• Press Release
  • August 24, 2015
  • Amsterdam

UN-Habitat, Arcadis and KU Leuven help rebuilding effort in Nepal

Amsterdam - Arcadis, UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Program, and KULeuven are partnering to develop an urban recovery and development program for immediate action in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. In response to the earthquake of 25 April, the initiative aims to assist in the redevelopment of one of the hardest-hit historical areas of the Kathmandu Valley.

Arcadis’ assistance is part of Shelter, a partnership with UN-Habitat aimed at improving the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. 

The mission will take place between 24 August and 5 September and will see five representatives travelling to Nepal, with assistance from a remotely-based team, to support local municipalities and neighborhood groups in urban recovery and planning. Earlier this year two Arcadis staff members worked with a UN-Habitat advisor to develop a project plan for this initiative.

The Shelter team will work together with the Human Settlements, Urbanism and Strategic Planning programs of the University of Leuven, Belgium, and with UN-Habitat staff. Their work will focus on support for the badly-damaged historic town of Bungamati (near Kathmandu city) to redevelop the city and prepare the municipality for sustainable urban growth with affordable housing at the center. 

Bert Smolders, Shelter Program Manager for Arcadis, commented: “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.”

Padma Mainali of the Ministry of Urban Development and KULeuven alumni commented:
“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.“

Good quality urban design combined with recovery strategies are important issues for this historic town. 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 master plans and sectoral plans for Kathmandu valley, followed by neighborhood profiling to determine “hotspots” where future planning support and action is most needed.


About UN-Habitat: 
UN-Habitat is the lead United Nations agency for housing and urban development. Its mandate is to promote socially, economically and environmentally sustainable urban development and adequate housing for all. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Please visit: www.unhabitat.org and www.worldurbancampaign.org

About the Shelter Program
Arcadis and UN-Habitat set up the Shelter Program in 2010. Arcadis provides pro bono expertise for UN-Habitat. Over sixty missions, trainings and other Shelter activities have been organized in Asia, Africa and Middle America. Over 500 Arcadis experts from a range of disciplines have been actively engaged in the program by sharing their knowledge, expertise and providing capacity-building support skills to help bring the UN-Habitat mission forward. This combination of expertise from a wide variety of backgrounds is aimed at improving living conditions in cities around the world, especially for the urban poor. www.arcadis.com/shelter 

About the Human Settlements, Urbanism and Strategic Planning programmes of the University of Leuven
The programmes are conceived to address rapid urbanization in the developing world and contemporary urban transformations within the scope of sustainable development. They aim to provide insight into human settlements issues related to rapid change and to the interaction between modernity and tradition, and to strengthen capacities to tackle the growth of spontaneous settlement, the design of large scale housing projects, the development of appropriate building materials and techniques, the systematic approach to complex programmes (e.g. hospitals, schools) and the planning of neighbourhoods, villages, towns with up-to-date techniques.http://eng.kuleuven.be/arch/onderwijs/mausp

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