Emil Nasritdinov, Seth Fearey, Jamilia Baiborieva, Meder Ahmetov and Otabek Nigmatov
Our research is based on the results of four previous studies conducted one after another over the span of the last five years, and it builds on the knowledge and experience gained in the previous efforts. The data we seek does not currently exist in any other form. The City needs the results of our analysis to shape an evidence-based vision of a Kөk Bishkek and win the support of the stakeholders.
The first project titled “Socio-Cultural Life of Rivers in Bishkek” was conducted in 2016 together with a group called Urban Initiatives and with support from the German development agency DAAD.
The second project was called “Dariya Park.” It was conducted in 2017-2018 as a part of Redesigning the Commons course’s student team project. AUCA students were engaged in working with the community of residents living along the segment of Alamedin River located next to the Kok-Zhar micro-district.
The third project was titled “Kok-Zhar Garden” and was also conducted by the students of Redesigning the Commons course in the Spring of 2020. It was built on the trust established with the local residents of Kok-Zhar micro-district and focused on turning the abandoned and ruinated area between the river and the first row of apartment buildings into a green park. The team of students conducted a survey and organized a series of meetings with community residents and professional architects to develop a new vision titled ”Kok-Zhar Garden”.
The fourth project was titled Mythology and Morphology of Urban Rivers in Bishkek. It was funded by an AUCA Research Grant and carried out in the Summer and Fall of 2021. The research focused on two different, but complementary aspects of the Bishkek rivers: their mythology and morphology. The urban mythology component analyzed the historical and socio-cultural features of rivers. In November 2020, we presented the results of our research at the conference, which was attended by the Chief Architect of Bishkek, who was very impressed by our work and invited us to collaborate on taking these ideas further and developing them into a proper urban planning document that can be used by the Chief Architect’s Bureau and Mayor’s Office to develop areas along the rivers. Our research team has confirmed the interest in collaboration and we had several meetings with the Chief Architect and his team.
During these meetings, we came up with a new vision for our project. We decided that it was not enough to focus on rivers only and that we need to look at the wider conception of nature in the city and include green spaces in our analysis. In the process of discussing the focus of our research, we came up with the new concept – Kok Bishkek. The word “kok” in Kyrgyz language has several meanings and can be applied to several elements of nature: “kok asman” means “blue sky”, “kok suu” means “blue water”, but “kok terek” is “green tree”, while “kok taala” stands for “greenfield”. So, the word “kok” can mean both blue and green and generally in Kyrgyz culture, it is associated with everything natural and ecological.
This report summarizes the work our research team carried out during this year. The project included a number of research activities, that very broadly can be categorized into two complementary components: spatial analysis and social analysis.
Conceptual Vision of the Bishkek Eco-Belt produced by Meder Akhmetov