Asia and Pacific

Comprehensive Development Plan of Bidur (2017 - 2035) - Bidur Sustainable Post-disaster Reconstruction Plan

2022-03-28 12:20:30 sisd 114

The Comprehensive Development Plan of Bidur (2017 - 2030) represents a top-level design based on regional perspective, urban-rural integration, and comprehensive management. To promote “people-oriented, green, smart development”, methods like multi-scenario analysis and quantitative analysis were adopted to learn about the status and existing problems of development in Bidur, and to compare global trends in urban development. As a result, development priorities were defined. By comparing the comprehensive plan in multiple scenarios, the project team also made clear specific strategies in industry development, transportation, and culture. The ideas of the local government were also taken into account so that the plan would conform to the direction and priorities of government work. At the same time, a project library and construction plans were developed to ensure smooth progress. This is a guideline for the reconstruction of Bidur after the 2015 earthquake, and a strategic blueprint for future development given the region’s unique location and multiple opportunities.

Objective of the practice

From the perspectives of “driving forces, ecological conservation, well-being improvement, and cultural awareness”, our SWOT analysis brings about four objectives for the region's urban development: a dynamic bustling city, an ecological safe home, equal access to public services, and a harmonious, inclusive environment. In 2035 Bidur will grow into a dynamic, bustling city with thriving business centers; an ecological safe home that can withstand natural disasters; and a harmonious and inclusive environment where people can enjoy equal, convenient access to public services, and where people from different cultures, backgrounds, and social strata can receive the same level of support.

A dynamic, bustling city -- On the one hand, Bidur needs to develop characteristic industries that drive its economic growth. As Nepal furthers its trade communication with China, and backed by its agricultural foundation and water resources, Bidur should focus on such industries as cultural tourism, logistics and trade, agricultural product processing and hydropower generation to build a moderately prosperous city. On the other hand, industry development will breed a large number of jobs and a growing population, making the city even more vibrant.

An ecological safe home -- While pursuing economic benefits, Bidur should strengthen ecological conservation, in particular the protection and utilization of ecological resources like mountains, rivers and farmlands, to make itself a beautiful and habitable city. At the same time, a flexible approach should be adopted for urban expansion which skips areas vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides, and floods. The evacuation routes and sites are also necessary for enhanced disaster response capacity.

Equal access to public services -- Bidur should get its priorities right to build convenient municipal infrastructures, regional channels that facilitate exchanges between Nepal and foreign countries, and a citywide transportation system led by public traffic. Bidur should ensure regular supply of resources like water and electricity, and proper disposal of waste and sewage. A comprehensive public service system should also be developed to ensure equal, convenient access to medical, educational, cultural, and recreational services, and social welfare.

A harmonious and inclusive environment -- Bidur should build an open and inclusive public space with easily accessible or attractive street parks and leisure facilities. Its religious and cultural spaces should be properly arranged to meet the habits and requirements of citizens and tourists of different nationalities and religious beliefs.

Key stakeholders and partnerships

Principal stakeholders: the local government and citizens of Bidur Municipality

Organized by: As the organizer and coordinator, UN-HABITAT supported preliminary survey, technical guidance, and final report throughout the planning compilation;

Complied by: Wuhan Land Use and Urban Spatial Planning Research Center (WLSP) and Wuhan Planning and Design Institute (WPDI) jointly established a core team for the status quo survey, data collection, special research, planning compilation, and final report;

Technical support: ARCADIS provided technical guidance and consultancy.

Implemented by: the local government of Bidur Municipality

Implementation of the Project/Activity

The project would be implemented in stages according to its objectives and priorities. There are three stages.
Phase I: preliminary survey and strategic planning. In April 2017, the project team started an eleven-day research and interview process in Bidur. Through a mobile location survey of nearly 100 km², a hand-drawn map about land use in Bidur was completed. Exchange forums were conducted with the local government and competent authorities, non-governmental organizations, and community representatives so that people from different sectors were involved in the planning. As a result, we have collected 100+ documents about the status quo of Bidur, 3,000 + field photos, about 300 minutes of video, and 20 hours of audio data. In the following six months, by assessing the status quo of Bidur, the development trend of Bidur and Nepal, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the region, the project team proposed the development vision and developed specific strategies for such eight aspects as industry economy, comprehensive transportation, infrastructures, public services, population growth, cultural tourism, comprehensive disaster prevention, and ecological conservation.

