Tomorrow's Kathmandu

Keeping intact the cultural glory of historic Khokana while adopting new practices and technologies. Through the promotion of modern Khokana we aim to develop a safe, equitable, inclusive, and prosperous community with eco-friendly and risk-sensitive infrastructures and urban development.

    - Vibek, 35, Khokana inhabitant



Located in a wide valley at the heart of the Himalayas, Kathmandu’s unique setting makes it prone to multiple hazards, including earthquakes, landslides and monsoon floods.

Rebuilding and recovery from the most recent major disaster, the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, is still ongoing throughout the city and peripheral settlements. Meanwhile, the trend of rapid upward and outward urban expansion continues, often uncontrolled, and is leading to a mix of diverse low-income communities and a reduction of open spaces and agricultural fields. This is driving an increase in the number of vulnerable communities exposed to multi-hazard risks, and compounds wider social, economic and environmental challenges.

Kathmandu’s political and governance landscape is also changing. In 2008 Nepal underwent a shift from a Hindu monarchy to a federal republic, leading to a transition in governance structures and institutes. The new government is setting the agenda for rapid urbanisation across the country with four new ‘smart satellite cities’ for the Kathmandu Valley. This will be delivered by numerous ministries through the ‘Integrated Urban Development Plan’ and the coordinating ministry, the Ministry of Urban Development, is seeking to integrate disaster risk reduction concerns within its plans.


Kathmandu Demographics


Kathmandu Challenges


Earthquakes are one of the most prominent hazards in Kathmandu due to its location in a seismically active region. The 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal had a magnitude of 7.8, resulting in over 8,000 deaths, more than 22,000 injuries, and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure in Kathmandu and surrounding areas.


Floods are particularly serious during the monsoon season. In August 2020 floods caused by heavy rainfall resulted in at least 49 deaths, displaced thousands of people, and caused damage to property and infrastructure [source: DHM].


Landslides are a significant hazard in Kathmandu, particularly in the hilly areas surrounding the city. In 2019, landslides triggered by monsoon rains resulted in over 90 deaths and caused significant damage to infrastructure and property in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal [source: Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium].


The 2015 Nepal earthquake.

The 2015 Gorkha earthquake was the single-deadliest disaster of Nepal’s history.


Rural Urban Migrations and Urbanisation

In Nepal, the rapid growth in urban population, which is a result of rural-urban migration and the conversion of seemingly rural areas into municipalities, has caused a substantial expansion of informal settlements. Frequently, lack of institutional capacity, infrastructure and knowledge for disaster preparedness is exposing ‘new urban’ residents to multi-hazard risks.

The encroachment of flood plains and riverbanks has further exacerbated the situation, increasing the vulnerability of the city to floods and landslides. Lack of compliance with urban planning guidelines has resulted in poor-quality infrastructure, including buildings that are not constructed to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes.

The exposure to multi-hazard risk and effects of disasters on residents vary along the lines of formal to informal settlements, class, caste/ethnicity, gender, and ability and access to local political economy.


Key stakeholders

  • National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA),
  • Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM),
  • Municipal DRRM Committee, Ward level DRRM Committee,
  • Disaster risk Management Committees,
  • Provincial DRRM Committees,
  • NGO’s
Khokana, Lalitpur, Nepal

Khokana, Lalitpur, Nepal.


Kathmandu’s approach using the TCDSE.

Situated in Ward 21 of Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC), on the southern part of the Kathmandu valley, Khokana is the medieval Newari town covering a total area of 3.2 sq. Km and inhabited by more than 5000 people.

In Khokana, Future Visioning involved engaging with a diverse group that included the Ward Disaster Management Committee and the Ward authorities, but also social groups such as women, marginalised and migrant communities, and the inhabitants of Sano Khokana, a small settlement within of LMC -21 administrative boundary. Their different visions and aspirations for the city were summarised by Tomorrow’s Cities researchers into a meta-vision for Khokana:


"A prosperous and equitable Khokana with a glorious Newa cultural identity."

Kathmandu Publications
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The urban political ecology of ‘haphazard urbanisation’ and disaster risk creation in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal

This paper examines the impact of rapid urbanisation on the production of unequal disaster risk in Khokana, peri-urban town in the Kathmandu

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Understanding Vulnerabilities through an intersectional lens in Khokana, Kathmandu, Nepal

This working paper analyses and presents preliminary conclusions of TC's researchers study of Khokana, Nepal, a traditional and small Newari village about 8 kilometers south of Kathmandu.

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Production of Risks and Local Risk Governance in Kathmandu Valley

This research is a part of the UKRI GCRF funded project Tomorrow’s Cities, which has the objective to encourage pro

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Strengthening community-based disaster management institutions to tackle COVID–19 and local disasters

The effects of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 have been very apparent as people, politics,

and economics of the world have been brought down to a grinding halt. Almost all of the

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Mapping DRR institutions and actors across scales from centre to local: Kathmandu, Nepal

This is the first report coming out of Work Package 1: Theme 2 (Governance and Institutions) for the Tomorrow’s Cities GCRF Hub in Kathmandu city.