City Profile: Thimphu

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan M. Walcott, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: The only capital city in the world without a traffic light, Thimphu is currently in the throes of major building projects as Bhutan modernizes with a new parliamentary monarchy and an increasingly open economy. The Thimphu Structural Plan adopted in 2002 provides a blueprint to guide the city in its transition from isolation to global participant. This analysis utilizes recent data from the first accurate census, updated GIS maps, and observations from several trips to assess Thimphu?s development stage and strategy. The urban landscape and plans being implemented reflect Bhutan?s commitment to combine traditional elements such as sacred and secular architecture and community-promoting village clusters along with adequate public transportation and price-supported housing, internet cafes and e-governance. The “Four Pillars of Gross National Happiness” (preserving culture and the environment, sustainable economy, and clean government) shape the urban setting. Thimphu serves as the capital city, site of political and economic power, and indicator of future directions for a strategically located Himalayan country.

Additional Information

Cities 26:158-170
Language: English
Date: 2009
Thimphu, Bhutan, Modernizing, Transition

Email this document to