Report calls for strategy to address rapid urbanisation

The unique culture of the Valley is at risk due to unplanned use of land

Kathmandu, November 11

Infrastructure development provision remains weakly coordinated with the overall development of city and there is lack of infrastructure extension and neighbourhood level planning, says a government report.

According to ‘Inclusive Cities: Resilient Communities’ recently published by the Ministry of Urban Development, as land distribution becomes more skewed for infrastructure development, these issues ought to be resolved more rigorously.

“If accessibility to land is to be linked with planned urban development, the government needs to exercise adequate control on land use. Likewise, the trade-off between growth and sustainability should be addressed, including regulation of urban growth, through physical development plans,” it states.

The report has also highlighted the ‘growing regional disparity in urban growth and development’. Increasing rural-to-urban migration of largely unskilled and poor people has strained the already poor urban infrastructure and services. It has stressed the need of robust regional development strategy to address rapid urbanisation.

“Socio-economic planning should be coordinated with spatial planning at regional or sub-regional  level with due consideration to functional hierarchy of settlements. Despite some progress in urban planning, land development, local empowerment and housing delivery system, there are several challenges to overcome. Technology and research on building materials have not improved much,” it warned.

According to the report, progress on institutional development is rather slow. Likewise, the market has set housing price which most families find unaffordable. Despite increased investments on individual housing, the private sector has not been able to contribute much to social housing due to institutional constraints and low profitability. While some areas of urban development like education and health have become highly profitable, other sectors like solid waste and water supply are not adequately financed.

“Kathmandu Valley is the most important urban region in the country. However, due to unplanned concentration of economic activities and investment, the Valley continues to face unprecedented urban growth, accompanied by ecological and environmental problems. The unique environment and cultures in the traditional settlements of the Valley are at increased risks due to commercialisation of land use and gentrification,” it says.