Restoring it to its original boundary would not only provide Kathmandu with lungs, but also preserve its historical significance, as well as serve as a refuge in future disasters as it did in the 1934 and 2015 earthquakes.
The Kathmandu Valley Development Authority has identified 887 open spaces within the Kathmandu Valley: 488 sites in Kathmandu, 345 in Lalitpur, and 53 in Bhaktapur. Among these, 58% of the area is usable for public activities. These open spaces vary in size, services, and function. But identifying open spaces alone cannot guarantee their protection unless the feeling of ownership can be developed among the communities.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has been developing a plan to carve out 36 parks of varying sizes and services in the city, in collaboration with 11 municipalities to develop other green spaces around the valley. So far, the plans have been restricts to maps and their sustainable management will be a challenge. Issues of ownership are unclear, and the lack of belongingness can lead to poor maintenance, commercialisation and encroachment.
In some cases, open space development has turned into bourgeois environmentalism–with high boundary walls, restricted opening times, and fees that favour a few well-off people. This deprives ordinary citizens from access to greenery. The valley’s open spaces are fragmented, and unplanned urbanisation has left them disconnected with each other. They can be linked through ecological corridors that help plants and animals spread, migrate, as well as rehabilitate environments.