an Asian context

into an asset for the city’s dwellers as well as plants and animals. The projects demonstrate multifunctional design, providing important ecosystem services such as water purification, storm water collection, filtering and recharging groundwater, mitigating flooding, ecology restoration and habitat creation, while creating excellent public spaces, benefiting both urban dwellers and the city’s image. Turenscape work with both defensive and opportunistic strategies and they use the notions of ecological infrastructure and safety patterns, to create a responsive landscape architecture. They secure important ecological networks from urban development, and restore and integrate existing water networks in the city. Hereby they reintroduce them both as attractive public spaces and as resourceful landscapes, that provide a multitude of ecosystem services to the city (Meulder and Shannon, 2013).

This new water urbanism takes advantage of a holistic approach, looking at waterways on multiple scales and sectors. Landscape architects have a key role to play when it comes to solving the water crisis in Asia and elsewhere in the world, because landscape architects are trained in working across different scales and with complex relations between natural processes and the urban environment. As the professor and founder of Turenscape Kongjian Yu writes “The key is to build an ‘ecological infrastructure’ based on water processes across scales…” (Meulder and Shannon, 2013).

Kathmandu

Still today, water is an essential asset for human settlement, not least in Asia that has a long tradition for utilizing their waterways for transport, defense and livelihoods (Meulder and Shannon, 2013). However, the last decades of industrialization have had a negative impact on the waterways in Asia. Many urban rivers have become altered beyond recognition through concrete embankments and straightening of the river course, often in order to prevent flooding and to secure against erosion. As Meulder and Shannon (2013) puts it, they have become “[...] physical, cultural and economic dividers... open sewers with contamination plumes emptied directly into them.” However, there is a trend towards revitalizing rivers and their ecosystems in an interplay with the urban environment in a new form of “water urbanism” (Meulder and Shannon, 2013).

This approach to urban greening and the use of water urbanism as means of planning future cities, exemplified by the projects from Turenscape, shows that the negative consequences arising from urbanization, can be mitigated if there is a political will. Can a similar approach be used to transform the riverscape of Kathmandu? The city faces numerous urban environmental problems caused by rapid urbanization, and the government has failed to provide the services and infrastructure needed to keep up with the demand. Kathmandu has suffered from the political tumult in the country, obstructing implementation of plans and programs in recent years (Thapa et al., 2007). The city needs sufficient urban development strategies that can be implemented on both a local and regional scale (Thapa et al., 2007). We believe that a transformation of the riverscape of Kathmandu can be the key in such a strategy – a green and blue framework for the development of a sustainable city.

The recent development in China, propelled forward by the collaboration between the School of Landscape Architecture at Peking University in Beijing and Turenscape, shows that built projects can be drivers for changing the current paradigm and lead to policy changes in the city (Meulder and Shannon, 2013). Projects by Turenscape such as Qiayuan Wetland, Yongying River Park “Floating garden” and Sanlihe Greenway all show how water is turned

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RESEARCH QUESTION The main research question of this thesis is:

How can the riverscape of Kathmandu be transformed with the use of green infrastructure, creating green public space that can serve as a framework for the future sustainable development of Kathmandu? We have formulated three sub-questions to support our main question: • • •

How can a green revitalization of a river become a catalyst for further sustainable development? By what means can this revitalization of the riparian zone contribute to a livable city? In what ways can cultural heritage sites respectfully be preserved and included as part of a new contemporary landscape design?

DELIMITATIONS includes the actual implications and urban politics of our proposal, which is something we leave to the citizens of Kathmandu to act upon.

This thesis has a holistic approach when investigating the urban development of Kathmandu. The proposal, however, is restricted to a specific site, meaning we won’t solve all the problems described in the introduction, but work with those within the site.

We have tried to stay neutral in the issue of the illegal settlements along the river. We have kept our proposal from dealing with the established settlements and generally won’t treat the matter in this thesis.

We have also decided not to work with cleaning of the sewage water, since this is broadly outside of the landscape architect’s field of work, and because the sewage piping along the river is already under way.

Lastly, we work around many heritage sites in forms of shrines and temples, many of which are in need of maintenance. Or hope is that this thesis can highlight the need of such work, but we will not go into the details of the technical issue of the restoration.

Our contribution is to visualize and inspire how the river zone could evolve after the physical cleaning of the river is realized. This also

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METHOD At the end of our stay we arranged a workshop with a group of young people engaged in social issues in Activista, a volunteer organization. In this workshop we let them design their own green space in Kathmandu, so that we could get an insight into the local wishes and customs when designing green public space. During the field trip we formulated the framework of the strategy.

When starting up this project, we searched through both litterature and the internet to find out what has been written about the Bagmati River and the urban development of Kathmandu. This was necessary in order to formulate an outline for the thesis. We studied maps and investigated the city and through mapping we got closer to the river and a potential project site. We were also looking at “references projects� that specifically deals with river transformation, to get an idea of how other professionals have done design in similar contexts.

Back in Copenhagen we started to outline our strategy in order to translate our ideas into plans. During this process of making these initial designs, we naturally narrowed down our site what we later came to center this thesis around. From here we worked with the different locations within this site, and came up with individual designs for each of them, adapted to their local needs and circumstances, while still being part of an overall concept. At the end of the process we made plans, sections and visualizations to communicate our ideas for the area.

Two weeks into our process we went on a two month field trip to Kathmandu. At this point we had a vague idea of what we wanted to achieve, but had yet to define our project and define our site. During our stay in Kathmandu we walked along the river to document and do site registrations. We talked to both professionals within our field, politicians and civilians, to get a picture of the river and its meaning to Kathmandu.

14


Kathmandu field trip Walk the river Talk the river Draw the river

15


DISPOSITION The first three chapters are dedicated to registrations that end with a summary and our vision for a future Kathmandu. The last two chapters deal with the site itself and appertaining site registration, design concept and proposal.

This thesis is subdivided in into five chapters. These chapters are categorized by scale, ranging from XL to XS. The chapters provide the reader with a sense of scale and serve as an easy overview of the thesis, as we gradually approach the smallest scale and the final proposal. The chapters also reflect the journey we have been on, beginning in the largest scale, travelling to Nepal and researching and narrowing down the project, to finally designing and finishing the proposal back in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lastly, we discuss and reflect upon our proposal and our thesis subject as a whole.

16


XL X-tra large provides an overview of Nepal, its geography, its people and its rivers.

L Large looks at Kathmandu and how it has expanded over the recent decades. This is followed by an analysis of the current urban fabric: green areas, infrastructure and places of cultural significance.

M Medium treats the Bagmati River and its importance to the inhabitants of Kathmandu, its current degraded state and the current development revolving around it.

S Small explains the site through a site registration; upstream and downwards. This is followed by a design strategy and a masterplan for the Bagmati River Park.

XS X-tra small reveals the proposal through visualizations, sections and plans. The structure follow the flow of the river, upstream and downwards.

17


E84°

N28°


XL 1:9.000.000 Nepal


NEPAL An introduction

monarch abdicated in 2008 after a 10 year long civil war between Maoists and the government forces. The elected politicians could not come together for a new constitution until September 2015, but the political instability has remained.

Nepal is a sovereign state in South Asia landlocked between India in the South and China in the North. The elevation stretches from 70m above sea level in the South end, to 8850m at the summit of Mount Everest in the North end. Nepal has eight of the world’s ten highest mountains and the Himalayan mountain range dominates the Northern part of the country.

One of the reasons for the instability is that 30 different political parties are elected into the Constituent Assembly and many parties seem to have a hard time agreeing (World Factbook, 2016). The political instability have slowed down the development of the country and have made it harder to implement long-term plans and programs (Thapa et al., 2007). Nepal was recently ranked the 37th most corrupt country in the world, and the corruption is a contributing factor to the slow political development (Transparency International, 2016).

In 2015 Nepal had a population of 28.514.000 (The World Bank, 2016) with a majority living outside the urban zones. 70% provide their livelihood from agriculture. With 25% of the population below the poverty line, it is one of the least developed and poorest countries in the world. Nepal has a long history of political instability. It used to be a kingdom, but the last

20


6.

7.

4. 5.

3. 1. 2.

Geography Nepal is situated in South East Asia. The country is landlocked bordering India to the south and China to the North. Nepal is divided from East to West into seven different provinces. Kathmandu lies in Kathmandu Valley in province number 3.

21


GEOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY Nepal – the roof of The World

forest, moist alpine scrub and dry alpine scrub. Kathmandu Valley is located in the Lower Himalaya, also called Midlands (Negi, 1994).

The elevation defines the climatic zones with a stretch from tropical to alpine climate. Nepal can be divided from South to North into four different physiographic units: Siwalik Himalaya, Lower Himalaya, Main Himalaya and Trans Himalaya. The physiographic units that run parallel in belts from East to West, are cut through by the river systems running from North to South. The climatic zones range from warm tropical (below 700m), warm subtropical (700-2000m), temperate (2000-3500m), sub-alpine (3500-4500m) and alpine/arctic (4500) (Negi,1994). The main forest types are sal forest, lower Himalayan mixed deciduous, evergreen and semi evergreen forest, chir pine forest, temperate mixed coniferous forest, and temperate mixed deciduous, subalpine

Below is a South-North cross section through Kathmandu Valley, the dramatic elevation between the South and the North is visible. This results in many different climatic zones. In the Southern Terai region tropical to subtropical climate exists with savanna, grassland and broadleaf forest, above 1000m subtropical pine forest and between 1500m and 3000m temperate broadleaf forest. Above 3000m exists a belt of subalpine conifers. Kathmandu Valley is situated in the Midlands at around 1100m.

South-North cross section

Mount Everest 8848 m

Kathmandu Valley 5000m Alpine

4000m

Sub Alpine

3000m

Temperate

2000m

Sub Tropical

1000m

Tropical 160

140

Tarai

120

100

Siwalik Himalaya

80

60

Lower Himalaya / Midlands

22

40

20

Main Himalaya

0 km

Tibetanian Plateau


Area

Population

The area of Nepal is approximately three times the area of Denmark. The low island nation of Denmark is almost the topographic opposite of the mountainous Nepal.

The largest part of the Nepalese population lives in the countryside, but the urbanization have been increasing over the last decades as people move to the cities to find new livelihoods.

42.925 m2

5,3 million 23,2 million Urban Rural

147.181 m 2 Earthquakes

Kathmandu Valley with a death toll of approximately 8000 people and major devastation of houses, historical buildings and monuments. Major earthquakes occur with an interval of about 75 years and depending on where and how deep the epicenter is, the devastation is subsequent. Kathmandu Valley is an old lake bottom and the soil is made up of unstable clays making it extra vulnerable to earthquakes (Chang, 2015).

Nepal lies on the border between the Eurasian and the Indian tectonic plates. The Indian plate is pushing on the Eurasian and is moving with around 45mm/year. These forces have created the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the World, but also sets of devastating earthquakes. In the Spring of 2015 a 7.8M earthquake hit Nepal, and a few weeks later a 7.3M aftershock. Both affected the

Eur

25-04-2015 1833 M7.8 8M 12-05-2015 M7.3 asia

np Ind late ian pla te

Mt. Everest

Kathmandu 1934 M8.2 45mm/yr

23


RIVERS OF NEPAL Shaping a nation

even becomes a part of your body as you consume the glacial melt-off from your water bottles as you walk.