Phase II: basic research and spatial planning. In October 2017, the project team started another ten-day trip to Nepal for supplementary survey, and at the same time reported to UN-HABITAT, Nepali Ministry of Urban Development, and the Bidur government the “comprehensive development strategy” indicated in the Comprehensive Development Plan of Bidur (2017 - 2035). Spatial planning followed in the next six months. Guided by the comprehensive development strategy, the project team predicted the population and land use consumption of Bidur, assessed its ecological adaptability, and defined the security pattern. Taking into account the direction of urban development, the team also defined spatial structure and layout of land use, to be specific, lands used for public traffic, infrastructures, public services and facilities, cultural protection, and industry development.

Phase III: interim report and the development of five-year action plan. In May 2018, a delegation of eight members from Nepali Ministry of Urban Development and UN-HABITAT Office in Nepal were invited by Wuhan Natural Resources and Planning Bureau to Wuhan for the interim report of Comprehensive Development Plan of Bidur (2017 - 2035) and cultural exchanges between two cities. The medium-term planning results were reported to the delegation. Given the administrative policy, direction, and priorities of Bidur government, and future spatial arrangement, the project team defined development objectives, spatial layout plans and specific action plans for Bidur in the upcoming five years. Accordingly, a project library was established and necessary project funds calculated. From the perspective of implementation, the project team also designed land use policies and planning suggestions. From July 21 to August 4, 2018, our project team made three trips to Nepal, reporting the final planning results to the Nepali Ministry of Urban Development and Bidur government.


With input from Bidur government and local people from all sectors, two versions of Comprehensive Development Plan of Bidur (2017 - 2035) -- the general report and the public report -- were developed. The general report serves as a guideline for the local government to promote urban development in the long run, and the public report a brochure to enhance public awareness of the planning.

The plan had been highly appreciated and recognized by Nepali Ministry of Urban Development, Bidur government, non-government organizations and local people. At the country level, the plan, taking into account the realities of Nepal and its government hierarchy, has created an urban-rural planning system in Nepal that helped Nepali government formulate the system of administrative management system and the framework for policy implementation. At the regional level, it discusses the routes and policies for urban development, ecological protection and spatial arrangement in underdeveloped regions, and proposes feasible development blueprints and paths. The plan will serve as a guideline for Bidur to develop long-term effective strategies for economic and ecological sustainability in the region. For the public, the plan makes possible equal access to diverse jobs and public services, efficient and safe construction of infrastructures, and a beautiful, open living environment. Meanwhile, key projects in the plan will help the local government define work priorities in different stages. In a word, the living environment and standards in Bidur will be greatly improved.

Enabling factors and constraints

(1) Enabling factors
First, Bidur boasts rich natural resources and cultural legacies. Enclosed by two rivers and three mountains, Bidur sits in the valley area against Langtang National Park, and adjoins Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The region boasts rich ecological resources, biodiversity, and water power resources. Originating in the higher mountains in Nepal, Bidur is the holy land of Hinduism and Buddhism, and was once an imperial city. It is home to many cultural legacies including temples, palace complex, and Durbar Square.

Second, a renewed cross-border channel will unleash the potential of Bidur as the portal between China and Nepal. As Montagnes Expressway was upgraded after the earthquake, the flow of people and logistics from China to Nepal will be transferred from Zhangmu to Keyrung Port, which was connected by the Montagnes Expressway and Zhongshan Highway, and then with the urban complex in Kathmandu Valley in the east and Pokhara in the west. China-Nepal channels and ports will fully utilize the superior geological location of Bidur and make it “China-Nepal Gateway” again.

Third, the urban complex in Kathmandu Valley will drive regional cooperation in Bidur. Thanks to a regional traffic network, the sprawling urban complex in Kathmandu Valley will drive rapid economic growth in the surrounding areas, with the spillover of processing, manufacturing, and supporting services to nearby satellite cities. Bidur, a vital node connecting China and Nepal, will actively undertake its regional function in the rapid expansion for greater development momentum.

(2) Constraints
First, Bidur is still in the infancy of urbanization, with scattered layout of urban spaces. Restricted by its natural conditions, Bidur is built along Pasanglaahmu Highway from south to north, creating a riverbank belt zone. A scattered spatial structure results in the decentralization of population, as well as high construction cost and low service quality of public facilities. With an uneconomical spatial structure, Bidur is in the initial stage of urbanization.

Second, a low appeal given its monotonous industry structure, slow economic growth, and limited job opportunities. Bidur is dependent on primary agricultural production, and its secondary and tertiary industries lag behind. Its agriculture industry develops slowly due to the lack of mountain irrigation facilities and necessary technical support. Losing momentum, its industries fail to create enough jobs, and most citizens choose to find a job by themselves or in other cities. In a word, Bidur is not so attractive to people.

