A case study in context of heritage with special reference to Bhaktapur and Patan Paper on: Heritage Conservation for privately owned traditional residential dwelling Are the existing legislative measures are sufficient for the preservation of Vernacular Architecture with special reference to Bhaktapur and Patan monument zone in context of heritage?
2013 Er. Amit Pokhrel (B.E. Civil)/ M.Sc. Urban Design and Conservation, 3rd semester student, Khwopa Engineering College, Libali, Bhaktapur 11/3/2013
Are the existing legislative measures are sufficient for the preservation of Vernacular Architecture with special reference to Bhaktapur and Patan monument zone in context of heritage? (privately owned traditional building) Case Study The World Heritage Property within the Kathmandu Valley is probable one of the most important structure in the world comprising of seven Monument Zones, each with specific management requirements. Each Monument Zone contributes to the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Property. However , the threat to each Zone is different in form and degree. There are many existing legislative measures to preserve heritage property within the Kathmandu Valley but the legistlative measures are own self hasn’t implemented by itself in some cases which are found to be very inactive in case of Kathmandu valley WH sites. Technically the legislative measures didn’t went for addressing the privately owned Traditional building which should be preserved by the municipality itself in its own area to save such historical buildings and vernacular architecture. Though there was an Integrated Management Plan which was introduced to safe guard the historical traditional building, but also it has many drawbacks. it didn’t addressed to privately owned residential dwellings in case of Patan and Bhaktapur. both cities are rich in their architecture, carving and positive influences as well as rich in culture and historical appearence. The existing legislative measures aren’t sufficient for the preservation of Vernacular Architecture with special reference to Bhaktapur and Patan monument Zone in context of heritage to privately owned traditional building. The key issues with special reference to Bhaktapur and Patan Monument Zone are enlisted below:
Key Issues Analysis Identification: There is no detailed understanding and identification of the elements and attributes that allows Patan and Bhaktapur to contribute to the outstanding universal value of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Sites. 1.
It has been especially lacking in respect to privately owned buildings. The inventories with grading of monuments (A, B and C) need to be gazette and incorporated into the legal and managerial framework of the WH areas. Overlapping of authority and responsibilities within the WH area can be found due to contradictions within the existing Legal Provisions. However, further complications arise in respect to the Town Development Act 1988 which delegates certain powers to the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee. The practice of hereditary division of property often leads to the vertical division of historic buildings. This has been one of the major causes for the destruction of privately owned buildings within the WH area. There are no provisions in the Legal Provisions to halt this practice. Legal provisions A new set of guidelines and building bylaws specific to the Monument Zone have been prepared. These have, however, not been fully tested and implemented in close cooperation with related authority and thatâ€™s why many residential dwelling are demolished day by day and due to failure of legislative measures too, people are destoying the traditional residential building and moving into commercialization. 2.
Clarification of overlapping authority and responsibilities and possible amendments to the relative Legal Provisions needs to be made through coordination and cooperation between all authorities working within the Monument Zones and if it recovers, then, we can change the course to preserve the privately owned traditional building.
The legal provisions must be institutionalized within the legal and managerial framework of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City. For efficiency of the legal provisions, overlapping authority and responsibilities must be eliminated and incentives and subsidies must be provided.
Planning and Policy Heritage conservation is one of the biggest challenges in context of urban development. Heritage conservation is most often not given priority in municipal planning, even in respect to the WH areas. The planning within the WH areas is not coordinated with overall municipal planning. This is especially true in respect to the planning of traffic, infrastructure and services, as well as for overall heritage conservation planning which helps to destroy privately owned traditional residential building within the heritage zone. 3.
