Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cleaner, healthier cities for Nepal's urban population

Asian Development Bank press release: Bharatpur in Chitwan is one municipality in Nepal that is taking steps to improve the urban environment, making the city more climate-resilient in the process. Bharatpur is one of Nepal’s fastest growing municipalities. Engineer Bhoj Kaudel of the city’s planning department sees this trend as an opportunity for his native city to become one of Nepal’s key urban centers.

“If we can develop good services here, why would people need to move to Kathmandu?” he says. Attracting people to live and work in such secondary cities takes pressure off congested Kathmandu, spreading economic development more evenly across the country.

In early 2000, Bharatpur was on the track to unplanned urban sprawl. Migrants were settling on the riverbanks in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Wastewater from these and other settlements was flowing into the Narayani River, polluting the fresh water flowing down from the Himalayan Mountains. Housing construction was spreading in every direction around the city center, causing the traditional water supply to dry up. Drainage problems in the flood season were getting bad.

These growing pains were the reason that Bharatpur was selected as one of the sites for ADB’s Urban and Environmental Improvement Project, which started in 2005. The project promoted sustainable urban development through better municipal planning and upgrading of infrastructure for clean water supply, drainage, and sanitation.

With ADB’s support the municipality transformed the city’s riverside into a green space with a cement embankment that protects the residential land from erosion and provides steps down to the river’s edge....

Namche Bazaar in Nepal, shot by stevehicks, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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