Friday, June 12, 2015

EARTHQUAKE RESISTANT CITY (ERC) AT HARISIDDHI, a model to inspire the entire nation

EARTHQUAKE RESISTANT CITY (ERC) AT HARISIDDHI, a model to inspire the entire nation
Tej Kumar Karki

Dear all,

Recent disaster has taught us that earthquake resistance should be the front and center of city planning principles in Nepal.

For many years, it will remain like that (hope the thrust and seriousness would not fade with time).

Since most of the Kathmandu city area are congested and mostly built by violating bylaws--are in the verge of collapse by future quakes. We have to correct that and it will take time.

The other option is to allow development only on land least vulnerable to liquefaction caused by earthquake.

Liquefaction and mapping of KV has already done---and future legal and strict zoning can ensure development in safer soils.

It is also equally important to create an earthquake resistant city (ERC) in moderate liquefaction area' south of Harisiddhi (see the map below) where flat terrains are available

  1. The purpose of ERC is to show how an earthquake city would look like (research and design),
  2. To demonstrate the entire nation how to create earthquake resistance settlement or towns
  3. To accommodate the big government buildings: PM, president, office and build with earthquake resistant designs      
  4. To create more pockets of green space for future earthquake relief at city level and neighborhood level
  5. To release congestion, traffic and development pressure from city centers to earthquake-safe development zone
  6. To prepare a clear agenda for earthquake resistant city to secure international support from China and other nations.   

In 1996-98, I had proposed a satellite town at Harisiddhi as a Town controller of Lalitpur Town Planning Office.

That was well received, KVTDC approved it, DUDBC approved it and prepared report through consultants, NPC had budgets for couple of years---and it vanished because of lack of resource commitment from high level. But the documents are still in the government shelf.

The idea did not get political support as like for road widening in 2011.

For any policy idea--big events, regime change or disasters open the window of opportunity---for implementation and this is the right time.

The Harisiddhi satellite town idea had ERC properties in many ways and it could be reviewed and modified further.

Note: One cautionary note is: we should not have more than one ERC town in Kathmandu Valley because of limitations of valley resources and its fragility from various points. The valley is already congested--more than the mother nature wants---more than valley's earthquake resisting capacity. In the long run----we should create another power and resource center outside valley that is less fragile from disasters (but it would be a difficult political decision).


I welcome your thoughts. Source of map 1 is: Piya, Birendra (2004)


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