Risk Management has not been considered for the conservation planning of the WH areas. Risk preparedness, especially in respect to earthquakes and fires, has not been integrated into the overall planning of the WH areas; this is also one of the drawbacks of legislative measures which havenâ€™t address here to preserve all kinds of structures within the heritage sites. Operational strategies, controls and incentives have not been aimed towards the conservation of privately owned heritage buildings, leading to demolition and reconstruction of heritage buildings, with design adapted to the bylaws that are officially valid for newly constructed buildings. There is a lack of incentives (subsidies, grants and soft loans) being used as a sustainable strategy for conservation of privately owned historic buildings. Most funding agencies do not cater to private buildings. The valuation of historic buildings is so low that banks and finance companies hesitate to offer loans for restoration projects.No strategies have been developed for sustainable funding mechanisms
There is no clear understanding of what â€œacceptable changeâ€? is in respect to the WH areas, especially considering the controlled development of private property. 4.
The Heritage Unit has not yet been given the full coordinative role within the municipality to fulfill the responsibilities as Site Manager. There is a lack of responsibility and understanding between the various municipal departments / divisions and units. The capacity of the Heritage Unit is inadequate to take over full responsibility of dealing with the given task of Site Management. There is a lack of expertise as well as personnel. There is a lack of coordination amongst the various authorities dealing with conservation and those dealing with the development of infrastructure and services. Another essential link which has not been established is with the authorities dealing with the ownership, purchase and sales of property within the WH areas. There is no component within the management system to deal with emergencies. This is especially so in respect to natural disasters, however also for urgent response to illegal activities within the WH areas. Community and Awareness The relation between the heritage significance of the WH areas and the living culture activities carried out by the community needs to be highlighted. but in the case of Patan and Bhaktapur, it was not been implemented yet. 5.
Legislative measures fail to address the Integrate development of heritage conservation programs for primary, secondary and high school into regular curriculum. Very little is being undertaken inrespect to raising public awareness on the significance of the cultural heritage that makes up the WH property. This is the case not only in respect to the community living within the WH area, but also the
general public and the decision makers in the government. Schools lack programs on heritage awareness. No address was there for restoration and maintainenece as well as no development strategies for the sustainable economy of the community within the WH areas without impacting the heritage value of privately owned residential buildings within the World Heritage Sites in Bhaktapur and Patan Community involvement in conservation and management of WH areas is lacking or not present at all. The community often has a negative impression of conservation and therefore do not cooperate with the ongoing conservation efforts; Homeowners lack knowledge of maintenance and restoration requirements for historic buildings. This often leads to the Owners reverting to contemporary construction procedures and techniques.
Sustainability No strategies have been developed for sustainable funding mechanisms.There is no follow-up on implementation and review of long term planning and management. Fail to Prepare sustainable funding strategy and project proposals for community participation and contributions for specific projects within the heritage sites in Patan and Bhaktapur 6.
Conclusion Technically, if the legislative measures are being changed and modified and revised according to the Conservation point of view and if few incentives are provided to the people who owe their privately traditional building within the world heritage zone, then many such historically importance building will be preserved and remain its own fabric for a long time, otherwise demolition process will go and one day the privately owned traditional residential building within the monument zone in context of heritage at Patan and Bhaktapur will be converting into concrete jungles affecting the whole area and losing its original fabric forever
Recomendation The building height should be manageable within the WH sites and there should be a provision of maintaining their inside structures FAR shouln’t be increase more than 35 feet within the WH sites. The legislation should be revised time to time, for the betterment of WH sites. Illegal elevation on a traditional building within WH sites/area should be completely stopped to preserve its original fabric. Chaotic and unregulated urban development within the WH zone should be properly regulated. Modification of juridical status of the property diminshing the degree of its protection. Agencies or National Commissions should be responsible for implementing the Convention in each State Party. Should be included to the issue of authenticity and/or integrity in relation to the property. Street facades of traditional look should be preserved to preserve streetscape and landscape of the surroundings of WH sites. Incentives should be there for those who follow the legislative practice for restoration of buildings within the Monument Zone and WH sites (Picture shows some drawbacks regarding both area)
Figure: Illegal inhabitation of building at Patan & Bhaktapur