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A visionary roadmap to guide a historic capital city emerging from decades of conflict towards a model of sustainable, equitable, and resilient development, tackling physical and social dimensions head-on

Kabul Urban Design Framework

Office of the President of Afghanistan, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing
Kabul, Afghanistan
395 square miles
Planning and Urban Design
Additional Services
Landscape Architecture
Completed August 2018
American Institute of Architects, Regional and Urban Design Award
Boston Society of Landscape Architects, Honor Award – Analysis & Planning
The PLAN Awards, Honorable Mention, Urban Planning Category

Under the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, the Kabul Urban Design Framework establishes a vision and a roadmap for transforming the city into a model of sustainable, equitable, and resilient development.

The overall effort consists of three elements: a Citywide Framework for urban development and growth, and corridor designs for two iconic roads: Dar ul-Aman Boulevard and Massoud Boulevard. The Urban Design Framework covers a range of issues that are shaping Kabul’s form today: infrastructure, housing, mobility, and sustainability. It also reaches beyond traditional themes of physical design to cover topics particularly relevant to the physical and social fabric of the city today: women in Kabul, higher education, and cultural conservation.

Kabul is a city at the crossroads of cultures, ecological systems, and political currents, each of which has contributed to the identity of the city today. 20 years into building a new civil society, the opportunity for Kabul in this moment is immense. The Citywide Framework establishes a design-driven agenda for Kabul’s evolution at the metropolitan scale. The challenges are significant: over 70% of the city has developed informally, and its population has grown by over 2 million people in just the last 10 years. The Citywide Framework establishes a vision that addresses each of these issues while also positioning the city for the 21st Century. An ambitious growth strategy simultaneously moves growth away from environmentally sensitive aquifers, restores an agricultural belt, and establishes new locations for investment in education institutions and economic development zones. A set of development typologies provide flexible, context-sensitive design guidelines throughout the city, providing a much needed mechanism for shaping development. This blend of site-specific design and citywide guidance is applied to other topics as well, including the opportunity to integrate informal settlements into the city.

The second set of activities focus on two important corridors. Dar ul-Aman and Massoud Boulevards are envisioned as a demonstration to the world of what is possible in Kabul, becoming engines of urban and social regeneration.

Ultimately, the Kabul Urban Design Framework is a vision for the kind of city Kabul can become. That vision, coupled with implementation strategies, will create opportunity for millions of Afghans for generations to come.

For more information contact Dennis Pieprz.

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