context of Nepal
By: Amit Pokharel
Postgraduate student of Urban design
Khwopa Engineering College
Statuary Publication: This document is the sole publication of the
Author. Any misuse and the mis-interpretation of this document by
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An increase in a population in cities and towns versus rural areas.
Urbanization began during the industrial revolution,
when workers moved towards manufacturing hubs in cities
to obtain jobs in factories as agricultural jobs became few in
Urbanization is not merely a modern phenomenon, but a rapid and
historic transformation of human social roots on a global scale,
whereby predominantly rural culture is being replaced by urban
Urbanization can describe a specific condition at a set time, i.e.
the proportion of total population or area in cities or towns, or
the term can describe the increase of this proportion over
• Urbanization in context of Nepal is defined as
the: change in urban growth and cities form.
• The transformation of rural area (or
hinterland or fringes) into urban form which
links with transportation to grow into cities.
• Urban growth: economy and population density
Benefits of Urbanization
• Supply of basic amenities and facilities
• Improvement in the economy
• Better living conditions
• Convenience and access to educational,
health, services and jobs
• Social integration/diversity
• Political concentration focussed in case
Urbanization in Nepal
• Nepal’s urban areas have the potential to drive economic
growth to the benefit of the entire country. From the
ancient hill towns in the west to the compact historic city
cores of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal’s urban settlements
are rich in cultural heritage and located amid unparalleled
• The intangible heritage that flourishes in the cities – art,
music, dance and elaborate public celebrations and
religious observances – add vitality and meaning to the
built heritage and urban fabric. The conservation of this
unique heritage, both tangible and intangible, can be a
catalyst for urban revitalization by preserving city
livability, and creating a wide range of income-earning
As Nepal’s most important heritage destination and
main gateway to the country, the Kathmandu Valley has
the potential to become a world-class tourism
Cities, in particular those in the valley, are important
centers for developing and promoting Nepal’s
handicrafts, because they are the places where many
artisans create and produce and the natural locations
of wholesalers and retailers.
Trend of Urbanization in Nepal
• Urbanization is an essential part of economic growth,
social and political change, technical and scientific
advances and progress in various areas. Urbanized
settlement or the cities are probably the most
complex settlements evolved from primitive villages
to towns, then to the cities.
• The origin of urban settlements in Nepal is obscure. Very
little is known about urban living in Nepal during the
period of Kirants.The historical evidences on the
existence of towns in the Kathmandu valley are found only
for the Lichhavis period (100 BC to 1000 AD). By the
eleventh century, three principle settlements in the
Kathmandu valley had already started to be referred to
as capital towns.
• After 1769, Kathmandu became the capital of unified Nepal as
well as the seat of political, economic and social power. Outside
the Kathmandu valley, many new settlements were developed.
The spread of Newar traders and small manufactures from
Kathmandu during the later half of the nineteenth century
further contributed to the physical and economic growth of a
number of settlements in the hills.
• Political, demographic and climatic reasons discouraged the
growth of large permanent settlements in Terai until 1920. The
trade treaty of 1923 between Nepal and British-India has made
positive impact on the growth of urban centers in Terai. The
industrial development that took place in Terai during 1930s
further enhanced the importance of southern towns.
The political change of 1951 had significant impact on the urban
growth in Nepal. The country was opened to the outside world,
transplantation of new ideas, and country’s development plans
were commenced. The country was divided into development
regions. The development activities, most of which through
foreign assistance, resulted the dramatic change in the growth
of towns and urban centers in Nepal.
The initiation of malaria eradication programme and the
resettlement programme in the late 1950s created the frame
work for a long-scale migration of hill people to the Terai. Hill-
Terai migration due to rich agricultural base in the Terai,
increase in the volume of trade with India, expansion of the
state bureaucracy, and the creation of physical infrastructure
contributed to the urban growth and urbanization in Terai after
• In Nepal, migration and urbanization tend to be perceived as
negative phenomena and the wrong approach to development
therefore the Government of Nepal has discouraged and
restrained migration to urban areas and left processes of urban
migration and urbanization largely to the spontaneous response
of population movements and adjustments.
• It is the absence of a comprehensive national human
settlements policy, particularly an urbanization policy, that has
prevented the promotion, facilitation and management of
migration and urbanization in Nepal. Officially, the Government
of Nepal has declared 58 urban and semi urban areas as
municipal areas: 53 of them being municipalités, 4 sub-
metropolis and 1 metropolis. According to Portnov et. al.
“Currently, 58 municipalities in Nepal qualify as urban centers.
Image of Durbar marga,
Image of Biratnagar
Challenges of Urbanization
• Environmental impacts
• Urban poverty (poor living condition)
• Criminal activities
• Original fabric of building will be lost due to physical
• Directly effect on conservation of nature as well as
• Urban congestion
• Rise in market price of service utilities relating to daily
Institutionalizing Community Based
• Focussed on the improvement of living condition
• Focussed on the unemployment and improving
• Developing community facilities and services
• Improvement in roads and supply
• A Central Business District (CBD)
• Shopping areas: Department store and
• A number of shopping centres
• Industrial areas
• Open space for recreation/and leisure
• Fun parks and gardens
The Impact of Community-Based Programs
• Generate full and part-time employment for workers
• Cost for public utilites is poor
• Growth of apprenticeships and skill development program.
• Advance of health programs for children and community.
• Decreament in environmental situation
• Greenary area converted into concrete jungles
Latest Improvement in Nepal
• Problem solving process and education reform in the
• Construction of apartments and individual homes by
real state and builders
• Development of facilities for community health and
• Federal democratic process continuing in country
Improving Urban areas
• In many countries, government have attempted to
improve its urban areas, but in context of Nepal,
there is a lack of strong policy to plan and develop
areas. Though Department of Urban Development
and Building Construction (DUDBC), a department
under Nepal’s government is trying to improve urban
areas and working on it, but here are the two main
ways to deal with it. They are:
1. Inner city renewal and redevelopments
2. The planning of new towns preserving historic towns
Urbanization in the developing world
• Urbanization is happening rapidly in many parts of the
• People are being ‘pushed’ from rural areas and ‘pulled’
toward the cities.
• Every year more and more people arrive to these growing
cities in search of a better life for themselves and their
• Facilites and services for the community and people
Future cities in rapid Urbanization
• Rapid urbanization is taking place across the globe. Future Cities
will explore the components of a successful city, and will use
these discoveries to drive critical planning across all relevant
• Future Cities will consider the pillars that create the foundation
of a Future City:
-Water & Waste Management,
-Tourism & Hospitality,
-Disaster Relief and Green Building.
• (The above website url shows the World
urbanization: % of urban population and
agglomeration by size class)
• Reference taken to show data how rapid
urbanization is taking place.
Monument conservation in rapid
• Traditional fabric and environment are being seriously
effected by new buildings.
• Extreme development pressure
• Lack of conservation oriented planning in this rapid
phase of urbanization
• Inefficiency management of concerned authorities
• Lack of public awareness
• No proper implementation of laws/violation of laws
Legal and Institutional Framework
• The design of urban cities and their management should be
viewed from a broader perspective within the framework of
urban design and building construction, urban transport, landuse
and housing density. However this is not apparent in the current
legal and institutional framework.
• Numerous government institution responsible for urban
development have overlapping jurisdiction and are working with
little coordination and cooperation. However it is not clear who
is responsible for planning, desigining and managing.
• The absence of a clear government policy on land development
and infrastructure provision, urban design and building
construction and physical planning & works as well as lack of
trained manpower, have reduced the scope of urban planning and
desigining of cities
Legal and Institutional Framework
• Lack of strong policy and guidelines to preserve the
historical and traditional towns and cities of Nepal.
• In Nepal, the DUDBC (Department of urban design and building
construction) is a acting body for urban planning but still no sign
of desigining a new cities with planning as well as design concept.
It only focus to plan for the government buildings.
• In developing countries, there is everything planned before
making structures but in Nepal haphazards planning. No proper
planning in services and facilities including roads, sewage
disposal and drain, watersupply, electricity, sewer lines, and
other infrastructure development.
• No update in Cadastral map, lack of Master
• Failure to understand what is urbanization
• Lack of co-ordination and overlapping of
• Legal and institutional framework is weak, in
context of Nepal.
• Political interference disturbs mostly in
planning and developing sector
• The level of urbanization that would be most suitable for a
country like Nepal should be delineated. This must take into
consideration that poorly urbanized Nepal urgently requires the
establishment and rapid expansion of urban functions particularly
in hilly and remote areas, a disintegrated primary production-
based economy and a decentralization of development benefits
through an integrated spatial development strategy.
• Urban planning and desigining, especially land-use planning, is a
tool to develop an area in a proper way. Therefore, it needs clear
rules and regulations to guide the development.
• To establish proper way for planned development, the Central
Government will have to carefully examine existing laws and
regulations and make them coherent and implementable.
• The government shall pursue a policy of raising the standards
of living of the general public through the development of
infrastructures as education, health, housing and employment of
• The “urban governance”, formerly equated with urban
management, has come to be understood as both government
responsibility and civic engagement. Generally, it refers to the
processes by which local urban governments-- in partnership
with other public agencies and different segments of civil
society—respond effectively to local needs in a participatory,
transparent and accountable manner.
• As globalization continues, massive future urban growth is both
inevitable and necessary, but the way it grows will make all the
difference. Cities need a longer-term strategy for expected
• The urbanization trends, Michael. Howard
• Cities and life, Edward hill
• Figures/graph and images from World Bank report (www.wb.org)
• www.google.com/images of urban cities
• Mckansey global institute city scope 2.0
• Time Magazine
• Managing Asian cities, published by www.adb.org
• World Urbanization Prospects, the 2011 Revision, Website of
the United Nations Population Division
• An analysis of urban trends, patterns and policies of Nepal,
Basnet.P, korea (pp 2-3/ 7-9/ 6-4)
• Sharma, A. and Maithani, B.P . 1998. Development of small towns in
the eastern India (Eastern Himalayas). Paper Presented at the
regional consultation meeting on market and small towns in Hindu
• Goldscheider, C. 1983. Urban migrants in developing nations:
patterns and problems of adjustment, West view Press, Boulder,
• Kingsley, D. 1965. The urbanization of the human population
• Rural-urban relations with particular reference to Nepal, Pushkar k.
• UNDP reports on urban settlements
• UN-HABITAT papers publication at www.un.org
• Papers presented by Dr. Bijaya k. Shrestha for linkage of patterns
• Portnov, B.A., Adhikari, M. And Schwartz, M. 2007. Urban growth in
Nepal: does location matter? Urban Studies. 44, 915–937.
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