During our visit to Nepal, we decided to explore the Nepalese countryside and one of the famous trekking routes in the Himalayas. This two week trek around Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the World, gave us a great insight into the natural landscape of Nepal and left us with great inspiration for the design.

This is an experience shared by all the Nepali people who travel to their home villages in the rural part of the country. The travelling along the river by foot seems to be deeply rooted in the soul of the Nepali people. For all the people who depend on the river for their livelihood in their daily lives, the river is just there, bringing the condition of life, as well as leading the way up the mountains. The river is a common reference point and a beautiful landmark in the landscape.

Everyone in the rural, undeveloped regions of Nepal moves by foot. Almost everywhere the terrain is extremely rugged and the only option is to carry your own goods or have them transported by mule. This is not just the case in the Himalayas, but many rural villages in Nepal. The water will always find its way through the lowest point in the landscape. People also like to take the path demanding the least effort, and that is in most cases at the bottom of the valley. Therefore, most Nepali trails follow a river, and on the Manaslu trail you follow the Buri Gandaki River.

Besides creating conditions of life along the banks, the rivers are very important in the Hindu and Buddhist culture. They are used to cleanse both body and soul, and in Hinduism there are many rivers considered holy and given a divine status (ISKCON, 2016). In Nepalese culture when passed away, people want to be cremated at the banks of a holy river that will carry your ashes in its waters (Amatya, 1994). This ritual is practiced by Hindus at the holy temples located along the rivers, like Bagmati. The ritual is referred to as “the last sacrifice�, in Sanskrit Antyesti, and refers to the funeral rites for the dead in Hinduism. The diseased are burned on a platform and the ashes are pushed into the river (Srinivasan, 2016).

The river is always present. Sometimes as a slow flowing turquoise body, sometimes violently over rock into a waterfall. You walk at river level, just to climb and be a hundred meters above the next minute. Sometimes the only notion of the river is the sound, invisible in the thick surrounding forest. You cross the river daily; everything from nerveracking long suspension bridges to temporary wooden logs offering the passage. The river

24


Major rivers in Nepal Top: Mules are used in the hilly regions of the country, where the paths are too steep and narrow for other pack animals. They transport just about anything that does not exceed 60kg, enabling people to live as high as 6000m above sea level. Left: Map showing the major waterways of Nepal.

25


E85°18’

N27°42’


L 1:75.000 Kathmandu


Ring Road Kathmandu

Lalitpur (Patan) Kirtipur

Map 1:100.000 Orthophoto of Kathmandu Valley with municipality boundaries. The city is most densely populated within the boundaries of the Ring Road, but has been rapidly sprawling outwards over the last decades.


Thimi Bagtapur


KATHMANDU URBAN DEVELOPMENT Metropolitan cities are one and is often referred to as Kathmandu Metropolitan City. Three municipalities lie on the periphery of the Metropolitan city; on the Western side Kirtipur and on the Eastern side Thimi and Bhaktapur. Surrounding the metropolitan area and the municipalities are numerous smaller villages, that are governed by a village development committee (Brinkhoff, 2016).

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the largest urban settlement in the country. The city is located in the Central Region in the Kathmandu Valley at 1200-1400 metres above sea level. The metropolitan area lies in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by hills in all directions. According to the legend, Kathmandu was founded at the banks of the Bagmati River by King Gunakamdeva in the 10th century. He supposedly got the instructions from the Gods to build a city where the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers confluence (Rademacher, 2011).

As many other capitals in the world, Kathmandu is growing rapidly, as people move from rural areas into the capital. Over the last decades Kathmandu has seen a large increase in population, from 410.000 in 1951 to 2.6 million in 2011 (Dixit, 2011). The urbanization process in Nepal is very rapid and Kathmandu is one of the fastest growing cities in South Asia, with an annual population growth of 4%. This growth has mainly been unplanned, leading to a rapid uncontrolled sprawl and disappearance of open space (The World Bank, 2013).

Kathmandu is the only major city in the country and have most of the important political institutions (Rademacher, 2011). The city of Kathmandu is divided into two cities and three municipalities. Kathmandu Metropolitan city and Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan city make up the core of Kathmandu. Once two independent entities, but now grown together, the two

30


Population growth in Kathmandu since 1951 The population of Kathmandu Valley has boomed since the 1960s. The fast growth is still taking place and with an annual population increase of 4% it is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in South Asia (Dixit, 2011).

410.985

459.990

618.911

765.948

1.105.379

1.645.091

2.6 mill.

1951

1961

1971

1981

1991

2001

2011

Kathmandu Valley urban footprint Following the population growth, Kathmandu Valley has been transformed from solitary settlements, to a metropolitan area. This happened without proper monitoring, leading to a dense urban core with little open space left (Thapa and Murayama, 2008 & 2012).

1967

1978

1991

2000

2010

31


TIMELINE Nepal and Kathmandu, 1000 BCE to present

1000 BCE Swayambhunath shrine built

1920 - The 10th Century population of the According to the legend, King valley is 108.805 Guankama Deva establish a city at the banks of Bagmati River

1934 - NepalBihar Earthquake, Magnitude 8,2 1920 - Garden of Dreams gets build

1964 - Hetauda Kathmandu Ropeway constructed 1962 - Ratna Park gets build 1956 - Central Zoo opens

1970s - Construction of the Ring Road

The pond at the Central Zoo in Patan.

Teku Temple in the 1960s by Toni Hagen. There was a lot more water at this time.

32


1990s - Ropeway shuts down 1979 - Kathmandu Valley is declared a UNESCO WHS

1996 - Start of the 2006 - The Civil Civil War between War ends. Maoist and goverment forces 2008 - First democratic 1996 - Construction elections of UN Park starts

April 2015 Earthquake magnitude 7,8 2012 - Start of the Bagmati Cleaning Campaign

March 2016 - a courtyard in Patan destroyed by the earthquake in 2015. The city is still rebuilding many of the neighborhoods affected by the earthquake.

33

Sep. 2015 - The new constitution came to effect


GREEN STRUCTURES Prior to the urbanization of the valley, the cities of Kathmandu and Patan were separated by fields. However, since the 1960s, the agricultural landscape has transformed into a metropolitan area. Almost all land within the urban area has been occupied by buildings and there are only few green public spaces left, due to unmonitored city development (Thapa and Murayama, 2008). In Kathmandu Municipality there is only 0,48% open space and in Lalitpur 0,06%. WHO recommend a minimum of 9m2 open space per person, Kathmandu only has 0,25m2 (Government of Nepal, 2015).

2008) as seen in the illustration to the right. Most of the parks within the city have an entry fee, which does not make them accessible to the main public. The biggest park in Kathmandu is Ratna park located in the center next to Tundikhel, an open space belonging to the military (Rai, 2002). Although Tundikhel has no entry fee, it is more of a dirt field than a park, mostly used for playing football, cricket and for larger gatherings, such as military parades and festivals. The area was used as a temporary camp side for the affected earthquake victims in 2015.

There are very few street trees in Kathmandu, and from our time in the city we saw many small trees in bad condition. In some places there are so-called Chautaris, a Banyan or Ficus Religiosa tree with a sitting platform underneath. These trees are seen all over Nepal and are usually a resting and gathering point for the local communities.

Open spaces in the city act as disaster relief areas, where people can flee to during the earthquake, when buildings are likely to collapse. Consequently these spaces serve as campsites for temporary housing and hospital services (Brand and Nicholson, 2016). The earthquake in 2015 made it clear that Kathmandu was lacking such open spaces. There are ongoing surveys performed by the KVDA mapping the green areas in the city in order to improve the circumstances and prepare for future disasters (KVDA, 2016).

The large green areas can be found at the fringe of the valley. These have a steep terrain and are covered by forests (Thapa and Murayama,

Square meter public space per person 36

23

9

Chautari Sketch of a Chautari, a tree and a local hangout spot.

0,25

1,65

Kathmandu Mumbai

34

3,5 Tokyo

WHO

New York Copenhagen


Shivapuri National Park

Nagarjun Forest Reserve

Gokarna Forest

Swayambhunath Temple complex

Bagmati River

Bishnumati River Garden of Dreams

Pashpuntinath Temple Complex

Ratna Park Amusement park

Dhobi Khola

UN Park Tribhuvan University Park

Engineering College

Central Zoo

Suryabinayak Forest

Botanical Gardens Godavari Community Forest

GREEN STRUCTURES Ring Road

Green area

35

River and water bodies


INFRASTRUCTURE overcloud the view of the surrounding mountains. The bowl shaped valley restrict the air circulation, and is one of the reasons why Kathmandu rates among the most polluted cities in the world. Sometimes the particulate matter in the air is measured at 400µg/m3. The WHO consider the air unsafe at levels above 10µg/m3 (Thapa and Adhikari, 2016). The many construction works and unpaved roads contribute to the dusty air. The scheduled “brownouts”, cutting electricity for up to 18 hours a day, have pushed many people to use generators to produce their own electricity (Lodge, 2014).

The uncontrolled urbanization and the increase in urban dwellers, has resulted in an inadequate infrastructure that is lacking behind the demands of the city. This has caused heavy air pollution and congestion (Shrestha, 2011). Many of the small streets in the old medieval parts of the city are only two meters wide, but are still used by both pedestrians, motorbikes and occasionally cars. During rush hours, the main roads become clogged and traffic hardly moves. The 27km ring road that encircle the city, was constructed in the 1970s. Today it is in a poor condition (Shrestha, 2011). Even on the ring road there is no traffic separation. Buses, trucks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians and livestock have to share the space. Paving is in most places in bad condition or absent.

From a bicyclist or pedestrian’s point of view, Kathmandu is a very hostile environment to move around in, not only due to the heavy smog, but also because of the absence of bicycle lanes and adequate sidewalks. From our experience, having lived in Kathmandu for two months, it seems to be a ‘symbol of status’ to own a motorbike or a car. Only the poorest people, who can’t afford a motorized vehicle, bicycle in Kathmandu. The unsafe conditions for bicyclists make it unattractive to bicycle around the city.

In 1964, USAID helped the construction of a 42 km long ropeway from Hetauda to Kathmandu, that was used to transport provisions into Kathmandu over the Valley Mountains. It could bring the equivalent of 25 truckloads per day, but was shut down in 1990 after a long time without proper maintenance (Gyawali et al.,2004). Most days, the heavy air pollution in Kathmandu

The streetscape of Kathmandu.

36


Kathmandu Former Royal Palace Thamel

Tribhuvan International Airport Kathmandu Durbar Square

Government Headquarters Birendra International Conference Centre

Tribhuvan University Jawalakhel

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Patan

INFRASTRUCTURE Ring Road

Main roads

Secondary roads

37

Bridges


CULTURAL STRUCTURES From our time in the city, we got the impression that all these places and buildings seem as individual islands of heritage in a chaotic urban jungle. We believe it has to do with the current infrastructure that favors motorized vehicles and not people. A lack of pedestrianfriendly infrastructure outside the old parts of Kathmandu makes it difficult to move between these sites, without taking a taxi or a bus.

