Healing Bagmati

Abstract

This master thesis deals with a revitalization of the riverscape in Kathmandu, Nepal. The aim of the project is to visualize a green public space in the riparian zone of The Bagmati River which runs through Kathmandu. The thesis explores what impact urban greening can have on a city like Kathmandu, and how a degraded river can be transformed into a public park.

 

By analysing Nepal, the urban development of Kathmandu and the Bagmati river, we address four main challenges that the city faces: A lack of green public space, poor bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, a disconnected cultural heritage, and a river which has become a void and an ecological tragedy. As a solution to these challenges, we put forward a vision and a strategy for Kathmandu, with the river as a point of departure. The strategy focuses on three themes: green, human and cultural connectivity. The river zone then becomes the structure that ties these themes together, essentially by proposing the river network to become a green infrastructure connecting different areas in the city. In continuation of our vision we move to our site, showing in tangible detail plans, sections and visualizations, how we imagine a river park on a five kilometre stretch of the Bagmati River.

 

Initially, the Bagmati River Park proposal suggests ways to transform what is currently an abandoned and undeveloped brownfield, into a green public space that reconnects the temples to the water. Secondly it creates access along the river and ultimately the park connects the river to the city. The Bagmati River Park turns the river from being a backside to the city, into an attractive meeting place between Kathmandu and Patan – a green membrane between two urban cores.

 

The design focuses on supporting and preserving the cultural heritage along the river, by connecting and emphasizing the temples, effectively incorporating a “temple walk” into the park design. Each area in the park has been designed based on its current use, with the local characteristics in mind. In that way they become part of a sequence where each of them adds their distinctive character to the greater whole.