January 17, 2019

Finns tackle urbanisation in Nepal

The project's sustainability plan will also take into account the area's historical significance.
The project's sustainability plan will also take into account the area's historical significance.
Helin & Co Architects

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Helin & Co Architects are working on a project to design a new sustainable urban area for half a million people in the Kathmandu Valley.

The Finns have teamed up with Nepalese engineering company JK Associates to develop and plan a new urban area north of Bhaktapur, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The project is funded by the state of Nepal.

Rapid population growth, urbanisation and environmental issues present a bundle of challenges for sustainable city planning in the area. Sustainable urbanisation will require construction, transport, energy production, and water and waste management solutions that take into account the historic surroundings of the old capital Bhaktapur.

Enhanced living to meet shared challenges

VTT has been tapped to conduct the economic and technical evaluation of the project to provide a baseline for its viability and impact on inhabitants.

“According to preliminary results, the development of the area can significantly raise the standard of living of hundreds of thousands of people and enhance their housing conditions,” explained Pekka Tuominen, senior scientist at VTT. “In the target area, special emphasis is placed on education and training in the form of, for example, several technological colleges.”

Although presenting a unique set of circumstances, the project in Nepal touches on challenges shared across developing countries worldwide.

“We will show how the unofficial expansion of cities without a city plan could be steered more effectively, economically and sustainably into well-designed new areas,” stated architect Mariitta Helineva of Helin & Co. “The urban planning solutions developed in the project will show the way for sustainable urban development in developing countries worldwide.”

Having started in April 2018, the project is set to be completed by June 2019, after which the implementation can begin.

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