Kathmandu has a rich cultural heritage, an abundance of temples and shrines, with the seven World Heritage sites (WHS) as the prime examples within the valley (The World Bank, 2013). The historic Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur are all WHS and are centers in the old towns of each historical city. The two Buddhist stupas, Swayambhu and Boudhanath, are two of the World’s largest stupas, the latter has become the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu. The Hindu Temple complex at Pashupati, where the Bagmati River passes through, is the most sacred place for Hindus in Nepal (UNESCO, 2016). These sites are the most popular tourist destinations in Kathmandu, besides the Thamel area, where most travellers stay and spend most of their time. Many of the religious sites are shared between Hindus and Buddhists as their religion share many Gods and rituals. Since Bagmati is a holy river for both Buddhists and Hindus, many temples, Ghats, Sattals and shrines have been built along the banks of the river to give the devotees access to the holy waters (Amatya, 1994).

Religion Distribution of religion among the population in Kathmandu Valley (Gurung et al., 2008).

0,8 %

1,9 %

20,9 % Hindu

76,4 %

Buddist Other Muslim

Shrines The three main types of Nepalese shrines: Stupa, Pagoda and Sikhara.

38


Boudhanath Stupa

Swayambhunath Temple complex

Pashupatinath Temple Complex Kathmandu Durbar

Teku Kalmochan Temple

Sankhamul

Kirtipur Temples

Bhaktapur Durbar

Patan Durbar

Places of Worship Hindu

Buddhist

Christian

Monuments

Undefined

UNESCO WHS

39


E85°18’

0km

N27°42’

35km


M 35 KM The Bagmati River

“The Bagmati River system is the vein of life of the people of Kathmandu. For many centuries it has irrigated the soil of the valley, made it fertile and green. For both the Hindus and the Buddhists the river is a sacred place. It is the ultimate desire of every Nepalese to be cremated on the banks of a holy river.� - Amatya, 1994


MYTHS OF THE BAGMATI From Nepalamahatmya – a myth of the origin of Bagmati River

That booming laughter rolling out of His mouth took the form of an unsullied river, swirling with sacred water, and whitened by garlands of foamy waves, arising and flowing forth out of the mouth of a cave in the mountain. Shiva said to Prahlada, “Since this river is manifested from my voice, her name will certainly be Vagamati (‘replete with the Voice’). Since Vishnu, in the form of an extraordinary lion stayed here, this will also be a holy place for the devotees of Vishnu. Its upper part will be an auspicious place of mine, filled with Shiva-lingas. On account of that, people will know it as Shivapuri (‘Shiva-town’). Return home, Prahlada. May your devotion to Vishnu be firm. Having become the lord and master of the demons, may you rule over your Father’s kingdom. This peak called Mrigendrashikhara will be a Vaishnava holy place, because Narahari rested here after slaying Hiranyakashipu. Since you, O lord of demons, a devotee of Vishnu, underwent severe austerities here, the holy river Vagamati was born from my laughter here. In this mountain’s upper portion are many lingams born of my power. A man who baths in the source of Vagmati and pays a reverent to visit Shivapuri, will be released from all the sins he may have committed in previous births.” After saying this, the God whose standard is emblazoned with a bull (Nandi) disappeared, along with his entourage. After that. The thrilled demon Prahlada returned to his own palace.

King Surtaketu has been defeated by the king of Mithila. The Rishi Narada appears to him and advises to take refuge on the Mrigendrashikhara Mountain (Shivapuri), where ‘the best of all rivers’, the Vagmati originates. Before doing so, the fleeing king asks Narada about the Vagmati River. Narada said: Almighty Lord Vishnu in the form of a man-lion killed the terrible demon Hiranyakashipu in order to protect His great devotee, Prahlada. Being very tired after this feat, the Lord went to a peak in the Himalaya to rest. This mountain became known later as Mrigendrashikhara (the ‘[man] Lions’ Peak’). Prahlada, who was the son of Hiranyakashipu, followed Vishnu to Himavan, while reciting all the time the names of Narasimha. When Prahlada did not see his Lord on the peak, finding no other way of drawing Vishnu’s attention, he undertook exceptionally fierce austerities there. The best of demons blazed with extreme austerities for a thousand years, but Lord Vishnu never appeared to him. Luckily for Prahlada, he had undertaken his austerities in a place imbued with the power of Shiva, the God who is easily pleased (‘Ashutosha’). Shiva felt pity for Prahlada. The Great God was so happy with these austerities performed in His place by a devotee of Vishnu, and also amused that, even after a thousand years, Vishnu had not appeared to Prahlada, that Shiva laughed out loud.

- Pp 21-23, Forbes and Chaubey, 2015

42


Shivapuri Mountains

Kathmandu

Chobhar Gorge

43


THE BAGMATI RIVER An introduction

Bagmati River is the holiest river in Nepal and a religious symbol for both Buddhists and Hindus. The banks of the river are still used for holy funerals, where the deceased are cremated and their ashes pushed into the water. The river is also used for holy baths, and many pilgrims used to travel to the Temples of Bagmati River, visiting them one by one, taking holy baths along the way (Forbes and Chaubey, 2015). This practice is still going on, but is mostly confined to the temples at Pashupati WHS.

The Bagmati River is a large river running through the Bagmati Basin in central Nepal. The river originates North of Kathmandu Valley in the Shivapuri Mountains. On its way South it meets nine major tributaries: Nakhu, Kodku, Godavari, Balkhu, Bishnumati, Dhobi, Manohara, Hanumante and Manamati. Bagmati River, like its tributaries, originates at the top of the hills that surrounds the Kathmandu Valley on all sides. The Bagmati River leaves the valley at Chobhar gorge. The river runs through the valley that was once the bottom of a lake, and Chobhar gorge was the place where the former lake was drained in ancient times. According to Amatya (1994), “Bagmati is the holiest river to a Nepali� and the main water supplement source for the city. Many important temples, shrines, ghats etc. are located along the riverbanks and are used for different cultural and ritual purposes (Amatya, 1994).

In recent times, some stretches of the banks of the river have been populated by illegal settlements (squatters) who have been forced to settle at the banks, due to lack of appropriate options for housing. Some of the oldest squatting communities have a permanent character, and have won the right to the land that they are built upon, but some settlements have been forced to move out by the government (Rademacher, 2011). The river has also been the center of attention in an ongoing cleaning Bagmati Campaign that began 29th of January 2012. The campaign has successfully mobilized a large amount of volunteers that have been meeting every week to remove solid waste from the river (Setopati, 2015).

The river fulfills many purposes for the local population. As a source of water for everyday use, the river is used for washing clothes, irrigation of crops (mainly outside the urban core, where the water has a reasonable quality) and water for animals. The banks are used for grassing, playing, contemplation, resting and growing crops in urban farms. The river bank also acts as a meeting place at water posts and temples.

44


Dhobi Khola Bishnumati River

Bagmati River Manohara River Hanumante River

Pashupati Temples The ghats and cremation platforms at the Pashupati temples. This WHS is the most important Hindu temple complex in Nepal and many people are cremated here after they have passed away.

45


THE DEGRADED RIVER A river turned into an open sewer

higher than the recharge rate and this adds to the lowering of the groundwater table even further (NWCF, 2009). We have illustrated this in the diagram on the right.

The river faces several ecological and environmental challenges. The rapid urbanization and industrialization in the Kathmandu metropolitan area, that has been escalating since the late 1980s, have led to a heavy exploitation of the water resources. This has resulted in pollution and degradation of the water quality (NWCF, 2009). In many places untreated sewage water and solid waste is directly discharged and dumped into the river. This is a common practice has been going on for several decades.

The last few decades there has been an increase in roads and private houses constructed along the rivers. Often the roads are constructed to the very edge of the river. As the urban fabric has expanded, much of the agricultural land along the river has been converted to residential areas (NWCF, 2009). Before entering the city, the water has a decent quality, but when approaching the urban core of Kathmandu, there is a severe decrease in quality. Visually the river transforms from a natural river into an open sewer. The main sources of pollution is solid waste, industrial waste and household sewage discharge (NWCF, 2009).

The rapid urban growth in the 1990s building boom, called for easy access to raw material, i.e. sand for mortar and cement. The river was therefore heavily exploited as the sand was excavated out from the riverbed. This resulted in a hollowed-out riverbed and new exposed banks (Rademacher, 2011).

The current ecological state of the river is critical and not debatable, but the political will to clean the river is hopefully there, and the work is already under way. The Bagmati Action Plan was published in 2009 by HPCIDBC, a government committee that has been given the task to revitalize the river. The action plan set out to solve many of the problems that the river faces today: “Decrease in water discharge and the degradation of river ecosystems are the major issues. Besides, narrowing and deepening of waterway, degradation of catchment quality and water quality, eroding aesthetic and cultural values, riverside land use changes, etc. are the critical issues of the Bagmati river system.” (Bajracharya, 2009).

Simultaneously, the influx of people to the city put pressure on the existing housing stock, which gave rise to many informal settlements around the city, also along the river. The sand mining, has changed the morphology of the river significantly, by lowering and narrowing the course of the river, revealing large sand flats in the riparian zone. Some of this land was then occupied by informal settlements (Rademacher, 2011). Sand mining has also contributed to a lowering of the groundwater table. This is because the river has been lowered from its original position, causing the aquifer to replenish ‘the missing’ water in the river (NWCF, 2009). The rate at which the groundwater is being extracted is

46


Top: Certain areas along the river is particularly degraded, with sewage water, plastic debris and dead animals. Left: Diagram showing the original water level, the changed morphology and lowering of the aquifier, and finally the new settlements occupying the newly exposed river bank.

47


PHOTOS OF THE RIVER

AT MANY STRETCHES, THE BANKS OF BAGMATI IS A DUMPSITE. WITH SEVERAL LAYERS OF PLASTIC WASTE IT LOOKS MORE LIKE A LANDFILL, THAN A RIPARIAN LANDSCAPE This photo is overlooking the confluence area of Bishnumati and Bagmati river at Teku. It is easy to imagine how beautiful the river once was with the mountainous surroundings.

48


THERE ARE SEVERAL SETTLEMENTS ALONG THE RIVER. BEING SO CLOSE TO THE WATER MEANS A CONSTANT RISK OF FLOODING DURING THE MONSOON Some people blame the settlements for the degraded state of the river. This is not really true, since the whole city is dumping their sewage into the river. Some settlements lie in very low terrain where they are subjected to flooding every monsoon season.

PEOPLE GATHER AROUND WATER POSTS TO WASH THEIR CLOTHES

49


CLIMATE The monsoon dictates the Nepalese climate

in the following order: summer, monsoon, and winter. In Kathmandu, summer begins in late April. In mid-June, the monsoon season starts and lasts until mid-September. At the end of November, the winter sets in and lasts until March. Two short transitional periods can be felt between winter and summer and monsoon and winter, which can be characterized as spring and autumn. In Kathmandu, the temperature can occasionally drop to below the freezing point (Negi, 1994). The average summer temperature is 28°-30° degrees. The annual mean precipitation is 1454mm, of which about ž falls during the monsoon.

