S14: Sustainable Urban Development in Nepal


S14: Sustainable Urban Development in Nepal

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Symposium: Sustainable Urban Development in Nepal

Although an unplanned and organic growth of urban areas sometimes seem to work fine, lack of coordinated planning for infrastructure to support the growth can lead to problems. The current urban growth in Nepal is mostly happening without adequate infrastructure capacity in facilities such as roads, transit, water supply, storm drainage, and sewerage. Some plans are in place for large cities like Kathmandu, but most newly developed urban areas in the country lack adequate planning for infrastructure. This symposium will assess existing challenges and opportunities related to urban planning and development in Nepal, and recommend policies, programs and implementation mechanisms towards achieving sustainable urban development in the country. Focus areas will include review of current problems, streamlining the urbanization process, improving urban planning tools and methods, creating more efficient urban transit and transportation, planning for public open spaces, and creating resiliency related to disasters caused by climate change and earthquake. It will also review how Nepal’s urban development programs are aligned with UNs Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

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Symposium Coordinators

Ambika P. Adhikari, DDes, is a Principal Planner at City of Tempe, AZ, USA heading its long-range planning division.  He is also a Sr. Sustainability Scientist and frequent Faculty Associate at Arizona State University (ASU). At ASU, Dr. Adhikari earlier held the positions of Research Professor at the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning (2014-16), and Program and Portfolio Manager (2012-16).  He was the Director of International Programs at DPRA Inc. in Toronto and Washington DC. His work included providing consulting services to various international projects funded by the World Bank, North American Development Bank, and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

In Nepal, he was Associate Professor (Reader) at Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, and later, Country Representative of IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature). He is a Fellow of American Society of Nepalese Engineers, Member of American Institute of Certified Planners, a certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional, and Project Management Professional (PMP).

He received Doctor of Design degree from Harvard University and Master of Architecture from the University of Hawaii. He was a Fellow at Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Adhikari has authored one, and co-edited five books related to planning, environment and development. He has published several journal articles, reports and write ups in newspapers.  He has professional experience in more than a dozen countries. He is active in many community organizations in North America and globally.

Ar. Kishore Thapa, is the former secretary of the Government of Nepal with 32 years of experience in the civil service. He joined the civil service in 1983 as an Architect in the then Department of Civil Aviation.  He also served as the Director General of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), Secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism and Civil aviation, Election Commission and Water and Energy Commission. He served for 32 years before retiring in 2014.

He has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Calcutta University and master’s degree in urban planning from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He studied urban redevelopment and affordable housing in the Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA as a Humphrey Fellow. He has led Nepalese delegations in international dialogues, meetings and workshops.

Immediately after the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, he was appointed a Senior Adviser to the National Planning Commission for preparing the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and drafting the Post Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Policy. Currently, he is one of the three Expert Members in the Steering Committee of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).

Ar. Thapa is the past president of the Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA), Immediate Past President of Nepal Association of Humphrey Fellows and currently he is the Chairperson of the SAARC Association of Architects (SAARCH).

Symposium Coordination Committee Members

Binod L. Amatya, PhD, is a chartered/professional civil engineer and a ground engineering specialist. Currently, he is a principal engineering consultant at ARCADIS Global Engineering Consulting Firm based in London. He has 20 years of industrial and research-based experience in the investigation, design, monitoring and management of a wide variety of civil and ground engineering projects from various parts of the world. He has been involved in building design and construction, highway design construction, railway/metro upgrade projects and ground investigation projects.

In Nepal, he was the Project Engineer with the Higher Education Project of Tribhuvan University from 1999 to 2000.

Dr Amatya holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, a master’s degree in ground engineering from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand and a PhD from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. He also did a post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, UK from 2006 to 2009. He has published several journal papers based on his research works from Cambridge and Japan.

Pursuing his passion, he is advocating development of a metro rail system in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal and has done several presentations within Nepal and abroad on his proposed scheme, also has published several papers on the subject matter.

Keshav Bhattarai, PhD, is a Professor of Geography in the School of Geoscience, Physics, and Safety at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) (est. 1871) in Warrensburg, Missouri, USA.

Dr. Bhattarai did Ph. D. in geography from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. In 2000, he joined the Department of Geography and Planning at Eastern Kentucky University as an assistant professor where he taught geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, cartography, urban planning, and biogeography courses. He moved to the University of Central Missouri (UCM) in 2002. Dr. Bhattarai was promoted to a professor position in 2007 at UCM. In 2009, Dr. Bhattarai became an interim chair for the Department of Geography, and served as a chair until the university overhauled administrative structure and merged many departments to establish schools. Currently, Dr. Bhattarai is a professor of geography and program coordinator at the School of Geoscience, Physics, and Safety, where he also runs a spatial data management lab.

