111013064321-thai-floods-cars-horizontal-gallery Thailand, the country with the water, going back to the history of Thai culture, people live with the water or we can say “embracing with water”, everybody would like to build their own properties on the river banks not only because of the passive cooling that can turn the temperature of the house become cooler but also economic issue that the market transactions are happened around this particular area. There are full of typical Thai architecture such as raft houses, which could be adapted for practical use in city planning for communities along river banks. Most citizens take a benefit from river as the marketing channel to sell their products along the river which have the interaction between the habitat and the merchant created “Community” in each node of the city. If we zoom out to see macro-economic of Thailand, the main economy that driven Thailand for so long is “Agricultural”. Rice becomes the primary exporting products to overseas and Thailand is the number one country of world that export rice with much amount of quantities plus quality because of the soil and the weather and the water that make the farmer can crop the quality rice as we can see that Thailand economy and Thai society are always relevance with the water. Unfortunately, surrounding with the water is not totally gain benefits as we wish, there are some critical issues that need to be concerned which of course something that we cannot control “the natural phenomena” which is “Rain” which can create the flooding issue. Let’s me identify the term of “Rain” in our Thailand context, rain can be both good and bad. Rain can become valuable asset to the citizen and farmer for growing their crops but when rain is more exceed and without decent management, it will turn to be flooding problem which can destroy the crops and cause many social problem issues to the city. If we have clear visionary about the term “Rain” and clearly understand the behavior of it that can has advantage and disadvantage in itself, why don’t we create the “Water System” to control the water from rain. The next question might be “Why water need to be systemized?” Before I answer this question, I would like to introduce the term of “Imbalancing” in Thai context first because Thailand is a country at risk of water disaster both draught and flood. Considering its size, the country has a great length of rivers in its water network, specially the central delta. Together with monsoon behavior around the region, Thailand has always been worried about the water flooding that always comes with monsoon but delirious sprawl of cities and irresponsible agriculture lands trigger huge imbalance of water flow, they get insufficient to use water during dry season and larger scale flood during rainy season. The 2011 monsoon season hit Thailand with flooding that cost 815 lives and affected millions of others. World Bank estimates put the damage to the Thai economy at nearly US$50 billion, largely due to the impact upon industry. Factories and plants in seven industrial estates in Thailand’s central plains were evacuated due to the deluge, with automotive and HDD industries among those worst hit. Given that the 2011 floods effectively stalled what had been the extremely rapid growth of the Thai economy, it’s not surprising that the Thai government was quick to announce $11 billion of flood-defense spending including approximately a half billion for quick-fix measures at industrial centers. This has got a lot of people rethinking about our relationship with nature, and how at the present rate of economic and industrial development we are moving at a speed beyond the limits of our natural environment. bangkok_flooding_bbc_map                                                                            Resource :


According to the unstable delta condition as flooding situation in Thailand, it is caused by changing environment, we have many problems those occur in this case such as in term of lacking of the food and energy, transportation, supplement, the existing networks are disconnected, changing of life process, so all of them are directly effect to our life. The question that arises is whether it is possible for us to relearn to live with water as we have done so in the past. We have to change the way we live with water and also we need new tools that are more human related. “The people’s tools” the tools that make us more responsible and enable us to live with water in the new way all together. “Dams won’t work. They are managed by politics.” “Wake up Architects” We should take part in this!! This propaganda should be popped up into Thai architect thought but honestly as an architect, I never have an interest in flooding issue in Thailand before, but after 2011 Bangkok flooding which have the big impact to me and my family and also have the effect to all citizens in Bangkok. From this reason, it reflected my thought to really concern to solve this issue and how to deal with this issue as an architect. Of course I’m not politician that have enough power to control everything as I could wish but as architect, we can propose the alternative solution how to deal with the water issue and how to turn water become more valuable in a creative way. As I’ve investigated the physical land layers of Bangkok, we might say that Bangkok is rapidly sinking as it is eroded each year by floods of seawater that invade the city. A UN study claims that most of the city will become marshes by 2050. The city was built on marshy land 300 years ago, but the grounds are rapidly deteriorating.  But in term of economy issue, I can see the skyrocketing population and development of the city has caused the underground aquifers to become over exhausted, making them unable to handle the flood waters. The city is surrounded by polluted water fields and the water fields are bought by developers who in turn continue to build upon them, which has only worsened the city’s sinking state. The flooding will cause problem if it has the effect to the living of people which mean that if the flood happens to any territory which there are no citizen living, we might call “Wetland”. No one will get the effect from the flood. As everybody knows that the plateau of Bangkok level is located in lower level and it’s very risky to get flood then in 2011 it is the big disaster of Thailand in the last hundred years. So let’s go to the question “Why we have to choose Bangkok as the capital city as Central Business District and what issue that we have to concern to select the city to live in?” If we’ve already known that this plateau will have most possibly to get flood in the future and Why we choose this territory?’ Is there any hidden agenda or economic issue behind there? So I started analyzing Thai economy through the lens of architect practiced, it seems to me like the goal of modern development has created a clear separation between agricultural and industrial activities, between human and nature, between fluid and solid territories  which become a threat to human living. As we move forwards and slowly detach from nature, we neglect the power of it and forget how we once live with it. Bangkok is the city which illustrates such on-going situation clearly, from the day when water was city’s breath to the day when water become city’s catastrophe to local economy, society and environment. The evolution of the city cause Bangkok to developed in the wrong direction. The influence of green revolution in 1967 which allow farmer to use irrigation instead of natural water source and economic development direction caused the development that set Bangkok’s fluid and solid territories apart.  