The climate of Kathmandu is, as that of the rest of Nepal, highly affected by the South West monsoon, which sweeps across the Indian continent. During the summer, a high pressure builds up around Western India and Pakistan, generated by high inland temperatures. This causes the wind to blow towards the low pressure area, bringing moist air collected from the sea. The moist air then hits the Himalayan Range, and falls as precipitation from late June to the middle of September. This cycle repeats itself every year and is very precise in its timing (Negi, 1994). Kathmandu experiences three seasons that can be listed

Annual rainfall pattern in mm for Kathmandu Valley.

50


Winter M

J

J

A

A M F

N 29

8

J

4

A

M

J

J

A

S

A

S

O

M

O

M

O

F

F

M 33 25

J

D

F

N

A

M

J

35

36

37

28

29

29 19

16

12

8

5

2

J

A

21

19

J

S

28

24

20

M

N

D

D 28

24

J

Monsoon

Summer

J

J

D

N

A

S

O

32

33

33

33

28 20

29 20

28 19

27 13

Temperature °C 33

Record high

27 13

Average high Average low

363

331

236 200 124

13

8

1 85

1 80

18

14 2 79

3 71

61

34

4 61

53

51

6

57

73 12

17

23

4 81

22

83

82

79

15

Rainfall Perciciptation mm 4 Rainy days 79

Relative humidity % Data: Dep. of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal

51


WATER FLOW A monsoon-fed river

people living in the settlements along the banks of the river (The Himalayan, 2016).

Unlike many other rivers in Nepal fed by glacial melt water, Bagmati River is exclusively fed by monsoon rain. The annual rainfall is distributed unevenly, as up to 2000mm falls on the surrounding hills and only around 1400mm in the central valley (NWCF, 2009). This causes the river flow to fluctuate dramatically throughout the seasons. Pre-monsoon flow in the river is at a minimum, but peaks significantly during the monsoon in July and August (NWCF, 2009). This means that most of the year, the Bagmati River is quite shallow and can easily be crossed by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. During the monsoon after heavy rainfall, the river often gets flooded, mainly effecting the

The table to the right displays the average discharge data from the Khokana Station located right after Bagmati leaves the city. The data was gathered between 1992 to 2006. The flow of Bagmati is at its minimum in April and May and inclines with the onset of the monsoon. It peaks in July and August with the maximum monthly average discharge of 242 m 3/s. The maximum discharge recorded during the period was 814 m 3/s in July 2002 and the minimum was 0,165 m 3/s in March 1992.

Record minimum 0,165 m3/s Record maximum 814 m3/s

Average maximum 242 m3/s Average minimum 1,9 m3/s

52


Winter M

J

J

A

A M F

N

D

J

D

J

Monsoon

Summer M

J

J

A

M

J

J

A

S

A

S

O

M

O

M

O

F

N

F

M

J

D

A

F

N

M

J

J

J

D

A 24,4

6,1

12,3 4,3

3,5

A

S

2,9

2,0

2,7

1.9

N

S 17,7

O 9,2

3,0

Mean minimum monthly discharge in m3/s

242,4 229,3

90,9 77,3

30,8 12,5

22,3 9,8

10,4

6,2

5,7

8,0

Mean maximum monthly discharge in m3/s

62,2 49,2 35,3

8,4

15,6 6,2

5,0

4,0

3,1

14,6

6,2

3,3

Mean average monthly discharge in m3/s

Data: Dep. of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal

53


HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

1981

2016

This is a series of aerial photos from 1981 that we acquired from the Department of Survey in Kathmandu. We have joined them together and masked out the city, in order to put the river and the space around it in focus. In 1981 the river flows through farmland, and the buildings only join the river very few places. The buildings with contact to the water were mainly the temples.

When comparing the aerial photos from 1981 and 2016, it becomes clear that the open space around the river has diminished dramatically over the last 25 years. There are still some farmland on riverbanks in the city, but compared to 1981 it is in a much smaller scale. Instead, dwellings and settlements now occupy the space.

54


the water level is so low that don’t reach the ghats anymore

slums have sprawled on the river banks

UN-Park lies on what used to be river bed


CHALLENGES SUMMARY very few quiet places where you can withdraw from the noisy city.

No visitor to Kathmandu fails to notice the environmental challenges the city faces. Every time you breathe the air or try to get a glimpse of the mountains, the air pollution will declare itself. Moving around the city one will inevitably cross the river and be reminded of its condition; the heavy smell of sewer. After a few days in Kathmandu, you start to feel how limited the amount of green open space really is. There are

We have pointed out the main challenges that the Metropolitan City of Kathmandu is subject to - challenges that we will treat in this thesis.

1

A huge lack of green public space Kathmandu is an extremely compact city due to fast unmonitored urbanization. There is only 0,25m2 open space per person and the quality of this space is often poor.

2

Poor infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists The heavy traffic and the unpaved roads are the main contributors to the air pollution in the valley. The traffic situation in Kathmandu is congested and chaotic and not adequate for a metropolitan city, primarily affecting bicyclists and pedestrians.

3

A disconnected cultural heritage Kathmandu is rich in cultural heritage sites, but many of these are disconnected and only visited as individual attractions.

4

A backside to the city The river has become a void, a barrier and an environmental tragedy.

58


Photo from the 1960s by Toni Hagen showing the Kalmochan Temple at Thapathali. The water reaches all the way up to the ghats.

Same angle as above in 2016. The Kalmochan temple has been destroyed after the 2015 earthquake. Many new buildings have entered the skyline, and you cannot see the Himalayan Mountains because of the smog. It is quite clear how the water level has changed over the past few decades, mainly because of the sand mining activities.

59


GREEN VISION KATHMANDU Green, human & cultural connectivity - a liveable city

With the intentions of the government to clean up the river, we would like to take advantage of this initiative and look further into how the river space could potentially benefit the city. Our aim is to give the river back to the city by establishing a connection between the two.

Based on the main challenges that we pointed out in the summary, we have drafted a vision for the future development of the metropolitan area. It focuses on three paroles; green connectivity, human connectivity and cultural connectivity. The vision uses the river as a structure and a starting point for the urban transformation of Kathmandu.

60


STRATEGY

1

Green connectivity

STRATEGY

2

Human connectivity

STRATEGY

By densifying urban greening along the urban stretch of the river and connecting the existing green areas to the city on a metropolitan scale, the river becomes a green corridor. It reestablishes habitats and acts as “green lungs” for the city from which people, animals and plants can benefit. Along the green network, important nodes are identified and designed as public urban spaces, increasing the green areas in Kathmandu.

The river and the surrounding open space have the potential to become an urban green infrastructure promoting walking and bicycling, relieving the city from the traffic pressure. It becomes a ‘green highway’, as the river and its tributors connect the different districts in the city. This gives the citizens of Kathmandu a safe and healthy transport alternative and add new space for social interaction.

3

Cultural connectivity

Bagmati and its tributaries connect all the existing WHS within the Kathmandu Valley. The many religious sites, ghats and temples will become connected, creating the opportunity for a cultural ‘temple walk’, that promotes the degraded temples along the riverbanks. Furthermore it will help raise awareness and protect the important WHS from further degeneration.

61


E85°18’59

N27°41’59


S 1:6000 The Bagmati River Park Proposal


Model 1:2000 Pictures of our working model of the Bagmati River Park. We built it when we came back to Copenhagen to guide the design of the project. We used the model as a tool and to get an overview of our site and it helped us when discussing design issues. The model became an active part of our design process.

64


65


REORGANIZING THE CITY The green membrane an anchor in the transformation of the city. The green membrane screens out the hectic city, and reserves the river zone for plants, animals and people.

The riverbanks are densely built-up all the way from Pashupatinath Temple to where Manohara River confluence with Bagmati River. However, from this point up until where Bagmati River confluence with Bishnumati River, there is still a lot of space left untouched. This is also the borderline between the two historical cities of Kathmandu and Patan, which have gradually merged over time.

The park creates a new identity for Kathmandu. It points out a new direction for how the city can develop in a greener way, within the historical context. It will secure the preservation of the historical sites as well as protect the area from being built upon in the future. At the same time, it will bring much needed urban greening and recreational space into the heart of the city. Ultimately, the barrier of the river transforms intoa green membrane.

We propose a river park - The Bagmati River Park. This is a ‘green membrane’ that stretches along the Bagmati River between Manohara and Bishnumati. The Park fills out a void in the heart of a divided city. It will help organize the urban fabric of Kathmandu and will become

66


Bishnumati River

Dhobi Khola Bagmati River

Kathmandu

Patan

Manohara River

Bagmati River

The site 1:75.000 The site we work with, showed here as white, is a 5 kilometre stretch between Manohara River and Teku. The riparian zone today acts as a barrier and a void between Kathmandu and Patan.

67


REGISTRATION From Shankhamul to Teku The sketches from our field trip in Kathmandu are from our many walks along the rivers. Besides photo registration and discussions, we drew these sections on site to document the spatial relations between the water, the river bank and the city. Later we translated these into digital drawings, that were used in the making of the design.

In the following registration we will describe the areas that the river passes through within the proposed Bagmati River Park. We have divided our registration into four different areas, where Bagmati confluence with four different rivers. The registration presents how the river and the urban landscape around the river in Kathmandu looks and feels like.

68


Sections Ringroad - Bishnumati

Sections Bagmati

#23

#12

#1

Dwellings Gravel road

Urban farm

River bed

Industry Grasses

Dwelling

Farming

River bed

Bamboo

River bed

#24

Dirt Road

#13

Road

Industry

Gravel road

Urban farming + Temples

River bed

Concrete riverbank

Gravel road

Workshops + Shops

Dirt Road

#25 Building

#4

Temple

Ghats

#14

River bed

Grass

Low wall

Peace Park

Wall

Paved Road

#26

Road

#5

River bed

Road

Road

River bed

Road

Workshop

Road

Road

Houses/ workshops

Road

River bed

Road

#17

Dwellings

Planted Trees

Sidewalk

Wide paved road

Dwellings

River bed

Wall

Gravel path

Wall

River bed

Raised Path

Gravel Road

Temple

Building

Dirt road

Houses

Slum Settlement

Paved Road

Football Field

Riverbed

Slum Settlement

Road

Paved Road

Gardens

River bed

Construction site

Paved footpath

Houses

Houses

Road

Dwelling

Dwelling

Gardens

Dirt road

Shrubs

River bed

Island

River bed

Slum Settlement

River bed

Gardens

River bed

Dirt road

Slum Settlement

Paved Road

Houses

Paved road

River bed

Dirt road

Gambion walls - River bed Both sides

Houses

Paved road/bad condition

Dirt road

Houses

*High gambion walls - Some plantations of trees

Sidewalk

Paved Road

Grass - River bank

River bed

Small Park

Paved road

*Shankhamul - Corner of Bagmati and Manahara Khola

Sidewalk Paved Road

69

Weed

Ghats

Large group of trees

Road

River bed

#29

*Sometimes trees/Gardens/Shrubs/weed Very wide space Low River sides

#21b

#22

Ghats

Houses

*River becomes wider again

#21a

#11

Buildings

Slum settlement

#28

*Somethimes Eastside opens upp to street

Houses

Park/Slum

River bed

Dirt road

#18

#20

River bed

Building

Paved footpath

Slum Settlement

Gravel path

UN Park

*Small width of river

#19

#10

Road

Road

Slum settlements

*Veg shifting sides E/W

Road

River bed

River bed

River bed

Gabmbion wall

Slums

Grass/Trees

Dwellings

Gravel road

Construction site

#27

Dwellings

*Sporadic trees/urban farms

Slum Settlement

Buildings

Gravel

*Signi�icantly lower riverbank from #6

#9

Dwellings

Dirt Road

Brick wall - Bad condition

River bed

Gravel road

River bed

*Poppels

#16

Workshop

Construction site

Café/shops

Workshops

*Veg. shifting sides E/W

#7

Dwellings

Gravel

Temple

#6

#8

Houses

Bricks/Gravel/Trash

Dirt Road

*Sometimes a river bank

#15

Dwellings

Dwellings

Workshops

Gambion walls on both sides of river

Temple

Red �lower trees Dwellings

UN Park

*Dhobi Khola

Café/shops

#3

River bed

Dirt Road

Gambion wall

Workshop

#2

Paved Road

Dirt Road

Land�ill

River bed

Urban Farm

Road

New Ghats and Gambion walls

Construction site

Fence

Road


1. SHANKHAMUL

4. Teku

3. Thapathali 2. Dhobi Khola 1. Shankhamul

Confluence of Bagmati and Manohara

temple area and is also used by motorcycles. This is due to the fact that it is the shortest way from Patan Durbar Square to Kathmandu, thus making it very crowded.