Third, a high ecological sensitivity to natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. Urban construction in Bidur is restrained due to the fact that 70% of the land is above 600 meters in elevation, extremely hilly. If the water level rises for 20 meters, parts below 520 meters will be flooded. The central valley area of Bidur has slow slope, but steep hills surround the valley, with a slope as high as 67°. In a word, most parts of the city are not suitable for urban construction.

Sustainability and replicability

Reconstruct the planning system with "one map" management for higher efficiency. A three-level planning system of “nation - city - town” is to be built under the principles of decentralized authority, unified standards, cooperation and coordination, simplicity and efficiency, and secured execution. A planning framework will be formed, with strategic planning + spatial planning as the core. A city-level plan preparation system will be established, including “Strategic Planning + Detailed Plans”, in which strategic planning deals with macro, strategic and comprehensive matters and guides the preparation of detailed plans, and detailed plans includes functions and standards set for specific plots or districts.

Focus on “implementation” and service plans. Key issues should be solved by stages based on the facts. An innovative mode of “Strategic Planning - Detailed Plan - Project List - Implementation Path” was created to progress the plans by stage. The actual laws of project development were followed, while the planning remained flexible, thus laying a solid foundation for future works.

Optimize the organization and introduce “open” flow tailored for the service targets. The focus was placed on utilizing various technologies, collecting data from all means, and analyzing existing data. In addition to traditional methods like field survey, resident interviews, and hand-painted key maps, the Internet was leveraged to build a three-dimensional space simulation model based on open data platforms. We also explored unique organization of work and built an international design platform. A number of top design institutes both at home and abroad were brought together for the construction aid series projects in Nepal. An open cooperation mechanism was established that institutions, departments, and countries work together. With remarkable results, the project and its success can be replicated in the planning of other cities or regions.


(1) Clarify urban development goals and strategies
SWOT method was utilized to analyze current economy, urban spatial pattern, governments and residents’ needs for development, and the future urban development trend. Based on the new situation and environment of Bidur, four Bidur visions were proposed: a bustling and vibrant city, an ecologically safe home, a place of equal and shared service, and a harmonious and inclusive atmosphere, guided by the principles of “seeking drivers, protecting nature, improving livelihood, and highlighting culture”.

(2) Build a safe city
Guided by the principle of ecological protection and urban safety, we have identified the regions for ecological reserve, ecological restoration, agroforestry, urban development, agricultural community, and waters, and define 1,388.63 hectares of boundary area for urban development. A reasonable population was estimated to plan appropriate city size to accommodate. According to natural population growth, industrial development, and comprehensive resource bearing capacity, the estimated population of Bidur is 70,000 to 80,000 in 2022, and 100,000 to 120,000 in2035.

(3) Clarify urban spatial development framework
According to Bidur’s spatial structure of the strategic planning and functional division, two levels were established: “concentrated construction” in the valley + “large-scale agricultural community” in the hilly areas, guided by the ideas of organic growth, flexible cluster and coexistence. Bidur’s spatial structure features “one belt with two branches, common prosperity of two districts, and connection of seven areas and five communities”. Two functional zones -- urban function zone and ecological function zone -- were introduced in the construction based on strategic research on land space and spatial arrangement ideas. Urban function zones include 11 categories: administrative office, living quarter, commercial and trade, logistics, industry, history and culture, public service, special management, public infrastructure, urban park, and flexible development. At the same time, four types of ecological function zones are set based on ecological endowment: mountain forest, ecological restoration valley, planting, and waters.

(4) Define the guideline for urban function development
While protecting the basic needs of local citizens, the project team developed the principle of infrastructure construction and classification of public facilities to ensure equal access to public services. In light of multicultural integration and public space construction, public spaces and religious spaces were properly arranged to realize cultural diversity, urban functions, and population agglomeration. A networked public-space grid would be created to promote exchanges and communication among people, making for a harmonious, inclusive environment.

(5) Provide policy support for implementation
Policies concerning land resource conservation, land use pattern, intensive land use, and land asset management were developed to fully support implementation. The measures include: developing a mechanism for farmland compensation and a strict system for cultivated land protection; proposing the reallocation of urban land and finding scale development and construction methods in the context of private land ownership; developing a land reserve system from land acquisition to reserve to transaction so that a well-fledged land transaction market is in place; improving PPP model to efficiently put land into use.