BIZ IN­SIGHT Build­ing live­abil­ity into a high-den­sity city cen­tre


MANY NEW res­i­den­tial and mixe­dused projects are be­ing de­vel­oped in down­town Bangkok and one thing is guar­an­teed with all this de­vel­op­ment - an even higher den­sity ur­ban cen­tre.

As builders and city plan­ners de­velop the city, at­ten­tion needs to be given to the qual­ity of life in­fra­struc­ture, and plans needed to be made and im­ple­mented to en­sure that there is a bal­ance be­tween the ever-in­creas­ing den­sity of the built en­vi­ron­ment and the im­pact that it will have on the qual­ity of life of the public.

This would in­clude things like green space, safe and con­ve­nient pedes­trian walk­ways, and reg­u­la­tions to en­sure that Bangkok not only has world-class de­vel­op­ments, but also the qual­ity of life as­pects that other lead­ing global cities have cre­ated. Poor air qual­ity, heat gain due to con­crete and pave­ment sur­face ar­eas, and pedes­trian safety are all part of qual­ity of life is­sues that we ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery day as a Bangkokian.

As the city be­comes denser, traf­fic con­ges­tion will un­doubt­edly grow. In­creas­ing reg­u­la­tions on both new and ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cle emis­sions can vastly im­prove the air qual­ity of down­town Bangkok by re­duc­ing black smoke from old diesel ve­hi­cles and re­quir­ing the use of clean­ing chem­i­cals such as diesel ex­haust fluid, as is cur­rently done in Europe to help curb diesel emis­sions, among oth­ers.

As Bangkok’s mass tran­sit sys­tem grows, peo­ple will be­gin walk­ing more as they take the trains and con­tinue their jour­ney by foot.

We can take lessons from cities such as Japan, Hong Kong, or Sin­ga­pore. Above ground and un­der­ground walk­ways pro­vide a con­ve­nient and safe way for peo­ple to walk be­tween mass tran­sit lines.

The cities men­tioned pro­vide ex­cel­lent ex­am­ples of how public de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives have led to con­ve­nient and safe ways for peo­ple to move around without danger from ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic or as much pol­lu­tion. More im­por­tantly, these walk­ways re­duce the de­pen­dency on ve­hi­cles as peo­ple use trains to get to their des­ti­na­tion ar­eas.

Other de­vel­op­ments that could ease cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict (CBD) con­ges­tion and cre­ate greater public con­ve­nience in­clude mi­cro-links like walk­ing bridges that con­nect key ar­eas with high vol­ume traf­fic.

An­other big part of cre­at­ing a city with a high qual­ity of life is en­sur­ing that enough green space is planned to sup­port the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in the city.

Green space is needed for peo­ple to re­lax and ex­er­cise, cru­cial for the health and well-be­ing of a city.

Green space is per­haps the most dif­fi­cult to pro­vide as it means us­ing land for a non-rev­enue gen­er­at­ing pur­pose and re­quires lot of main­te­nance.

Though with proper mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning, greens­pace can be de­signed into city ex­pan­sion. In down­town, land must be al­lo­cated where avail­able.

One ex­am­ple of an ideal park lo­ca­tion is the To­bacco Mo­nop­oly af­ter it is re­lo­cated.

Turn­ing the va­cant space into a public park would greatly in­crease the per capita greens­pace of Bangkok.

With a mea­gre av­er­age of around 5 square me­tres of green space per capita in Bangkok, this city is rated one of the low­est green ar­eas per capita in the Asean re­gion.

Global cities are in­creas­ingly the gen­er­a­tors of wealth as the coun­try moves from an agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial-based econ­omy to a ser­vice econ­omy. Gov­ern­ments need to cre­ate healthy cites to en­sure that they can at­tract and re­tain the best tal­ent needed to drive the econ­omy for­ward.

The pri­vate sec­tor can pro­vide world class de­vel­op­ments with Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) and WELL cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, but the gov­ern­ment needs to pro­vide a public en­vi­ron­ment of world-class stan­dards.

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