This is where Bagmati meets Manohara River and turns West. From this point, Bagmati accentuates the municipal border between Kathmandu and Lalitpur. The temple is named after the God “Shankhamuleshvara� who, according to the mythology, lives here (Forbes and Chaubey, 2015). The Ghats are occasionally still used for cremations, although not as often as Pashuputinat Temple complex.

The old water treatment ponds are fenced off, but there are large holes in the fence. In spite of this, the area is commonly used for exercise. Along the Northern part of Manohara River there are large old trees and some parts of the area is used for recreation.

Shankhamul pedestrian bridge crosses the

70


N Kathmandu Bagmati River

Pedestrian bridge

Ghats

Urban Farms Sewage pipe used for crossings

Shankhamul temple area

Stadium Area of trees, used for recreation

Patan Durbar Square

Manohara River Pedestrian bridge

Former water treatment pond

LEGEND

100m

Temple Old waterline Vegetation Open space

PHOTO INDEX P. 70 - Upper left: Two boys working out at the banks of the old water treatment pond. Lower left: Manohara River. Right: Shankhamul Temples from other side of river. P. 71 - Left: The old Ghats that are no longer in contact with the water. Middle: Three men using the old ghats as a hangout spot. Right: The Shankhamul pedestrian bridge crosses the temple area. In the foreground, roofs of the Shankhamul settlement.

71


2. DHOBI KHOLA

4. Teku

3. Thapathali 2. Dhobi Khola 1. Shankhamul

Confluence of Bagmati and Dhobi Khola

the park. People tend to use the parts of the park that are more ‘finished’. Grazing cows walking along the riverbanks are a common sight in the park. The vehicle bridge is not heavily used, but the roads leading up to it are being improved, so this might change in the future. There is a pedestrian bridge in the park that takes you across the river. A small temple is located on the East bank, where Dhobi Khola meets with Bagmati. A school lies here at the confluence between the two rivers.

In this area, the tributary river Dhobi Khola connects with the Bagmati. A big part of this area is the UN-park, which was given its name in 1996. It was never finished, partly due to the Civil War and eventually around 1500 squatters moved in. They were forcefully bulldozed away by the Nepali government in 2012 (Terzon, 2012). The plans to complete the park seems to have stagnated and it has been left in an unfinished state ever since. At the time of our visit, there seemed to be no squatters living in

72


N

Wasteland Rose Bud School Dhobi Khola Temple Pedestrian bridge UN-Park

Shankhamul settlement

Bagmati River

LEGEND Temple Old waterline Vegetation

100m

Open space

PHOTO INDEX P. 72 - Left: Paved paths goes through some parts of the UN-Park. Right: People hanging out at a Chautari in the park. P. 73 - Left: A degraded sign tells the story of a park construction that was never finished. Right: Overlooking the degraded river space that is not utilized. In the center of the image lies a temple in the confluence between Bagmati and Dhobi Khola.

73


3. THAPATHALI

4. Teku

3. Thapathali 2. Dhobi Khola 1. Shankhamul

Confluence of Bagmati and Tukucha Khola

The area lies in the confluence between two major roads; Tripura Marg and Thapathali Road. The latter leads to the largest river crossing between Kathmandu and Patan; The Thapathali Bridge. The area is in close proximity to Dasharath Rangasala Stadium, the governmental offices and further North, Tundikhel. Tukucha Khola confluence with Bagmati here. Tukucha Khola, which is more of a canal than a river, differs from the other rivers in the city, by being heavily urbanized, as the dwellings are built all the way to the edge.

The area is rich in temples from the 19th century and holds some of the largest temple complexes along the Bagmati River. The two largest ones are Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple, built in 1822 by Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari and Kalmochan Temple built in 1874 by the first Rana Prime Minister, Jung Bahadur Rana. Unfortunately, the Kalmochan Temple was destroyed by the earthquake in 2015, but a rebuilding of the temple is planned.

74


N Ghats

Dasharath Rangasala Stadium

Tukucha Khola

Thaphatali temple area Wasteland Squatter settlement

Bagmati River

Main bridge between Kathmandu and Patan

LEGEND Temple Old waterline Vegetation

100m

Open space Urban farms

PHOTO INDEX P. 74 - Left: The temple complex at Thapathali with the main bridge between Kathmandu and Patan to the right. Top right: Settlements at Thapathali. Bottom right: Ghats. P. 75 - Top left: People living in the old temple buildings. Bottom left: One of the temples used as a hangout spot. Right: Kalmochan temple in ruins after the 2015 earthquake.

75


4. TEKU

4. Teku

3. Thapathali 2. Dhobi Khola 1. Shankhamul

Confluence of Bagmati and Bishnumati

of the 1990s, due to a lack of maintenance. Today, the old Ropeway station building is used by the Vehicle Department. Ropeway towers and wires with old cars are still visible in the waste facility area, which adds a historical atmosphere to the place. A wholesale vegetable market is still in the area on the Western banks of the Bagmati, but today the vegetables arrive by truck.

There are many important temples in this area, but most of them have been left without proper maintenance and squatters have moved in around them. The area is dominated by several waste facilities where trash gets sorted manually. The main waste facility is located on the East side of Bishnumati. Connected to this area is an old park. Kathmandu used to have a ropeway that was bringing vegetables into the city. The ropeway had to close in the beginning

76


N

Teku temple complex

Old ropeway station

Bishnumati River

Pedestrian bridge Buffalo stables Old park Garbage sorting facility

Cricket ground

Vegetable wholesale market Vehicle parking

LEGEND Temple Old waterline Vegetation Open space

100m

Urban farms

PHOTO INDEX P. 76 - From top left to bottom right: South banks used for washing clothes, Bagmati Bishnumati confluence, cremation grounds at Teku, old ropeway station, Radha Krishna Temple, garbage sorting facilities. P. 77 - Left: Old ropeway tower. Right: View of Bishnumati, the garbage sorting facilities and the Teku Dovan Road.

77


WORKSHOP: URBAN GREENING Activista Office, Kathmandu, 7th of April 2015

During our stay in Kathmandu we arranged a workshop about urban greening, together with the youth organization “Activista Nepal”. We had asked the participants to bring photos of their “home landscapes” to get a picture of their perception of the open space in Nepal. A common denominator amongst their contributions were, that they all had tranquility as their main preference. This makes sense in a congested and noise polluted city like Kathmandu. The three main type of “home landscapes” were the Durbar Squares, some place for contemplation like temple grounds or their actual home landscape in the rural Nepal. We gave the participants Teku as a case site and simply asked them to design their own public space, as they wanted it to be. During the workshop our purpose for this thesis became very significant. It became clear to us, that what we had set out to work with in our thesis, was what the people wanted and longed for; more green spaces. The most important conclusion, and what we took home with us when designing our project, was the need to contribute with quiet, recreational areas in the heavily polluted Kathmandu.

78


Photographs of the participants’ “home landscapes”.

79


REGISTRATION SUMMARY There are also small shrines spread out along the river, but these are not as historically significant as the aforementioned. Some of the temples were destroyed during the earthquake in 2015, and almost all temples are in need of restoration, having seemingly been left for a long time without maintenance.

There are a number of similarities between the four areas. First of all, there is a consistent neglectance of the riverbanks. From historical orthophotos it is evident to see, that most of this land used to be farmlands. However, the city has been closing in on the river over the years, and the land that remains is a dirty backside to the city. You can find areas of land used as landfill all along the stretch, with a densification around Teku. There are ongoing construction of roads and sewers on many of the sites.

Most of the temple areas have no clear entrances and as a visitor, you feel lost with little or no sense of direction. There are no pedestrian or bicycle paths connecting the area, and you are relegated to the roads. There are a few pedestrian bridges, but some of them lack proper paths, that connect them to the rest of the areas. The whole stretch has a huge potential for being transformed into a green public space, since large parts of it have not been taken over by urban development.

Generally, there are no clear entrances to the river zone. The only official green space within this stretch, the UN-Park, is not properly maintained and mostly unfinished. There are three main temple areas; Shankhamul, Thapathali and Teku. The last two connects with each other, but with no clear beginning or end.

80


1981

2016

Orthophotos highlighting the urban development within the site, from the 1980s to present day.

81


GREENING THE RIVER Healing a polluted city

The River Park fills the banks of Bagmati with trees, shrubs and plants. The unused space will be turned into a green lung that offers clean air, shade and coolness to the city. Existing areas will be improved, and the majority of the riparian landscape will turn from wasteland into recreational space. By uniting existing fragmented green patches with new habitat, we make sure to increase the biodiversity in the area.

The banks of Bagmati are not used to their full potential. In stretches it is used as landfill and treated without any respect. At the same time Kathmandu cries for green public space. There is a huge shortage of green in the urban jungle with few street trees and few green oasis. Kathmandu also lacks calmer areas where people can rest, relax and recharge from the busy streets.

82


Stra te Mem

gy

bran

e

PROBLEM Polluted and fragmented wasteland

SOLUTION

Urban greening in the heart of the city

ohe

renc e

eas

DESIGN CONCEPT

1 83


REUNITING RIVER AND CITY Improving the connection between the city and the river We suggest turning the backside around, creating new connections to the river. Like a membrane, people are let through and vehicles are excluded. Access to the river park is secured through strategically placed entrances, that lead people through the river park, connecting the city to the river. We enhance the local attributes and differences at each entrance, creating local centers with local design and program.

The river has become a barrier and a void, disconnected from the city. Many cities around the world are closely associated with their rivers and have made their river fronts a part of their identity. The city was once founded at the banks of Bagmati, but today the old cities of Patan and Kathmandu have grown together into one metropolitan city. Between the two, the the Bagmati River has been left as a void and barrier. For a long time this space has been neglected and misused and it is perceived as the backside of the city.

84


PROBLEM

The river has become a barrier and a void, disconnected from the city.

