Compact Development: Kathmandu Tried it First!

The best hope for making cities livable, and at the same time stopping the juggernaut of urban development that destroys the surrounding environment, is to promote "compact development" and contain future urban development within geographical "growth boundaries" This is the suggestion of Marcia D. Lowe, author of the just-released Shaping Cities: The Environmental and Human Dimension, published by the World watch Institute in Washington DC (1991, ISBN 1-878071-068).

Kathmandu Valley might take the Lowe´s proposal as its own, because the ancient planners of the Valley towns put into practice centuries ago what the paper terms "compact development" — by concentrating habitation in infertile high ground (tars) while leaving the surrounding land free for cultivation. What Lowe puts forward on the basis of detailed study of cities around the world, the ancient Mallas and their predecessors seemed to have understood as well.

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Himal Southasian