UN-Habitat, ARCADIS and KULeuven help rebuilding effort in Nepal _1Kathmandu, 24 August 2015 – ARCADIS, UN-Habitat - the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and KU Leuven are partnering to develop an urban recovery and development program for immediate action in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

In response to the earthquake of 25 April, the initiative aims to assist in the redevelopment of one of the hardest-hit historical areas of the Kathmandu Valley.

ARCADIS’ assistance is part of Shelter, a UN-Habitat-ARCADIS partnership aimed at improving the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.

An extensive Shelter mission will take place between 24 August and 5 September and will see five ARCADIS staff travelling to Nepal, along with a team of remotely-based support staff, to support local municipalities and neighborhood groups in urban recovery and planning. In July two ARCADIS staff members worked with a UN-Habitat advisor to develop a project plan for the initiative’.

The Shelter team will work together with the Human Settlements, Urbanism and Strategic Planning programmes of the University of Leuven, Belgium, and with UN-Habitat staff. Their work will focus on support for the badly-damaged historic town of Bungamati (near Kathmandu city) to redevelop the city and prepare the municipality for sustainable urban growth with affordable housing at the center.

Combining good urban design with recovery strategies

Speaking about the initiative, Mr. Padma Mainali, the Joint Secretary Housing of the Ministry of Urban Development and himself a KULeuven alumni, commented that strategies for affordable housing, rebuilding and expansion in settlements like Bungamati should build on the extensive heritage and cultural legacies of Nepal and Kathmandu Valley.

If done well, pilots like these will inspire compact settlement rebuilding in all affected districts in Nepal, including the market towns and heritage townships in the worst affected rural areas.

Good quality urban design combined with recovery strategies are important issues for this historic town. The Shelter team brings expertise on urban planning and design, civil engineering, sanitation and water management, and on strategies to redevelop the local economy.

On a larger scale, support will be provided on assessment of master plans and sectoral plans for Kathmandu valley, followed by neighborhood profiling to determine “hotspots” where future planning support and action is most needed.