Con cept SOLUTION

New connections penetrate the void and reconnect the city to the river.

Stra te

gy

bran

e

DESIGN CONCEPT

2 85


RECONNECT ALONG THE RIVER Mending an unorganized city and a cultural heritage The River Park integrates important areas along the river, including temples, sport areas and existing green spaces. The different areas are connected through a main bicycle path. The paths continue along the Bagmati River and its tributaries, connecting with other important areas in the city. A paved temple walkway connects the temples and promotes visits from both locals and tourists. We hope that this can act as a catalyst for the revitalization of the temples.

The current degradation of the river in the Bagmati River Park area has left the cultural heritage to decay. There are no pilgrims walking the banks of the river, despite Bagmati being the holiest river in Nepal. Trekking tourists travel to Nepal from all over the world, but none of them are seen strolling along the banks of Bagmati. The city is choking with traffic and there is no room for the bicyclist and pedestrians.

Paths and trails will once again let people walk the banks of Bagmati River and will lead visitors through the different parts of the river park.

86


Gree

n Co

here

nce

PROBLEM Lost cultural connection and insufficient human infrastructure

SOLUTION

ng i

Reestablishing the historical relationship to the river

mpo

rtan t are

as

DESIGN CONCEPT

3 87


BAGMATI RIVER PARK 1:6000

Tripura Marg

Bishnumat

i River

Kalimati Road

Bhan a rg sar M

ma Bag

ti S

p

sF ort

ield

s

B

at agm

ve i Ri

r

Bicycle path

Old Ropeway Station Sports Fields

Ba gm at iB rid ge

Di diBa ihi ni Ma rg

Un

iv

er

si

ty

Pa

th

Kuleshwor Marg

p

ark

u

u Ro

k Te

Tek

yP ewa

Bicycle path

Existing


Maitighar Mandala Madan Bhandari Road

Dasharath Rangasala Stadium

ad Thapathali Ro

g urban farms

Trip u

ra M a rg

Thapth

Temple Island

ali Brid ge

Thaptali Temple Park

Chir Pine Forest Bicycle path

Tha

pat

We hali

tlan

b Dho

ds Bicycle path Boardwalk

Bicycle bridge Bagmati River

Ku

po

nd

ol

eR

oa

d

i Kh

ola


Bagamati Baneswor Bridge

Dho hola bi K Rive r

e

Floating Gardens

ti B ridg Bicycle path

Marga

Ba

hamul

UN Park

gm

at

iR

Shank

ns

ma

rde

Bag

Floa

Ga ding

iv

er

Shankhamul Temple Complex

Sankhamul Bridge (pedestrian) b

Temple Island

Urban Farms Bicycle path Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering B

Shankhamul Temples


Bagmati R iver

N

Manohara Lagoon Existing football stadium

A

Bicycle path Bicycle path

Manoh

Running Ground a

Rin

gR o

ad

Outdoor gym

er ara Riv


BAGMATI RIVER PARK Elements

Existing trees

Densifying trees

Street trees

VEGETATION We strive to use mainly indigenous species that grow at the same elevation and climate as Kathmandu, in order to create the best conditions for biodiversity, as many animals are connected to certain indigenous flora.

The vegetation strategy is simple. We want to add a green volume to the site. This is obtained by densifying the whole stretch. The existing trees are kept with new trees planted between them. The plantings will act as a base volume; a framework that can be adapted for future park development. The areas in front of the temples are kept free of trees, to conserve the view to the water, and to emphasize the cultural importance of the temples.

A substantial row of trees are planted along the bicycle path that run along the river, creating a backbone of the park. Underneath the rows of trees, one can walk on a gravel path on the edge of the park. The trees protect the bicyclists and establish a clear edge to the park. The river becomes a blue-green infrastructure, transcending to other areas in the city.

At the intervention areas, the plantings are subject to the specific design at that location, for instance wetland species in the wetland area and holy trees at the temple sites. To emphasize the alleyways connecting the river to the city, we suggest planting flowering trees that stand out, in order to guide visitors.

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Floating Gardens

Temple Island

Water basin

Temple Island

Wetlands

Temple Island

Lagoon water purification

WATER ELEMENTS are formed by means of digging a canal to each temple, directing the water to the old ghats. The water is utilized in different ways, depending on the site program, from purification and irrigating crops to the wetland experience and a playful water mirror.

Several water elements are created in the River Park, in order to provide different water experiences. The religious significance of the Bagmati River is accommodated by reconnecting the temples to the water. This is done by creating three temple islands, which

Buildings within site

Temples

New & transformed buildings

BUILDINGS New constructions are limited to pavillions at Teku and Dhobi Khola, and two sports facility buildings at Bagmati Sports Fields. Some of the existing buildings have been transformed into public toilets, kiosks and other park facilities. In Teku the old ropeway station will play a central role in transforming the area. Several new ghats will be added to the old ones along the temple islands.

The buildings within the site are mostly restricted to temples and informal settlements. We are not suggesting to move any informal settlement that have a permanent character. The only place where we are working within a temporary settlement is at Thapathali. These dwellers do not have adequate housing and their current houses are prone to floods. At the post-industrial site of Teku, the old buildings will be reused as part of the park design.

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New Bridges

Existing Bridges

BRIDGES A number of new pedestrian and bicycle bridges create access across the Bagmati River. They are connected to the new path and bicycle path, creating coherent access in the park.

Temple walkways

New alleyways

New bicycle path

Secondary path

NEW CONNECTIONS park. It connects the different areas along the river. As a green infrastructure, it goes beyond the site itself, connecting to other parts of the city.

The new connections can be divided into four categories: temple walkways, alleyways, bicycle paths and secondary paths. The temple walkways are a uniform paving that connect temples with each other along the river, creating a “temple walk” throughout the park. The alleyways function as “holes” in the green membrane, letting people into the park and excluding motorized transport. They connect the city with the river and vice versa. At some places they end up with in wooden decks or platforms, providing contact to the water. The bicycle path makes up the backbone of the

The path also accommodate pedestrians, as it is flanked by a gravel path, which can be used during the monsoon, if the secondary paths are flooded. The secondary meandering path mainly run alongside the waterfront. As the visitor moves along the path, different views and landscape types are revealed and experienced. The path also leads the visitor across bridges, to the temple islands.

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Sports fields Urban sports

Temple park Floating Gardens

Temple & island Wetland

Existing UN Park

Existing sports field Temple park Temple & island Temple park

Existing urban farms Temple & island Water purification & recreational park

Urban/Sports

Temple

Greening

PROGRAM The River Park has been programmed with the existing users and locals in mind. At most places the existing conditions on the site have been taken into consideration and enhanced through the design.

LIGHTING and make it feel more safe. Places with heavier use after nightfall, such as sport areas, will be more intensely illuminated.

To make sure people can utilize the park after sunset, the main bicycle path, parks and alleyways are lit up. All the lights are solar powered and will thereby work also during brownouts. The lights focus on lighting up the trees along the path to extend the field of vision

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Aerial visualization A bird’s view of the Bagmati River Park, looking downstream from Manohara Lagoon.


Thaphatali Temple Park Thaphatali Wetlands Dhobi Khola Floating Gardens

Shanhamul Temple

Green bicycle path

Manohara Lagoon


E85°18’59

N27°41’59


XS 1:1000 The Bagmati River Park Proposal


MANOHARA LAGOON Natural water cleaning

river, putting an end to the current practice of discharging sewage directly into the river.

The old waste water treatment ponds close to Manohara River in Balkumari are no longer fulfilling their purpose. They are overgrown and little or no water flows through.

The area will become a vast open recreational space, withdrawn from the busy streets. Becoming a safe haven in the city, it can be used for exercise, picnics, contemplation, meditation and recharging to the benefit of the inhabitants of Kathmandu.

We suggest turning this waste area into an attractive recreational space whilst reestablishing and updating the waste water cleaning ponds. Given the polluted state of the Manohara and Bagmati River, the ponds will contribute positively to the process of cleaning up the river systems in the city.

Simultaneously, The Lagoon will become a rich habitat for numerous species of insects, mammals, birds and amphibians, increasing biodiversity in the city.

The Lagoon will purify the wastewater from the surrounding districts before the water enters the

Pedestrian suspension bridge

Santa Sadak rd.

New plantings among old trees

New path

Manohara River

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Lagoon avenue


Public toilets

Wooden bridge

Lagoon cleaning ponds

Section A-a 1:500 99


MANOHARA LAGOON Waste water cleaning pond

Manohara Lagoon builds on the principles of phyto-remediation, which is a cost effective plantbased method of cleaning soil, air, and in this case, water from contaminating substances. The method uses specific plants’ ability to accumulate large amounts of toxic material into their tissue, such as heavy metals and organic pollutants. The water travels through four basins before it is discharged to the river. In the first basin the water is filtrated through the roots of a short

rotation willow plantation. The fast-growing willow trees are coppiced frequently. In the following three basins, indigenous aquatic plants purifies the water by taking up nutrients and heavy metals. Between each basin, the water runs down stone stairs in a shallow layer, which oxidizes and disinfects the water by exposing it to the sun. Later the water is discharged to Manohara River. From start to finish the water will travel approximately 10 days.

Maohara River Outlet

Lagoon avenue entrance

Basin 4

Wooden pier

Basin 3

Basin 2 Entrance Willows

Bridge

Inlet

The four existing overgrown basins.

Outdoor gym

Willow trees

New Lagoon concept applied - The existing four basins are subdivided into four new; a willow plantation and three water basins.

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Trees, bridges, piers, toilets and an outdoor gym is added to the existing path system.


Basin 1 Short rotation willow plantation Inlet

Basin 2 Purification by aquatic plants

Stairs Oxydation

Basin 3 Purification by aquatic plants

Stairs Oxydation

Basin 4 Lake

Outlet

Outlet

To Manohara River

Inlet

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SHANKHAMUL TEMPLE Reconnecting the temples to the water

The vegetation in these islands should be kept low so the view of the temples remains open. Therefore, rock boulders occupy the islands. This is inspired by the Nepalese landscape where you find this kind of rocky stone landscape along the rivers in the wild.

Shankhamul Temple area is one out of three temple areas within the Bagmati River Park. They have been located at the riverfront to let devotees perform sacred Hindu baths from the ghats at the temples, but because of the low water levels, the ghats are no longer in contact with the water. In these three areas, we reconnect the holy river by digging a canal, letting the water in. This will create “temple islands� in front of each temple.

Bicycle path

These islands get shielded off from the rest of the river park, and become calm places for contemplation and meditation.

Bicycle parking

Jagat Narajan Temple Existing trees

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Riverfront walkway


“The great God Shankhamuleshvara lives there. Perform an act of worship to him...This Tirtha is the greatest of all other tirthas. From a holy bath in it, all ones sins commited by the mind, the speech, and body are destroyed.� (Forbes and Chaubey, 2015)

Shankhamul pedestrian bridge

New canal

New island

Bagmati River

Hanuman Marg

Ghats

Section B-b 1:500 103


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Shankhamul Temple Walkway A visual representation looking downstream from the Shankhamul Bridge. The new ghats to the right defines the new temple canal. The ghats are also crematory grounds.

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UN-PARK ALLEYWAY Connecting the city and the river

Along the River Park, alleyways connect the city to the river. They function as pocket parks along the stretch of the River Park. With benches and shade, these spaces will provide places to meet and also give access to the water. Some of them lead to a bridge to the other side of the river. Others end up in a pier or a boardwalk. As you go along the bicycle path, the alleyways become natural resting places to stop and visit The River Park. For the locals they could act as social spaces and meeting places. Crossing through the park plantations, these alleyways have flowering trees and shrubs with the purpose of creating awareness and intimacy. To make sure The River Park doesn’t feel unsafe during dark hours, the alleyways and the bicycle path are lit up with solar powered lights. The lighting scheme will focus on low lights, and lighting up the surrounding trees, so that the field of vision gets increased and you can see what is happening in your surroundings.

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Evening atmosphere at the UN-Park At daytime, the alleyways provide shade from the hot sun. At night time they are lit up to create a safe passage. A line of prayer flags have been put up, inviting people to contribute with their own flags.

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MODEL WORK

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Bicycle path 1:200 During the designing of the alleyways we made small models to get a better idea of scale, in terms of the width of the path.

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BICYCLE PATH Connecting along the river

The bicycle path runs along the river, going through all the areas within The River Park. In order to give the path a distinct character and to protect the bicyclists from traffic, the path is flanked by three rows of trees. One row towards the road and two rows on the park side, with a path underneath.

The surface material underneath the trees is gravel, as it is easy to maintain and makes for a soft transition between the hard surface of the bicycle path and the grass in The River Park. The bicycle path is lit by spotlights placed in the ground, between the trees. These spots illuminate the bottom layer of the tree crowns, creating an atmospheric setting in the night time. The light spots provide an indirect light source, in order to increase the field of vision at night, which makes the path feel more secure.

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Detail Section

1:100

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Park side

Gravel Path

Lamp

Curb

Bicycle path

Curb

Curb Gravel Lamp

Road


DOBI KHOLA FLOATING GARDENS Education about river and nature

Dhobi Khola Floating Gardens lies at the confluence between Bagmati and Dhobi Khola River. The area acts as an entrance to the River Park when coming from the North along the river Dhobi Khola. The gardens are connected to the larger whole of The River Park, as the bicycle path crosses the river at this point. A school is situated on the corner where the two rivers meet. We suggest turning the current strip of land in front of the school into a floating garden, which can be used in the daily classes. The garden space will act as an extended outdoor classroom, that can teach the children how to grow their own food and learn about nature.

The area consist of several traditional vegetable gardens, a banana plantation and a floating garden which is connected to the river. The water level in the floating garden can be controlled through a flood gate, which makes it useful to grow water demanding plants such as rice. A floating walkway is situated on the riverside of the garden. The walkway follows the fluctuating water levels throughout the seasons, thereby giving the visitor an opportunity to interact with the river in a new way. Dhobi Khola Floating Gardens is open to the public and will evoke the visitor’s curiosity with its different edible plants and palm trees.

Banana plantation Bagmati River

School gardens

Chautari

Floating walkway

Wet gardens

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Tall grasses


UN-Park existing trees

Existing path

Bicycle path

Park Ln

Section C-c 1:500 113


er Riv la

5

2

1

4

iK ho Shiva M arg

Existing temple Existing bridge Pavillion

Thapathali Wetlands

New bridge Bagmati

River

Flowering trees

Tall grasses

1s

tC ro s s

Dobi K hola All eywa

y

Bicycle path

Bic

ycl

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Pa

rk

Ln

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3

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Rosebud School

CafĂŠ

CafĂŠ

C

en s heds

School gardens

Gravel

Chautari

Palm plantation Panch Buddha Marg

Wet gardens Floating bridge

Ba

gm

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Ma

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Existing bridge

Sh

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Flowering trees

Te m

pl

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Tall grasses

Park

Alle

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Existing UN-Park

UN

G a rd

Bhrigu Marg

School yard

Park maintenance

Dobi Khola Floating Gardens 1:1000

N


DOBI KHOLA FLOATING GARDENS

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Afternoon at the Floating Gardens View from the pedestrian bridge across Bagmati River. The floating bridge follows the seasonal changes of the river, providing the visitor with the experince of walking on water. The bridge marks the current waterlevel in the river, creating awareness. The gardens can be used as a recreational space and during the schools opening hours, one would find children and teachers taking care of the gardens.

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THAPATHALI WETLANDS A recilient landscape

A monsoon-fed river like Bagmati will always have a shifting water level depending on the precipitation. Currently, there are many gabion walls and fortifications along the river sides to stop the flood water from eroding the shore. While this might be necessary in some places, there are a lot of benefits with a fluctuating water level as opposed to a concrete wall.

a wooden boardwalk will allow for people to access the area and experience the wilderness. The wetlands will be planted with indigenous species such as Alder, Alnus nepalensis, Birch, Betula alnoides and Willow, Salix babylonica. At the Wetland Alleyway, bamboo is planted in the direction of the path to lead the visitor to the boardwalk and the different viewpoints along it.

A wetland can cope with the annual fluctuation of the River, but more importantly, the wetland is an excellent habit for many plants and animal species.

The Thapathali Wetland will be left as a wild landscape, where natural succession drives the development and with a minimum of interference for the benefit of species that live in the habitat.

Thapathali Wetlands is a more loose and wild area in The River Park. Since a large part of the area will be under water during the monsoon,

Sheds

Park Ln

Existing gabion wall

118


Viewpoint

Raised boardwalk

Rest area

Bamboo

Park facility building

Bicycle path

Common three story private house

Section D-d 1:500 119


Bamboo

Bicycle Path Alder trees

View platform Th

ap

at

ha

li

Te m

Boardwalk pl

e

Pa

Bamboo rk

Existing trees

Alder trees

Willow trees

Wetland vegetation

Willow trees

Ba Ex

ist

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ga

mb

ion

wa

View platform gm

ati

Riv

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Pa

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Ln

D


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Pa

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nM a rg

Pra

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Department of Plant Resources

d

Wetland alleyway

Sh

Existing trees

iva

Ma

rg

Bamboo

Bicycle path

Alder trees Boardwalk Willow Trees

Wetland vegetation Alder trees

View platform

Sha

nkh

am

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ple

Thapatali Wetlands 1:1000

s

N


Dry

Wetlands during the dry season View of the boardwalk at Thapathali Wetlands before the Monsoon where the water level is low.

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Wet

Wetlands during the monsoon Same location, but during the Monsoon. The water level almost reaches the top of the boardwalk. As it rains almost everyday for two months, the water level will flood the underlying areas behind the boardwalk, creating habitats for many species of mammals, birds and amphibians.

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THAPATHALI TEMPLE PARK The Nepali National Landscape

Just like at Shankhamul, the Thapathali ghats are no longer in contact with the river. In the same way, a canal is constructed to reconnect the water and the temples. Since the river is wider here, the island gets bigger. Again, a stone boulder landscape that mimics the natural Nepali river landscapes is constructed in front of the temple to ensure an open view. In between the rocks there are groups of tall grasses and walkways that will give visitors access to this significant landscape. Further downstream there are a few healthy existing trees, which will be kept on the island, since they do not block the view to the temple. They add a calmness to the island and stand in contrast to the stone boulder landscape.

Chir Pine forest

Path

Thapathali is an extension of the Tundikhel area in the middle of Kathmandu, and with its close proximity to the city center, the area will be one of the endpoints of the temple walk, which goes from Thapathali to Teku. This area hosts many important temples that are connected with a brick-paved walkway. In the Thapathali Temple Park small bridges give access to the water. The old water post gets renovated and will still function as a place where people go to wash clothes and socialize. The area offers large trees that give shade and great recreational value.

Rock water edge

Temple island

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Temple canal

Path

Water post/washing

Sattal

Kalmochan Mahadev Temple

Section E-e 1:500 125


THAPATALI TEMPLE PARK

126


Temple island Thapathali Temple ghats with the temple island. A bridge connects the island in the background. The Chir Pine forest is visible in the horizon across the river.

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Tripureswar Mahadev Temple

Temple walkway

Renovated exitsting Ghat

Chandra Ghat

New bridge

Existing trees New bridge

Bagmati sports fields New bridge

Wooden pier

Wooden pier

Chir Pine rhododendron forest

Taphath

yway ali alle

E

Bicycle path Kupondol Road


ra M a rg

ha

Ri

ve

r

Trip u

Tu k

uc

e

Kalmochan Temple

Existing trees

Temple walkway

Gopal Mandir Canal

Old Ghats

Existing trees

Bairagi Akhada

New trees

Udasi Naya Akhanda

New Ghats New temple Island

Bagmati

Stone landscape

River

Thapa

thali W etland s

Tikabhairab Road

Pine forest all eyway

Stones

Thapatali Temple Park 1:1000

N


CHIR PINE FOREST On the Southern riverside we propose a small scale Chir Pine forest. The most characteristic trees in Nepal and in the Himalayas are the Chir Pine, Pinus roxburghii, and the Rhododendron arboreum, which is also the national flower of Nepal. This forest type is naturally growing in the same types of altitude as the Kathmandu Valley and is a light and open forest. Thapathali Temple Park will become an indigenous landscape, mimicing the natural forest landscape found stretching in a belt across Nepal and along its rivers. The forest type is

a national icon and should be present in the city and something the Nepalese people and the inhabitants of Kathmandu can take pride in. Planting these colorful trees bring color and variation into the understory. The stone boulder riverfront is reflected in patches on this side of the river as well. The stones will act as a natural erosion protection, instead of the concrete gabion walls that are currently being used to control erosion in the Bagmati River.

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At Shivapuri National Park

TRUNKS OF THE PINUS AND FLOWERS OF THE RHODODENDRON FORM AN INTERESTING FOREST Trekking in the Shivapuri Mountains we walked among the Chir Pines in early spring. A few weeks later during the Manaslu trek, we came across the blossoming Rhododendron forests that Nepal is famous for.

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BAGMATI SPORT FIELDS Everyday - sport - meetings

Bagmati Sport Fields lies at the Southern shore of the river. The area is turned from an existing brownfield to an attractive sports park with many different activities. Anything from cricket grounds and futsal courts to table tennis, volleyball and badminton courts can be done. A club house and a park facility house with toilets and dressing rooms are placed in each end of the park, to accommodate the many users. At the riverfront, the wooden decks create close contact to the water and the shallow water basin encourage visitors to interact with the water in a new way.

Pergola Table tennis

Located a step down from the shallow water basin, are outdoor showers for washing. The showers are screened from the park by a wall, to create more privacy. Bagmati Sport Fields accommodates many different users ranging from organized sport activities to the informal meetings. It is a place where people from different backgrounds can get together through a common interest, thereby creating social cohesion in the city.

Volleyball Park facilities building

Basketball

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Prunus alleyways


Grass field

Prunus alleyways

Playground

Existing trees

Cricket ground

Section F-f 1:500

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BAGMATI SPORT FIELDS Everyday - sport - meetings

The park levels down towards the water, creating different edges, which can be used for sitting and observing. Different surface materials allows for many types of use. The gravel path can be used for running and walking, the stone edges for sitting and observing, the shallow water basin for playing and interacting with the water and the green field for picnics,

gymnastics, play, socializing, etc. The shallow water basin will let people cool off during hot days, even for people who can’t swim in public for religious reasons. The openness of the park towards the Bagmati River create a scenic view to the temples on the Northern bank.

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The water mirror encourages playing The water mirror is both for play and sensory experiences. The park visitors can cool their feet on a hot summer day.

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Bam Bikateshwor Mahadev Temple

Hanuman Ghat Laxmeswor Mahedev Temple Temple walkway

Tall grasses

Reestablished Ghats

Wooden deck

Teku Ropeway Park Path

Table tennis

Car parking

Club house

Bagmati sp orts fields Alleyway

f

Existing trees

Playground

Cricket grounds

Bicycle parking

Existing trees

Temple Futsal court Bicycle path

Badminton

Sanepa

Kalo Pool Marg

Cherry trees


Gee

ar ta M

g

Temple Walkway

Path

Bagmati River

Thapathali Temple Park Outdoor showers Shallow basin Wooden deck

Table tennis

Cherry trees Green field

Path

Gravel path

Pergola F

Basketball court

Volleyball

Football field

Flowering trees Futsal court

Gravel path

Park facilities building

al Marg

Bicycle path

Gusing

Gusing

al Marg

Bagmati M arg

Bicycle parking

Bagmati Sports Field 1:1000

N


TEKU ROPEWAY PARK Post-industrial heritage and urban sports

The old Ropeway building is turned into a new cultural center, becoming a node in this park. From there you can walk the paved path down towards Bagmati and the Temples around Teku. The same path also takes the visitor into the old garbage sorting area, which is turned into a skate park. A big Chautari tree is placed in the corner where the road bends around the park. This tree becomes the welcoming element of the park. The road that cuts through the area is visually blocked out with tree plantations. These areas will also give shade to the park visitors. The old Ropeway station will play a central role in the transformation of the site. It holds great potential for hosting events, markets and concerts. The ropeway station tells the story about a unique piece of infrastructure that once served the city with vegetables from the mountains in an smart and sustainable way. The history of the building is a great asset and

Kiosk

Skate park

Ramp

should be used in creating a strong identity around The Ropeway Park. The old garbage ramp is integrated in the design, and skate ramps are constructed beneath it. The old ropeway towers and cars are stretching through the park. These elements tell a story about the 20th century Kathmandu and adds a sense of authenticity to the park. A staircase takes the visitor down to Bishnumati, and you can follow the waterline on a path to take a shortcut to the Teku temples. There is a canal with water reconnecting the Teku Ghats in the same way as in Shankhamul and Thapathali. Between the temples and the road, there are many holy Ficus trees, and this area becomes a place for contemplation, meditation and religious practice.

Temple walkway

138

Prunus and Betula trees


Betula and Ficus trees

Temple walkway

Manandhar Sattal

Radha Krishna Temple

Canal with Ghats

Stones

Section G-g 1:500

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Bicycle path Grove

Bicycle parking New bridge Temple walkway Ropeway tower

Cherry trees

Existing park

Temple walkway

Path

Skate park Kiosk Toilets

Fo

rm

er ra gar m p bag

e Fig Birch trees

G Pavillion

Wall

Ku

les

hw

or

M

ar

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Ku

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hw

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Br

id

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Stairs

Temples

Bis

hn

um

ati

Temple walkway

Riv

er


Car parking

Bhansar

Marg

The old Ropeway station

Bicycle parking

Temple

Jagannath Temple

Ropeway Plaza

ovan Teku D

Marg

dw bu m Ja

Cremation grounds

ip

M

ar

g

Chautari

Rangitkar Sattal

Jacaranda flowering trees trees

Shabdahagriha

Birch trees

Canal Jacaranda flowering trees New Bridge

Teku Dovan Bahi

Temple Island

Manandhar Sattal

Bag

por ti S ma

ie ts F

lds

Stone landscape Radha Krishan Temple

g

Ba

gm

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R ti

iv

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New bridge

Teku Ropeway Park 1:1000

N


TEKU ROPEWAY PARK

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A lively and busy day at Teku Ropeway Park View from the other side of the wall towards the skate park. The former garbage ramp has become a multifunctional urban furniture that can be used as a stage for open air concerts, for skating, or as a viewpoint overlooking the park. The temple walkway winds around the skate park, leading the visitor to the Ropeway Station and the temples at Teku Dovan.

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144


OUTRO

145


DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION was still the territory of our investigation, but the focus changed from the actual waterway to the banks of the river and the potentials of developing a green river strategy. This has been exemplified by a river park from Shankhamul to Teku.

The main research question of this thesis was;

‘How can the riverscape of Kathmandu be transformed with the use of green infrastructure, creating green public space that can serve as a framework for the future sustainable development of Kathmandu?’ The work presented seeks to answer this question by presenting a vision and a strategy for the riverscape of Kathmandu, and finally show a tangible design for a stretch of the river; The Bagmati River Park. In the following discussion we will treat each part of the thesis individually, reflecting on the method, process, the result and the final outcome of the thesis.

Method discussion

We took a chance by not defining our task strictly before going on our study trip to Kathmandu, however we felt that in order to work with the river as landscape architects, we were forced to experience the place, before being able to define the scope of the thesis. The visit to Kathmandu became decisive for the direction of the project. Through our many investigations and interviews we learned that a cleaning project of the river was already underway. At the same time, we were struck by the lack of urban greening. The issue of greening became a recurring theme in our ongoing discussion about Kathmandu and its river, and it resulted in a change of scope from cleaning the river, to greening the river. The river

A narrow scope from the beginning would have been beneficial in the process of gathering information, as we would have had a smaller area to research. The broad scope meant that we spent much time on research, which we ended up not using in the final report. However, this research was necessary and helped us define our project, but we realized later in the process, back in Copenhagen, that we missed out information that could easily have been gathered, if our scope of the project had been narrowed down. It was however not practically possible to go back and gather this information. The process we have been through raises questions of how we, as landscape architects, are in dialogue with a site, and the importance of being able to revisit a site during the design process. Interacting with it and changing the perspective, as the design process moves forward, new questions occur. We could have enhanced our understanding of Kathmandu, the river and the site, have we had the time to investigate, after we had narrowed down our project. In short we can conclude that a continuous relation to the site gives a deeper understanding and serves as an important tool within the landscape architectural field.

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Nepal is a very different place to work compared to Europe. Collecting data was challenging, because of the language barrier and the restricted amount of public data online. We are used to finding accurate data and maps easily for the sites that we are working with. The difficulties we had gathering information, made us realize how spoiled we are in the Western part of the world. Here we have full access to everything we want. In Nepal, acquiring data often meant meeting personally with state officials and surveyors. This gave us a unique insight into the workings of the different governmental bodies.

not many are familiar with. Furthermore, this disposition guides the reader in grasping the scale and context we have been working in. It also reflects the process of choosing the site and what led to the decision. We decided to work with a large site, a 5 kilometer stretch of the Bagmati River, in order to be able to show a large range of possibilities. Each of the sites could easily have been defined as several isolated thesis projects on their own. It is a matter of prioritizing between the amount of work that is possible to do in the given timeframe and what is essential to show in order get a clear understanding of the project.

We have used a number of combined sources to produce our own maps and plans. GIS and open source maps have been a great resource of knowledge. The challenge was to assemble the relevant information from the amount collected. A shortage that the thesis has is the lack of accurate terrain data. The data that we had acquired was in many cases differing by several meters from what we had observed during our site registrations. Therefore a lot of the terrain work is approximated to our best understanding. This is of course a limitation when you are working with water and rivers, and accurate data should be obtained if this work was to be realized at some point.

Discussion of proposal

The report is structured as a narrative from the general to the specific. This is a deliberate choice, encouraging the reader to understand the complexities of the country, of which

With our investigation of the urban development in Kathmandu, and our green vision, we are highlighting the current state of the city and pointing out in what direction we think the city should evolve. With the Bagmati River Park proposal, we show a design implementation of the vision. Our hope is that our vision and proposal for a future Kathmandu can be used as a tool when talking about the issues of the river and how to deal with the rapid urban development of the city. By reconnecting the temples to the water and creating a “temple walk� along the Bagmati river, we bring the cultural heritage into the design. By doing so, we emphasize the need to restore these important temples and recognize their historical importance for the city. By designing the riparian zone and visualizing a greener Kathmandu, we highlight the potentials that

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might easily be overseen in such a degraded context. By visualizing the possibilities we also communicate the ideas to a broader audience and create a common frame of reference, in which to discuss the issues. Every project requires a sensitivity and respect for the local context. Our way of designing will naturally reflect that we are foreigners with a Scandinavian architectural training, and being aware of this, we have tried to use the local conditions as an inspiration. Arranging a workshop was a way for us to

gain a resourceful insight into what the local context encompasses. Subsequently, the workshop gave us a better understanding of the hopes and wishes the Nepalese people have for their city and its public spaces. With that being said, the design proposal would most likely be very different, had it been done by a local architect from Nepal. Coming from a different background can also be helpful when investigating and designing a site, seeing it as a designer and not as the backdrop of your everyday life. Working with a project ‘in your own backyard’ can sometimes be limiting,

Our proposal within the green network of Kathmandu.

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when you are colored by previous experiences and memories of a site, one can get blinded by all its potentials. There has to be a balance between the outside perspective and the local context, and we hope that we have managed to be within that spectrum. We have tried to bring forth the local character and sense of each area, enhancing the local qualities, rather than superimposing something new for each place. However, if this proposal was to be implemented, a second, more generous site investigation should be performed.

Further development

We have created a planting strategy, which could be further developed into more recreational areas if needed. It could of course also stay in the state of an urban forest and is in that sense resilient to further development of the area. We see a possibility to develop new parks that will be connected through the new green infrastructure network, outside The Bagmati River Park. This would extend the green corridor, benefit other local districts and help promote Kathmandu as a green capital.

By choosing the site, we naturally excluded other areas within Kathmandu, which also could have benefitted from a green revitalization. That is however outside of the capacity of this thesis work, but a subject worth investigating further in future projects. This thesis can however be viewed as an example for the surrounding areas, and could potentially become a design manual for future green urban development in Kathmandu.

Epilogue

By writing this thesis, we got the chance to both challenge ourselves as landscape architects and do a project that might never be profitable enough for a professional office to spend their time on. We have achieved a lot of new knowledge working with a project in such a different setting. We leave our work to inspire both Kathmandu and other cities around the world that faces the same challenges.

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Illustrations

If nothing else is stated, all images and illustrations are original by the authors. Page: 28-29, 57 & 81, Map data Š2016 Google Page: 32 & 59, Toni Hagen, with permission from Toni Hagen Foundation. Page: 43, Open Source QGis Page: 55 & 81, Historical Orthophoto, with permission from the Department of Survey, Kathmandu, Nepal. Page: 94-95, Original photo by Miro R Susta, manipulated by the authors.

Maps Genereally used GIS and CAD data from the HPCIDBC Ortophoto used for mapping German Aerospace Centre DLR

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Healing Bagmati - Revitalizing the riparian zone of the Bagmati River  

This is a master thesis in landscape architecture at the University of Copenhagen dealing with the green transformation of Bagmati River in...

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