The Thimphu Structure Plan back to all projects
The Thimphu Structure Plan
The Thimphu Structure Plan
The Thimphu Structure Plan
The Thimphu Structure Plan
The Thimphu Structure Plan

Location: India

During the planning of this capital, we discovered many new ideas. These ideas became the frame work for the city plan. Today we are proud of this unique approach we have discovered in planning this city. This is the approach of the ten Principles of Intelligent Urbanism. The Thimphu Structure plan is based on these principles. It is our endeavor to make Thimphu a unique city. Perhaps, this new city would play as a role model for many cities to come up in future. Let us read what the ten principles outline:


Principles of Intelligent Urbanism (PIU) are a set of ten axioms, laying down a value-based framework within which participatory planning can proceed. After review and amendment by stake holders, PIU acts as a consensual charter around which constructive debate over actual decisions can be evaluated and confirmed. It also guides urban planning procedures. PIU emerged from several decades of urban planning practice by Christopher Benninger in the Asian context (Benninger, 2001). It was the basis for the new capital plan for Bhutan. The Principles of Intelligent Urbanism are:

Principle One: A Balance with Nature emphasizes the distinction between utilizing resources and exploiting them. It focuses on a threshold beyond which deforestation, soil erosion; aquifer depletion, silting, and flooding reinforce one another in urban development, destroying life support systems. The principle promotes environmental assessments to identify fragile zones, threatened natural systems and habitats that can be enhanced through conservation, density control, land use and open space planning (McHarg, 1975).

Principle Two: A Balance with Tradition integrates plan interventions with existing cultural assets, respecting traditional practices and precedents of style (Spreiregen, 1965).

Principle Three: Appropriate Technology promotes building materials, techniques, infrastructural systems and construction management consistent with people's capacities, geo-climatic conditions, local resources, and suitable capital investments. Accountability and transparency are enhanced by overlaying the physical spread of urban utilities and services upon electoral constituent areas, such that people's representatives are interlinked with technical systems (Marshall, 2000).

Principle Four: Conviviality sponsors social interaction through public domains, in a hierarchy of places, devised for personal solace, companionship, romance, domesticity, neighborliness, community and civic life (Jacobs, 1993).

Principle Five: Efficiency promotes a balance between the consumption of resources like energy, time and finance, with planned achievements in comfort, safety, security, access, tenure, and hygiene. It encourages optimum sharing of land, roads, facilities, services and infrastructural networks reducing per household costs, while increasing affordability and civic viability (Urban Land Institute, 1998).

Principle Six: Human Scale encourages ground level, pedestrian oriented urban arrangements, based on anthropometric dimensions, as opposed to Amachine-scales.= Walkable, mixed use urban villages are encouraged, over single-functional blocks, linked by motor ways and surrounded by parking lots (Leccese, 1999).

Principle Seven: Opportunity Matrix enriches the city as a vehicle for personal, social, and economic development, through access to a range of organizations, services and facilities, providing a variety of opportunities for education, recreation, employment, business, mobility, shelter, health, safety and basic needs (Sen, 2000).