For my point of view, the main idea is to look at nature not just a resource but a natural capital that needs to be maintained as much as physical or human capital. In the context of Bangkok, we need to look at the abundance of water not a threat but an economic opportunity. In planning for the prospect Bangkok we should try to understand the formation of crisis, in order to determine the new balance between water, Bangkok living and Chao Phraya river basin. People should learn to live and adapt with the water. The benefits of the water cause people to change the way they live including their economic and cultural activities to connect with the water. Because now it’s too late to remove all Bangkok citizens to live in other place what we can do now is we should “think globally and act locally” and also use the economic as the fundamental to develop the project. In Thai tradition, there are many creative solutions how to deal with water in ancient times, they create the channel of water to make water go quickly to prevent flooding and use roots of the trees to absorb and slow the velocity of the water. What we can do furthermore is we can combine the technology and all the data to create a network. Then we have to investigate and study the formation of the Chaophraya flood plain territory and the recent crisis in order to determine a new balance between water, Bangkok city and economic corridor of lower Chaophraya River floodplain for the next 50 years. As I’ve mentioned before in the beginning paragraph, Thailand is a country at risk of water disaster both draught and flood. What about we propose the concept of a “water detention network” that would retain water during the rainy season for use in agriculture for the rest of the year? This would require the abandonment of the current mode of rice cultivation in which the growing season overlaps the coming of the rain. The idea for “double-cropped” fields that would leave lands available for water retention in designated reservoirs.  Becoming “Floating agriculture” would ensure that these fields and reservoirs are productive all year. All agricultural area is the main key to the effective water management for Thailand and Chao Phraya river basin. Through extending the potential of flood plain characteristic and the existing irrigation system which covers 70% of area, the elements are transformed into the “water detention network system”. The scheme will blur the distinction between the industrial and the agricultural and to a point, the urban and the rural, envisaging as it does a patchwork of rice fields, water storage infrastructure and settlements. We create the network of water detention within their existing agricultural land and focusing on how Thai people lived with water in the past, and offering glimpses into creative ways to live with water and avoid getting soaked  in the future. As we propose the new idea of “water system”, which can turn out to be effective strategic but there is one critical issue that need to work parallel together which is also the main cause of flooding issue “Deforestation”. The question of how much impact that deforestation has on flooding has been debated in many Thai environmental research issues.  Analyzing something as large and complex as the ecological system presents challenges in isolating the causes and effects. This has led some people to believe that quantitative measurements on flooding and deforestation are too difficult to prove. Forests are a natural mechanism for controlling and regulating the flow of water as it passes through the hydrological cycle.  Unfortunately, Thailand is known for having one of the largest rate of deforestation in the world.  In the past 50 years, what was once a largely forested region has been decimated, mainly for logging and agricultural purposes.  More recently however, industrialization and urban development are the main sources of forest removal, and even protected areas are now under threat. My question “Is it possible to transform construction from being a destructive force into something beneficial to the eco-system?”  Based on this, we would like to propose a new kind of urbanism, a vision that can accept the realities of land development, but to incorporate it with forest replanting and biodiversity preservation. For us, this is our vision of sustainable development. We call this approach “Forest Urbanism”. My vision is to propose the idea of the future living for unstable delta by using the ecology system by studying the behavior of mangroves system in term of life process how they adapt to live with changing of environment surrounding in two conditions as water comes up and down in term of physical as structure. The vegetation basis is a forest of indigenous mangroves, which the government is already trying to implement in Bangkok. The mangroves naturally filter water, and they also supply fresh oxygen and natural cooling. So, our community  would be adapted and support the unstable delta as changing environment by using the natural ecology system, the architecture can adjust to the proper activities and function follow the changing environment and provided infrastructure , urban facilities, energy management, pattern organization and living space to encourage the life process in unstable delta. In the future, Bangkok city will become a self-sustaining “floating city” that can thrive with the flow of rising tides to allow Bangkok to live with natural flooding instead of resisting it while reproducing the clean waters that detoxifies the region’s polluted waters. In the conclusion, I hope Thai Government should take more action to really solve the water problem issue. My proposal is just a one alternative example how to embrace with the water. Water will turn to be the huge benefit for us, we don’t have to worry about water in monsoon season and less worry about water scarcity in summer anymore. After we can solve the problem then Thai Economy will go further more and more from this point. We need collaboration between government, city planner and water management council, architect and also economist to work together closely, not as before that each part just worked and tried to solve the problem only their own parts which didn’t join venture together with other departments then it became solve problem in wrong direction which waste plenty of money and time. We must have a clear objective and vision how to solve the problem together. Finally I hope Thailand will be the best example of water issue problem for Southeast Asia. Even if none of what I have proposed ever gets built, it should at least allow for whatever make-do solutions according to available budgets. It would be even better if this knowledge could be passed on to the government body or those with the power to deal with the nation’s water management system so that next time a flood comes, we are ready and better able to handle it.