A Bangkok city planner helps bring some clarity to the ongoing (and confusing) development of Bangkok. But first, a very magical (and very Thai) cure for terrorism. All of that and more on this episode of the Bangkok Podcast.
Remember the news from a few weeks ago when two journalists were arrested in Bangkok’s airport because they were carrying body armor? While the the arrest captured everyone’s attention, it’s not the funniest part of the story. Greg happens to be friends with one of the journalists in question, and he related an unbelievable (unless you like in Thailand) alternate body armor solution offered by the Royal Thai Police. Ah, Thailand. But that’s not what we’re talking about today.
Bangkok is a growing city. To the untrained eye (that’s us) a lot of it looks like disorganized chaos, unrepentant disregard for historical properties, and unchecked sprawl — vertically and horizontally. To get a better perspective, we invited Tao Rugkhapan to help us out. He’s a lecturer at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University and he used to work for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as an urban planner. He also did his PhD work on Bangkok’s preservation of Chinatown, an area of Bangkok we both love.
Kuhn Tao helps us understand some of the finer points of Bangkok’s urban development. Some of them are:
- Why density is so high around current and planned transit stations
- What sort of planning cycle Bangkok uses
- The problems current zoning restrictions face
- The friction between private property owners and historic preservation efforts
- Why Sathorn is no longer the financial district of Bangkok
- A couple of major overhauls to Bangkok that will (again) change the landscape
- The unwavering impact of gentrification on Bangkok’s oldest communities
- A look at what the future might hold for Krung Thep
In reality, we have a wet, crowded, and likely less historic city ahead of us. But it’s not all bad news on the Bangkok-living front. While we can’t predict the future with any accuracy, we certainly do seem to be living in interesting times, for whatever that’s worth.
New Things To Do!
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Love, Loathe, or Leave
Since the dawn of time (or at least public toilets), man (the gender, not the species) has had but a single refuge: The Men’s Room. But that sacred ground isn’t all that sacred in Thailand, where the cleaning staff is ever present and invariably female. Listen in to find out how we feel about this invasion of our only private time.
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See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast!