Revisiting Kathmandu Valley’s Public Realm: Some Insights into Understanding and Managing Its Public Spaces

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Rajjan Chitrakar, PhD (Editor) – School of Engineering, Design and Construction, Melbourne Polytechnic, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Brinda Shrestha (Editor) – Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Kathmandu, Nepal

Series: Urban Development and Infrastructure
BISAC: SOC053000

Contemporary urban development of Kathmandu Valley, the major urban centre of Nepal, has largely failed to deliver positive outcomes, with direct consequences on its public realm. While the problem demands effective management of urban growth and change, there is also a need to expand scholarly dialogues on the impact of urbanization on public space quality. This book responses to this need and aims to instigate a new debate on contemporary issues of public realm by engaging readers with the challenges of the ongoing transformation and management of public spaces. The book consists of six chapters written on a range of topics, covering both the traditional and contemporary public spaces. Chapter One reviews public realm in the traditional towns of the Kathmandu Valley and reinforces our current understanding of the provision and use of historic urban squares. Chapter Two takes the study on the historic urban squares into a new level by examining these public spaces in relation to contemporary city identity in the context of urban change. The third chapter examines the current transformation of historic riverfronts in the Kathmandu Valley, outlining the physical features and the cultural and religious activities taking place in the riverfronts from the perspective of the cultural landscape theory. Chapter Four is an analytical wrap up on the changing nature of the public spaces in the urban fringe of a historic town. Chapter Five presents the case study of a major civic space in Kathmandu, which is currently in dispute due to encroachment and has become a matter of serious concern among local architects and planners. The final chapter examines how Guthi as a traditional institutional setup for civic governance may be reconsidered to devise a new model for public space governance at present.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Preface

Chapter 1. Morphology of Traditional Towns and the Organization of Neighborhood Public Spaces in the Kathmandu Valley
(Rajjan Chitrakar, School of Engineering, Design and Construction, Melbourne Polytechnic, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Chapter 2. The Significance of Historic Urban Squares in Generating Contemporary City Identity: Case Study of Patan Durbar Square
Brinda Shrestha (Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Kathmandu, Nepal) and Rajjan Chitrakar (School of Engineering, Design and Construction, Melbourne Polytechnic, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Chapter 3. Transformation of Historic Riverfronts in Asian Developing Countries: Processess, Impacts and Models in Kathmandu
(Barsha Chitrakar Shah, Urban Planning and Development Center, Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Kathmandu, Nepal)

Chapter 4. Rethinking Interconnecting Public Spaces at the Transboundary Region between the Cultural Heritage Sub-Zone and the New Development Areas in Bhaktapur
(Shyam S. Kawan, Department of Architecture, Nepal Engineering College, Pokhara University, Bhaktapur, Nepal)

Chapter 5. Finding Lost Space: A Case of Tundikhel
(Rikesh Shrestha, Department of Architecture, Khwopa Engineering College, Purbanchal University, Bhaktapur, Nepal)

Chapter 6. Governing through Guthi: Towards a Neo-Traditional Model for Governing Urban Public Spaces in the Kathmandu Valley
(Shobhit Shakya, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)

About the Authors

Index

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