Bangkok is getting bigger, with more people, traffic and buildings squeezing into its already crowded living space. As it develops into an Asian megacity, strategies are being developed to ensure it remains a livable home for its inhabitants.
And by 2030, Bangkok’s population is expected to have grown from 9.3 million to 11 million, an 18.2 per cent increase according to the United Nation’s World Urbanization Prospects.
So, as a gift to the city’s population, a large-scale urban renewal project has been hatched. Bangkok250 is a City Hall-backed programme that aims to design Bangkok’s future.
The objective is simple - to create a more livable city with a vibrant inner area by the time Bangkok turns 250. If successful, it should result in improved public transport, optimum use of urban space and revived neighbourhoods.
RENAISSANCE OF THE OLD CITY
Based on the masterplan, Bangkok's interconnectivity will be derived primarily from its Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. By 2032, there will be 226 stations stretching 226 kilometres around the capital.
Existing gaps between the track-based network and neighbourhoods will be sealed with renewed access routes, mostly neglected or underdeveloped in present-day Bangkok. They include alleyways, lanes and side-streets, which have great potential to accommodate pedestrians and relieve the pressure on road traffic.
In fact, changes are already taking place in the historic riverside neighbourhood of Kadeejeen. The old community on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River is steeped in history and boasts vibrant multiculturalism, which has blossomed over the centuries from Thai, Chinese, Portuguese and Muslim settlement
NEW CITY, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
City planners believe urban renewal will not only give Bangkok a facelift but also create new opportunities for its inhabitants by increasing the city’s competitiveness.
Bangkok's development plans are not exclusive to commercial areas but also cover medical and transport hubs such as the Victory Monument in the inner city. The BMA is considering building a network of suspended walkways around area, where about 20 medical institutes are located. If implemented, they will link medical facilities with the sky train as well as depots of public buses and vans.
“If the state places the people’s best interests at heart, changes can take place,” Pornsan Vichienpradit said, deputy director of the Urban Design and Development Center (UDDC).
“By the time Bangkok turns 250, it should be a city of new opportunities, with more public space anyone can use. People will be able to better live with differences, more mutual respect and growing awareness of each other’s existence.”
Source : Channel News Asia