December 15, 2023
Reflection of South-South Excursion
Participating in the “Urban Transformation and Placemaking” workshop with students from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in New Delhi, held in Kathmandu, was truly an enlightening and memorable experience for me. The workshop not only provided valuable insights into the dynamics of urban development but also fostered connections with diverse and engaging individuals.
The first day began with introductions and a stroll through Patan, which set the tone for a series of meaningful interactions. Although the food experience on the first day was not as expected, it marked the beginning of something special. The following day, the schedule had to be changed due to the strike in Kathmandu which led us to explore Patan further. It was during this time that I had the pleasure of meeting Anil Chitrakar sir, whose captivating speech and cheerful nature left a lasting impression on me. I learned more about Pimbahal, an area I had passed and visited numerous times without truly understanding its historical significance.
The next day’s workshop was planned at Sunakothi, an area near my residence, to delve into the issue of road expansion in the core settlement. Despite living in proximity, I had been unaware of the ongoing disputes, relying on rumors for information. The session shed light on the reasons behind the local protests, which made me ponder about my reality of Sunakothi. This segment of the workshop was particularly interesting and an eye-opener for me, and it has surely changed the way I see and think about Sunakothi.
By the end of the Khokhana tour, I was trying my best to keep the same level of enthusiasm and energy that I had started with, but I can’t lie that I was exhausted. However, this was alleviated by the cancellation of the Kirtipur tour, after which we went to Amshad Dai’s family-run restaurant. Here, I created more cherished memories with fellow participants from the SPA. These unplanned moments of bonding contributed significantly to the overall positive experience of the workshop.
The concluding day involved presenting our findings and reflections on the impacts of urban transformation in the visited locations. Drawing upon the metaphor of a lion to symbolize those adapting to the changes brought about by transformation and placemaking, our presentation aimed to convey the resilience and strength exhibited by communities undergoing urban shifts.
In retrospect, the workshop stands out not only for the informative sessions but, more importantly, for the connections formed with diverse individuals. The friendly and fun atmosphere created by the participants, with the engaging activities, made the experience truly enjoyable. The workshop served as a reminder of the importance of such initiatives in raising awareness and fostering connections between people from different backgrounds.
In conclusion, this urban transformation and placemaking workshop in Kathmandu (South-South excursion) was a blend of learning, exploration, and friendship. Participating in workshops of this nature is essential for personal growth, community awareness, and building meaningful connections with others who share a common interest in shaping the urban landscape.
I'm Bivas Rai, a proud Nepalese artist born on May 25, 2000. My artistic journey is a bit unconventional, as my schooling was not in an artistic field. However, I'm currently on the verge of completing my Bachelor's degree in Fine Art at Kathmandu University, specializing in Studio Art. My art draws its inspiration from the everyday occurrences that surround me, the cherished bonds of family, captivating stories, and intriguing mythologies. These influences collectively shape my work, allowing me to convey my unique perspective and emotions as an artist.