CDIA Develops a Framework for Enhancing the Quality of Life in Bishkek Settlements

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At least 75,000 low-income residents of Ak-Bosogo, Kalys-Ordo, Archa-Beshik, Rukhiy Muras, and Bakai-Ata are set to benefit from the Integrated Development of Five Residential Areas in Bishkek Project that CDIA is currently supporting with a project preparation study (PPS). 

At the inception workshop held on 5 April 2023, CDIA’s consulting team presented the findings of the urban diagnosis and assessments it conducted, from which it developed a framework with “levers of action” for improving the residents’ access to key infrastructure and urban services.  

“The assessments and the urban diagnosis were done to better understand the urbanization issues in Bishkek with specific focus on the five settlements,” explained Kathleen Jovellanos, CDIA Capacity Development Specialist managing the PPS. “Through these, we hope to identify priority areas where investments may be concentrated to promote better living conditions,” she added. 

Bishkek’s population of 1.09 million has increased by at least 30% from 2007 to 2022 with most of the growth taking place in the residential areas surrounding the city, including the five settlements. Over the years, at least 47 substandard settlements have proliferated with most of them lacking access to basic infrastructure and services.  

Based on CDIA’s assessments, the five settlements need to prioritize road as well as water and sanitation infrastructure improvements. The settlements of Bakai-Ata, Kalys Ordo and Ak-Bosogo also require better drainage and sewerage collection along with gas network provision.  

Through the urban diagnosis, CDIA found out four trends contributing to the worsening quality of life in the settlements. These include urban sprawl, which has created a periphery marginalized from the city center; diminished sense of belonging and fragmentation of society; aggressive development in areas improper for residential use or detrimental to the environment; and settlements without economic activities.  

“Reversing these trends will need going beyond infrastructure upgrade,” said Kathleen. “A framework of development that considers city-level challenges and applicability of proposed solutions in other settlements must be applied,” she added.  

Shifting to this framework entails considering various “levers of action” that will promote: 1) integrated urban growth, 2) urban inclusion with access to public services and amenities, 3) urban resilience with consideration for environmental assets, and 4) urban dynamism with economic activities including those attractive for private investments.  

“Based on the main levers of action, we will determine the needs in each area and how the residents envision their settlements to be in 20 years. From this exercise, we will propose a package of investments that we can then prepare to feasibility level,” explained Guillaume Josse, Team Leader of the CDIA consulting team. 

Following the inception phase, CDIA will then assess and prioritize the development needs in all settlements, undertake stakeholder consultations, conduct climate vulnerability and risk assessment as well as capacity assessments, and draft corresponding action plans. At the final stage, the team will conduct feasibility studies for the priority projects, along with their initial safeguard due diligence. 


Photos during the inception workshop:

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