Scoping, consultative meetings and design workshops
Some initial scoping for the implementation of the integrated neighborhood approach in Lalitpur was done in October 2018, during the government-hosted National Consultation on Promoting Ecocities. The event was organized by Ecocity Builders and attracted 17 of 18 municipalities of the Kathmandu Valley. The consultation showed that there is a need to further define the concept of smart cities in the Nepali context and go beyond its technological aspects. With their work in Nepal, Ecocity Builders aim to ensure that citizen participation, environmental concerns, protection of cultural and heritage, and improvement in overall quality of life are priorities in the local ‘smart’ movement. They suggest taking what they call an ecocity approach that consists of precise, local and affordable initiatives, each based on a thoughtful analysis of the contextual symptoms and conditions. Therefore, Ecocity Builders designed a methodology that allow the development of tailored war (neighbourhood) plans that are based on multi-level partnerships
During the initial scoping, three areas of Lalitpur were selected (through a consultation with the city, several municipal committee – including the Environment Committee and the Heritage Committee) as ecocity demonstration zones: Ward 16, Ward 21 and Ward 28/29. For these, Ecocity Builders developed an analysis of the problem that aims to guide cross-cutting aspects of local governance, economy, land use and transportation/
In a second step, consultative meetings were organized in December 2019, including Guthis (community groups which are self-regulated and financially sustained by its members) and elected local representatives’ (Mayors and Deputy Mayors) in the conversation. The discussions gave importance to four overall themes:
(1) Traditional Guthi Practices
(2) Ecocity values and practices,
(3) Local economic development/ materials production and
(4) Youth engagement.
Lastly, Ecocity Builders arranged a design workshop, where local architects, engineers and university students, along with community members from the three wards, discussed the assessment made by Ecocity Builders. As an outcome, the participants developed possible solutions to the problems that were identified previously and proposed their own Ecocity design interventions in each of the participating wards.