Discovering New Parks and Old Trees in Bangkok
If you love trees and green space, you might be surprised to learn that many public parks are now being improved or newly established in Bangkok. This study tour explores some of these gardened oases and the remarkable people and stories behind them.
After years of neglect, the city is expanding public green space and taking better care of trees. At least 22 new parks are being planned or have recently opened. Most are small or on the city’s outskirts, but each will give Bangkok’s people greater access to outdoor space for leisure and recreation. The training of more arborists, as well as introduction of city rules on arboriculture, will ensure that fewer trees perish or get trimmed to a stump. Landscape architects and other experts are being consulted to optimize outcomes. Underused parcels of land are being converted to benefit the public.
This progress results in part from ten years of efforts by activists, volunteers, communities, planners, design professionals and enlightened officials to seek greater public involvement in how the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration runs the city. For its part, the BMA has set ambitious targets for building parks and planting trees. We’ll learn how these innovative green spaces were created — often against difficult odds — through public pressure, negotiation and collaboration between civic groups, design professionals and various government bodies.
We’ll hear the story from:
- Mr Santi Opaspakornkij and Ms Oraya Sutabutr of Big Trees Foundation, a social enterprise supporting conservation of urban trees through education, public campaigns and training of arborists.
- Chunyaporn Ladsena, Urban Planner, Urban Planning and Urban Development Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administrator (BMA)
- Adisak Guntamueanglee, Deputy Director and Ms. Thanaporn Ovatvoravarunyou, Assistant Director of the Urban Design and Development Center at Chulalongkorn University (UDDC)
- Mr Yossapon Boonsom of Shma Company Limited, a landscape design consultancy, and of We Park, a public campaign to transform unused city spaces into parks (a pocket park near Suan Somdet Ya or Princess Mother Memorial Park)
- Mr Chatchanin Sung, Arsom Silp Institute of Art, which promotes holistic learning for human
development and a sustainable society (Benjakitti Forest Park)
On Saturday, 4 December: New Parks in the Old Town
The group will meet at 15:00 at Suan Somdet Ya (Princess Mother Memorial Park) in Khlong San District. At 15:15, the group will start walking through the park, visit some cultural sites nearby and visit a space that is being converted into a new “pocket park”. We walk across the Chao Phraya Sky Park, a gardened walkway built on the disused meridian of the old Phra Pok Klao road bridge, which links green spaces on both sides of the city’s river. We will also visit a heritage post office edifice at the foot of the bridge (touring the exterior only) before walking along the Khlong Ong Ang, where the facelift of a historic canal has created a lively new place to stroll, eat, shop and kayak, winning a 2020 Asian Townscape Award from the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat). We will end the trip at Damrong Sathit bridge, formerly known for the Saphan Lek market, at around 18:00.
On Saturday, 18 December: From Lumphini to Khlong Toei
The group will meet at 15:00 at MRT Silom Station, Exit 1, in front of Lumphini Park, and will walk to Benjakitti Park, Khlong Toei, via the Green Mile Bangkok. This 1.3 km elevated walkway, which links the parks, is being upgraded. We will visit the wetland part in Benjakitti Forest, an innovative, major expansion of the existing Benjakitti Park near Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. Here, we will end the trip at around 18:00.
The programs are scheduled into 2 days. The contribution of THB 880 per day (THB 1,080 for non-members), will cover gratuities, snack, donation to the Siam Society, and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. In addition, basic travel insurance is included. For the reservation, please specify the date(s) of the trip that you intend to book for.
- The Society requires all study trip participants to be fully vaccinated. We kindly ask that you attach appropriate proof(s) of vaccination indicating 2 (TWO) doses of Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine along with your registration.
- To comply with the measures set forth by the government in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to protect yourself and others around you, the Society kindly asks our participants to follow the appropriate safety and precautionary measures as stipulated by the government and health organisations.
- Tips: Your trip will be most enjoyable with sports shoes. Please don’t forget to bring a hat or an umbrella with you.
- Please bring a bottle of water from home to help reduce plastic wastes and save the environment.
- The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary.
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