Bangkok (1960-1970) / Litchfield Plan: Conclusions and Larger Narrative

Within the analysed timeframe, recalcitrance of the chaotic power structure in Bangkok constituted the main resistance against active urban reform.  The role of the city as a stage for political powers began from the outset of nationalism and continues long after the student protest in 1973 and 1976 that overthrew military rule.  The most recent crisis from 2008 to 2014 between the red and yellow shirts indicated that the chaos Thailand was bound with in 1960s still exists within a different socio-economic context.  The political stage is fraught with crisis and faction fights and as the people confronted the regimes with active disobedience, the imagery of occupied public spaces enriches the content of its urban space and forms a part of the city’s memory.

Today, Bangkok is still heavily plagued with traffic congestion.  Attempts such as the construction of a second-stage expressway, a double deck expressway known as Don Muang Tollway, and flyovers at major intersections can only be expected to alleviate problems locally(Tanaboriboon). In a sense, urban development remained uneven and piecemeal – existing network that was constructed incrementally following the forces of societal change in the twentieth century is parallel to the city’s current effort to rectify the inefficient structure road-by-road.  As the hindrance of political structure still exists and concerted efforts from different government sectors are still absent, implementation of a unified urban plan to solve the traffic issues remains impossible.

Last but not least, there is great relevance of the concrete and water narrative in Bangkok today.  On the one hand, the existence of water is perceived as hostile in that annual flooding that marked rice growing season in the old days have now become a threat to the concrete establishments(Sintusingha). On the other, it provides opportunity for sustainable development and urban agriculture to counteract the negative impacts of industrialisation.  Unique landscape typologies such as the paddy fields and rice farms on the east bank, as well as orchards, gardens and gated communities on the west bank are re-examined for their ability to revitalise Bangkok’s urban space(Thaitakoo&Mcgrath).

 

 

Reference:

Thaitakoo & McGrath, 2009, ‘The Landscape of Bangkok’s Agricultural Fringe and City Region Sustainability: An Ecological and Cultural Co-Evolution’, Chulalongkorn University&Parsons the New School for Design

Yordphol Tanaboriboon, 1993, ‘Bangkok Traffic’, Asian Institute of Technology, IATSS Research Vol.17 No.1, Bangkok

Sintusingha & Mirgholami, 2011, ‘Parallel modernization and self-colonization: Urban evolution and practices in Bangkok and Tehran’. Elsevier

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