Caring for the Kathmandu Riverfronts

Reforming ownership of care and maintenance for sustainable commons on the Bagmati Riverfront

For centuries the Kathmandu Valley has been a land of rich culture, myth, and serene heritage. To sustain these resources the indigenous society had built 'Guthi' (institute) systems. Taking care of public spaces was a daily norm rather than a necessity. However, unstable socio-politics and globalization in the last few decades changed the demographics and beliefs of people in the valley. Critically caring for the commons is needed as adaptive to this rapid urbanization. Perhaps sustenance is not in building new places but in keeping the existing ones intact. 



                                                        Critical Care and Climate Change

Care seems to be such a simple term because it comes typically with dyadic relations and thus consists of chains of people. (The social (re)production of architecture Doina Petrescu and Kim Trogal). Like how JK Gibson Grahams’ iceberg representation of the economy, to sustain valued and shared resources, the visible ‘market capital economy’, or in our case, the riverfront project, is a small portion of the ice but is sustained (kept afloat) by multiple small daily activities and economy, caring being one . Scholars such as Angelika Fitz, Elke Kransny - Critical Care: Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet-, Doina Petrscu and Kim Trogal - The Social (Re)Production of Architecture- have highlighted care in regards to architecture and urbanisation. Economists Maliha Safri, Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham -Making Other World Possible: Performing Diverse Economies-, -Take Back the Economy- are good viewpoints of looking at these community economies on different scales.

Caring for our commons is an emerging issue and may be the solution for a radical change to happen. In my thesis, I will try to implement learnings from case studies that might be adapted in the context of Kathmandu Valley. Commons in this case comes when people are taking care and being responsible for the shared riverfront. Ownership is a big part of care and responsibility.

This thesis will thus look into designing a structure caring of shared assets such as the Bagmati Riverfront in Kathmandu. Existing notion of care from scholars worldwide and case studies are going to be a big part of the research aside from the city based studies. The design for the care structure is open to any form at the moment and can be scenario based.

Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project

                    What’s happening at the River Edge?

                                                               Case Studies