Urbani izziv Volume 22, No. 2, December 2011
Bijaya K. SHRESTHA
S (settlement-society-sustainability) 3 Alliance, Development Forum for Habitat, Kathmandu, Nepal
Street typology in Kathmandu and street transformation
The lively and pedestrian-friendly streets of the Malla period and the unique streetscape of the Rana period, including streets in planned and haphazardly developed areas, are being rapidly transformed due to unmanaged urban growth, chaotic construction and a growing number of vehicles in Kathmandu. This has destroyed the physical form, reduced social activities, increased accidents and decreased pedestrian comfort on all types of streets. These negative consequences cannot be addressed through the existing legal and institutional frameworks of the urban-development and traffic-management authorities. Even recent street improvements have discouraged pedestrian movement, degraded the streetscape and replaced public spaces with traffic. This has further congested pedestrians and traffic in areas that were already crowded. To reverse this trend and to enhance the qualities of traditional streets of Kathmandu, a threefold urban design strategy is essential. This will decentralise business activities from urban centres, improve transitional spaces between streets (and sidewalks) and ground-floor activities of buildings on both sides of the streets, and strictly enforce traffic management, all supported by flexible design guidelines, incentives and consensus among various stakeholders.
street typology, unmanaged growth, traffic management, pedestrian movement, Nepal