How can we make our cities more inclusive and equitable while also living within the ecological ceiling? The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) has an inspiring vision for its capital city to answer this globally imperative challenge, which is being presented at the Bhutan Pavilion as part of COP28 . Prior + Partners are in Dubai supporting RGoB and The Bhutan Foundation and sharing our insights from preparing the city for the future through our work on the newly adopted Thimphu Structure Plan.

Taking place tomorrow, 6th December as part of a wider a series of events within the Bhutan Pavilion, Aum Tashi Pem, Director General at Bhutan’s Department of Environment and Climate Change will be chairing presentations and panel discussions that respond to the overarching COP28 theme for the day – Green and Resilient Urbanisation.

Facilitated by Prior + Partners, alongside our project partners Arup and Gerald Eve, these sessions showcase the Thimphu Structure Plan alongside three of its priority projects:

1. 09.30 Session 1 – ‘The Thimphu Structure Plan’ – a framework for delivering ‘GNH within the Doughnut’
Synopsis: Introducing the new Structure Plan for the Capital City of Thimphu, the first presentation and panel discussion will explore how in response to the rapid urbanization of the last 20+ years, the Royal Government of Bhutan has developed a model framework for the delivery of a more regenerative and distributive approach to socio-economic development in the city. The clear goal is to invest in creating a place of opportunity for the benefit of the whole community; in balance with nature and inspiring to all stakeholders; integrating Gross National Happiness and the living culture of Bhutan within the principles of Doughnut Economics. Presentation by Jonathan Rose of Prior + Partners;

2. 11.00 Session 2 – ‘Working with Nature’
Synopsis: Exploring the vision for integrating green infrastructure, sustainable water management and nature-based solutions across Thimphu. Presentation by Arup;

3. 13.30 Session 3 – ‘The Low Emissions Transport Masterplan – a programme for change’
Synopsis: Clean, green and active: creating a sustainable transport system for Thimphu. Presentation by Arup;

4. 15.00 Session 4 – ‘Regenerative Bhutan – transforming building culture, from Forest to Frame’
Synopsis: Reconnecting Bhutan’s construction industry to its bio-based material roots, creating skills and expertise across the whole life cycle of buildings and the value chain for regeneration and future development. Presentation by Alan Organschi.

Several important sub-themes weave the four sessions together, all under the Bhutan Pavilion headline theme for COP28 – ‘Sustaining Carbon Neutrality’ . These include Conserving Natural Capital, Energy Transition and Diversification, Water & Food Security, Carbon Stewardship and Community Action, and how these are integrated into the vision for ‘Green & Resilient Urbanisation’.

The COP28 discussion can be viewed online here.

More details on the project can be viewed as part of the City’s innovative virtual engagement platform.