Dr. Bhattarai has co-authored several books, and authored many book chapters and journal articles. He has been serving as reviewers of 22+ journals. Dr. Bhattarai’s specialty areas are spatial modeling using geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques, spatial data integration, urban planning, human dimension of global climate change, tourism, and food security. In 2018, Dr. Bhattarai served as a Fulbright Fellow at the Central Department of Geography of Tribhuvan University.

Jitendra Bothara is a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand, New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering and Nepal Engineers’ Association. He is a Technical Director of Miyamoto International New Zealand Ltd in New Zealand. Jitendra comes from Nepal. With 27 years’ experience in seismic engineering and disaster risk mitigation, he has led teams for pre and post-earthquake assessment, reconstruction in many countries. Jitendra has co-authored and published several publications in earthquake engineering including various building standards, guidelines and manuals. He is Lead of New Zealand Government’s Task Group for updating standard on Assessment of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings.

Mr. Bothara is currently an advisor to the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Nepal and the United Nations’ Development Program on earthquake reconstruction in Nepal. He has recently completed an extensive experimental investigation on stone masonry buildings as part of evidence-based design. He is an ardent believer in identifying strong linkages between social and seismic engineering for seismic safety. His interests include translation of research and complex engineering concepts into implementation tools, socio-economic issues, dissemination of technology and non-engineered construction.

Raj Maharjan, MSc, is the owner and Director of iSolutions Consultants Limited, a planning consultancy based in Auckland, New Zealand. In New Zealand from 2008 to 2017, Mr. Maharjan held various roles at Auckland Council, including the roles of policy planner and senior planner. As a senior planner, Mr. Maharjan advised on complex development applications. In his role of policy planner, Mr. Maharjan provided expert planning advice to the elected representatives of Auckland Council, and managed policy formulation projects.

Before moving to New Zealand, between 1999 to 2002, Mr. Maharjan held the roles of coordinator and program officer at non-government organizations in Kathmandu.  Mr. Maharjan holds a Master of Planning Practice from The University of Auckland, New Zealand and Master of Science from The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.Mr. Maharjan is active in serving the Nepali community in New Zealand and globally.

Anju Malla is the first woman President of Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA).

She graduated in 1993 from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and started private practice from 1999 with residential, commercial and institutional projects in Nepal. With an MA in Rural development from Tribhuvan University, she was awarded 1st Prize in the 1st National Design competition in 1995 for the office Building of Kathmandu Municipal Corporation.

She represented SONA as a Jury member for the Building Permit Department (KMC) 2017 to 2019. She has been a thesis guide to B. Arch. Students and a visiting faculty at Kathmandu Engineering College (2006 to date).

She has participated in several national and regional design competition, journal editing and professional conferences.

She is an Advisor for Build Change Nepal and consultant for: Independent Monitoring and Verification of health infrastructure in Nepal.  She has been a member of the core group initiating the “Women in Architecture” (May, 2019) Forum within SONA with the sole intention of getting more women to the forefront of all related activities. 

Punya Sagar Marahatta, PhD, holds PhD in Architecture from Nepal, MSc in Urban Management & Development from the Netherlands and MSc in Architecture from Belarus. He served as a faculty in Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University in Nepal for more than 13 years, where he was Assistant Professor, and Campus Chief.


Dr Marahatta has taught graduate courses on Community Planning at Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. He has delivered numerous lectures at University of Philippines, University of Alberta, University of Calgary and York University.

Dr Marahatta is a registered professional planner with Canadian Institute of Planners and Ontario Professional Planners Institute. He was a City Planner II with City of Regina. He was a Planning Supervisor with Township of Adjala-Tosorontio after working as a Zoning and Compliance Report Examiner with City of Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Dr Marahatta is active in the Canadian Nepali community, and has published more than 50 newspaper articles and short stories.

Sarita Shrestha Maskey completed her M. Arch. from Belorussian Polytechnic Institute, Belorus in 1987 and MSc. In Urban Planning: Land and Housing from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok in 1994.She started her carrier working as an Architect/ Engineer and Senior Divisional Engineer/Urban Planner in the then Department of Housing and Urban Planning and current Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Babar Mahal, Kathmandu. She took various responsibilities such as project manager of the project implementation Unit, Urban and Environmental Improvement Project (UEIP/ADB), Planning, designing and implementation of “Reconstruction of Insurgency-Affected Government Buildings” located in district Headquarters, “People Housing Program” for the poor and disadvantage group of the society in different districts of Nepal and preparation of long term development plans and programs for the municipalities in Nepal.

