5 October, 2015 Kathmandu : The World Habitat Day 2015 has been celebrated organizing various activities on the theme ‘Public Spaces for All’ throughout the country.
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
“The government will formulate stringent rules to promote the creation of open spaces and its maintenance. In order to establish adequate public open spaces accessible to all, it requires a clear roadmap and support from all stakeholders concerned” said Mr. Narayan Khadka, Minister for Urban Development at the inaugural session of a half-day workshop on the same theme today.
Highlighting the values and importance of public open spaces, Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari stressed on the need of pedestrianization of streets and open spaces to create vibrant cities.
Four presentations on different aspects of public space management and conservation were made by experts at the workshop. Padma Sunder Joshi, Habitat Program Manager at the United National Human Settlements Programme in Nepal made his presentation highlighting the importance of community engagement in creating public spaces not just the design.
Yek Raj Adhikari, Architect from Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) made a presentation on the government plans to build 10 new towns (e.g. Phidim, Dumre-Bhansar, Sanphe Bagar) at the junction of Middle Hills and the provisioning of public open spaces. Other presenters at the workshop were Pushkar Shrestha from Centre for integrated Urban Development and Om Thapaliya of HomeNet Nepal.
On the same occasion, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and UN-Habitat along with local organizations organized a day long campaign ‘KTM Walks’ along Kilagal Nardevi stretch and in Itumbahal to promote walkability and different uses of public spaces. Hundreds of people participated in the campaign and observed traditional arts and artifacts including traditional Newari music and dances.
This campaign is expected to boost government’s plan to arrange at least one open space for every 25,000 population in the Kathmandu Valley. In order to create additional open spaces, the metropolis has also planned to procure privately owned buildings and land in city’s core areas.