Kathmandu, Nepal


Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources

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Sukumbasi - Landless squatter settlements in Nepal

In August 2014, the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) research cluster launched a new and exciting venture in Nepal. Led by Dr Bo Tang, a group of five diploma students spent 4 weeks in the Kathmandu Valley, investigating ‘sukumbasi’ along three major rivers that run through the city. This trip has resulted in a research publication “Scoping Kathmandu: Exploring Settlements, the City and the Valley”.

In November 2014, two groups of CASS architecture students from Diploma Unit 6  and Degree Studio 7, MA Architecture and MA by Project (ARCSR) courses returned to Kathmandu for a second visit. Over a period of four weeks, the two groups undertook further fieldwork (cultural and physical surveys) in four riverside settlements: Balaju, Shanti Nagar, Central Ghats and Manohara 16. Engaging closely with local communities, students uncovered a range of complex political, social, cultural and environmental issues affecting sukhumasi residents in Kathmandu, which will form the basis of their studio design projects.

A further publication "The March of the City" produced by current students was published in February 2015. Funded by The Water Trust (ARCSR) and CASS Faculty Research and Enterprise Committee, this is the start of a long-term research project in Nepal, building on previous ARCSR experiences in India and Sierra Leone, that will open up opportunities for new live research projects for students enrolled on ARCSR courses at the CASS.