Bangkok’s character under threat

Written by Rajesh Daniel

Sunday, 16 October 2016 23:00

SEI 2016 oped Bangkok livabilityA view of the Bangkok skyline from Lumphini Park, an urban oasis among the skyscrapers. Photo credit: Terence Ong - own work, CC BY 2.5, Link

Uncontrolled growth, luxury construction and gentrification are driving out many residents and making life more difficult for all.

Is Bangkok a liveable city? In 2013, when MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra was running for city governor for a second time, his campaign promised to make Bangkok “a more liveable megacity”. MR Sukhumbhand won the vote but didn't live up to his promise. Now suspended, he has left his mission largely unfinished.

The long-suffering people of Bangkok have seen many such promises come and go like the annual monsoon floods that wash through the city, from making Bangkok liveable to solving the flood problems, and the most famous of all: “I will solve the traffic problem in six months” from a tycoon-turned-politician.

Bangkok keeps sliding down the index of the most liveable cities every year.

The city has one of the longest commuting times in the world. In order to reach the inner urban areas where work places are concentrated, people can spend an average of two hours per trip.

The city's Mass Transit System is belatedly expanding to provide more accessible public transportation. Yet this expansion is also the cause of a creeping “gentrification” that is threatening the city’s older residents and its character.

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The article originally appeared in the Bangkok Post on 17 October 2016

Source: Bangkok Post, Thailand
Language: English