Design firm Arcadis and UN bring shelter to Nepal earthquake victims

Shelter mission Nepal Bert Smolders 4

Design consultancy firm Arcadis is taking a major role in an urban redevelopment programme in Nepal, centred on areas worst hit by the April earthquake.

The project is aimed at providing long-term housing for the many thousands made homeless by the disaster, which killed an estimated 8,600 people.

Alongside UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and research body KULeuven, Arcadis is working in the historic Kathmandu Valley on a project called “Shelter”.

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 The mission started yesterday (Monday) and will run until 5 September and will focus on support for the badly-damaged historic town of Bungamati, near Kathmandu, to redevelop the city and prepare the municipality for sustainable urban growth with affordable housing.

The Nepalese authorities say good quality urban design combined with recovery strategies are important issues for this historic town.

Bert Smolders is managing the project for Arcadis. He said: “We have all heard about the tragic events that occurred in Nepal not too long ago. The media spotlight may have long since moved on, but that doesn’t mean that the situation is by any means rectified.

“The Nepalese people face a daily battle just to rebuild their lives. We are extremely proud to be assisting the ongoing relief effort and to do anything we can to bring safety, security and pride back to this beautiful country.”

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 masterplanning for Kathmandu valley development, followed by neighborhood profiling to determine “hotspots” where future planning support and action is most needed.

Padma Mainali of the Nepalese Ministry of Urban Development added: “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.“

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