In January 2015, she became the Joint Secretary of Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) and she held the post of Project Director of Urban Governance and Development Program: Emerging Town Project, Deputy Director General (DDG), Urban Development and Building Construction, Superintendent Engineer of then Building Construction and Maintenance Division, and Secretary of High-Level Problem Resolution Committee on Apartment Housing. In March 2020, she retired from the post of Joint Secretary, MOUD.

Prof. Jiba Raj Pokharel, PhD is a retired Professor of the Institute of Engineering. He is the Immediate Past Vice Chancellor and Academician of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology. He is also a former Dean of the Institute of Engineering and President of Nepal Engineers Association. Dr. Pokharel is also the immediate Past President of Center of Democratic Engineers.

An architect by Profession, Dr. Pokharel is the designer of Maya Devi temple in Lumbini. At the present, he looks after Kantipur Engineering College and Everest World School in the capacity of Principal. He is the writer of books such as Architecture, Oh! Architecture, written in Shakespearean Sonnets, Sikchhak Sisya Sambad, written in classical meters, Patan Ko Krishna Mandir, written in folk style.

Prof. Pokharel has developed technologies for disaster risk reduction such as fire-resistant thatch roofing, landslide prevention technology and Earthquake damping technologies to name a few. Dr. Pokharel’s articles appear regularly in the Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post.

Dr. Pokharel has specialized on Architecture Conservation from the University of York, UK. He was in a national committee formed by the Government about the conservation of Hari Bhawan. At the present, he is in a committee to look after the conservation of Jaya Bageswori temple in Pashupati premises.

Pitamber Sharma, PhD is a former Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission for the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (2008). Between July 1989 and December 2000, he served as the Regional Planner for the Mountain Enterprises and Infrastructure Division at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal. From June 1982 to December 1984, he was the Chief Advisor for the National Commission on Population. In 1972, he joined the Central Department of Geography at Tribhuvan University as a Lecturer, became a Professor in 1993, and resigned in 1998.


Author of numerous books and papers, his published works include the books Towards a Federal Nepal – An Assessment of Proposed Models (with N. Khanal and S. Tharu, 2009), and Unravelling the Mosaic – Spatial Aspects of Ethnicity in Nepal (2008).

Dr. Sharma is a Life Member of the Nepal Geographical Society and the former Chief Editor (1990- 2000) of its journal The Himalayan Review. A long time Board Member of the Resources Himalaya Foundation, a non-profit organization engaged in research and training on aspects of environment and development, he was recently nominated its Chairperson.

 Sunil Babu Shrestha, PhD, is the Vice Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). Earlier, he was a member of National Planning Commission.

Dr. Shrestha led Nepal’s high-level delegation to the Review Meeting on Nuclear Act at International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. He also headed National Delegation for the visit to the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Center in the Philippines. He has made significant contribution in the preparation of several national policy documents that have ushered innovative concepts for urban development in Nepal.

Dr. Shrestha has worked in various projects for international agencies like UNDP, World Bank, ADB and GIZ in different capacities such as Urban Planner, National Project Development Expert, PPP Expert, Environmental Expert and Solid Waste Management Expert. He earned Doctor of Engineering in Environmental Development Engineering in 2004 from Osaka Sangyo University (OSU), Japan. He also holds Master of Science in Urban Planning and Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering, both from Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

He has authored a book titled “A Sustainable City Planning Methodology for 21st Century (Concept of Food Green City)” and has a number of peer reviewed articles published in the field of Sustainable Urban Development and Planning, Environment, Climate Change, Solid Waste Management, Housing, Public Private Partnership, Green Economy, Food Green City and Cooperatives.

Swarnim Waglé, PhD, is Chairman of the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS), a South Asian policy think tank established in Kathmandu in 1979.

Between 2014 and 2018 Dr. Waglé served the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the Government of Nepal for three years, first as Member and then as Vice-Chair (with rank equivalent to minister). As the head of the Government’s apex policy advisory body, Dr. Waglé guided the formulation of national development strategies, coordinated policy across the public sector, monitored large projects, led ministerial delegations on the international stage, and steered organizational change.


He has worked as an international development professional for more than 15 years, with policy assignments in over 20 countries. Prior to returning to Nepal, he was Senior Economist at The World Bank in Washington, DC. Earlier, he co-authored the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s global 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South.” From 2002 to 2007, he co-led the UN’s Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Initiative.

Dr. Waglé sits on the Senate of Kathmandu University. In 1999-2000 he served as South Asia editor of Harvard Asia Quarterly.

He Waglé holds a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University, an MPA in International Development (MPA/ID) from Harvard University, and a BSc (Econ) from the London School of Economics.


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Date And Time

2020-10-11 @ 09:00 AM to
2020-10-11 @ 01:30 PM


Online event

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