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Sensory Walks in Kathmandu

- Niharika Mathema

Making sense of the city

The quality of space gets affected by various parameters which play a crucial role to enhance people’s experiences and lead to user well-being. One such parameter is “Sensescape” i.e. Sensory Experience. Each time we move through our towns and cities, we are inundated by sensory input that shapes our perceptions of place. It is important to address these spatial elements since every sense can be significant in perceiving a space and thus play a key function in transforming the experiential qualities of spaces and in shaping the public realm by strengthening the connection between people and the place. These include five senses as viewscape, soundscape, touchscape, smellscape and tastescape i.e. visual, touch, sound, smell, and taste.

Digo Bikas Institute (DBI) in collaboration with KMC and support from Placemaking Nepal, ENPHO and FHI 360 Nepal organized a series of “Mahasus Yatras" i.e. "Sensory Walk" events on 24th Mangsir 2079 (10th Dec, 2022) from Jamal to Basantapur and on 27th Mangsir 2079 (13th Dec, 2022) in Hadigaun on the occasion of Mahanagar Diwas (28th KMC Day).  The basic concept of this walk was to allow our senses (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, perception of pain or body awareness, mental senses, etc.) to connect with the surroundings and explore varieties of experiences through the given routes. For us, the major objective of this activity was also to bring out a brief scenario of the experience from the participants and investigate some specific characteristics that enhance or undermine space quality in Kathmandu's traditional urban landscape. The aspect of senses is important to be looked into in depth, as it will later give implications to broader topics of Placemaking, Sustainability, Inclusivity, Walkable Streets, Cities for People and Green Mobility.

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