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    Revisiting Kathmandu Valley's public realm
    (Nova Science Publishers, 2020-11-13) Chitrakar, Rajjan; Shrestha, Brinda
    Contemporary urban development of Kathmandu Valley, the major urban centre of Nepal, has largely failed to deliver positive outcomes, with direct consequences on its public realm. While the problem demands effective management of urban growth and change, there is also a need to expand scholarly dialogues on the impact of urbanization on public space quality. This book responses to this need and aims to instigate a new debate on contemporary issues of public realm by engaging readers with the challenges of the ongoing transformation and management of public spaces. The book consists of six chapters written on a range of topics, covering both the traditional and contemporary public spaces. Chapter One reviews public realm in the traditional towns of the Kathmandu Valley and reinforces our current understanding of the provision and use of historic urban squares. Chapter Two takes the study on the historic urban squares into a new level by examining these public spaces in relation to contemporary city identity in the context of urban change. The third chapter examines the current transformation of historic riverfronts in the Kathmandu Valley, outlining the physical features and the cultural and religious activities taking place in the riverfronts from the perspective of the cultural landscape theory. Chapter Four is an analytical wrap up on the changing nature of the public spaces in the urban fringe of a historic town. Chapter Five presents the case study of a major civic space in Kathmandu, which is currently in dispute due to encroachment and has become a matter of serious concern among local architects and planners. The final chapter examines how Guthi as a traditional institutional setup for civic governance may be reconsidered to devise a new model for public space governance at present.
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    The significance of historic urban squares in generating contemporary city identity: case study of Patan Durbar Square
    (Nova Science Publisher, 2020-11-13) Shrestha, Brinda; Chitrakar, Rajjan
    Traditional urban spaces contribute to delivering city’s unique ethos that helps to build urban identity and gives character to a place. However, these historic hubs are constantly being challenged by the growing conflict between the modern needs and the traditional values. This chapter presents a case study of Patan Durbar Square, one of the historic palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley built during the Malla period. The chapter examines how the palace square strives to exhibit a collective identity and what symbolic messages it conveys against the backdrop of the currently changing urban setting. This research is based on observations of the study area followed by interviews with the key informants and interactions with the general public. The study employs qualitative evaluation of the urban space in question and offers a detailed description of the phenomenon of spatial transformation. Through the discussion of the issues and challenges faced by the current transformation of the Durbar Square area, this research highlights that in developing and managing historic urban squares in old and cultural cities like Kathmandu, undermining its ancient forms to participate in modernization will question its legitimacy, especially when contemporary changes are set within the already existing built environment.
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    Morphology of traditional towns and the organisation of neighbourhood public spaces in the Kathmandu Valley
    (Nova Science Publisher, 2020-11-13) Chitrakar, Rajjan
    Traditional towns of the Kathmandu Valley boast a fine provision of public space and offer a unique setting for urban life. This chapter presents a comprehensive review of the morphology of these towns and the organization of public spaces within in the residential neighborhoods, with an aim to identify the key attributes of such spaces and the factors that are responsible for their formation and utilization. The chapter highlights that the physical form of the traditional towns exhibits a compact and dense character in the arrangement of buildings and urban spaces. A distinct pattern of settlement design is also evident in the organization of neighborhoods, where the town has been divided into several residential quarters to house communities based on caste and social status of the inhabitants. Most notably, public spaces have been developed as an essential feature of every traditional neighborhood, with a set of urban squares distributed over the entire town and arranged in an innovative and interesting way. The provision of public space, consisting of many elements of urban interest, has contributed to the development of an urban environment that is conducive to both daily social activities and occasional feasts and festivals.