|Name:||Ahnaf Akif Siddique, Khairun Fahmi, Fahim Faisal Khan, Najmush Shaker|
|Studio Master:||Prof. Dr. Shayer Ghafur, Prof. Dr. Catherine Daisy Gomes, Dr. Apurba Kumer Podder, Ahammad-Al-Muhaymin, Md. Tariquzzaman, Simita Roy|
|University:||Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)|
“A loss of USD 46.5 Billion” is one of the most prominent clauses when talking about the 2011 Bangkok flood. The city, undergoing rapid urbanization and a transformation from agriculture-based to the industry-based economy from the ‘50s combined with its ever-growing tourist sector is making it one of the most money-driven piece of land in the world. Bangkok has been witnessing the adverse effects of these as the city grew over time neglecting, disrespecting and disregarding nature. What had been once a breathing piece of land with water networks and fertile land is now an impermeable cover of hard concrete with little or no trace of green in it.
Whereas resiliency aims at achieving a sustainable solution integrating nature and humans alike, the question remains, in a metropolis like Bangkok, can the ever-growing economy be ignored while aiming for a sustainable resilient solution? Or whether an interdependent system addressing the nature, human involvement and economy alike can be the best possible solution for achieving resilience in a city like Bangkok?
From site observation, we found that more people can be engaged in a resilience plan involving direct, quick return policy. Adding value to interventions made at different scales is the main objective. In times of disaster, Bangkok’s people suffer economic loss as well as ecological and social. So, the conversion of that price they pay into the prize is the cornerstone of our proposal.
The Chao Phraya River flows through the city, and the city is facing the adverse effects of climate change in the form of natural calamities like floods. Also, Bangkok being only 1.5 meters above the sea level at places is in risk of being affected by the coastal flood. On top of that city’s impermeable hard surface areas are making it impossible to soak up run-off water which results in areas being submerged during a flash flood. As in any other metropolis, Bangkok’s resilience is being hindered by multidimensional problems. The proposal decides to break the situation in 3 scales to build up a new flexible development system.
Rather than solving the inter-scalar problems one by one, we propose to create an interdependent interface that is not only beneficial for one specific scale but the intervention for one scale also delivers return benefits to immediate lower scales. This procedure integrates different scales together and ultimately links the whole interface making it a single unified interdependent system.
Macroscale interventions are intended to lessen the impact on a city scale. In regional upper catchment areas indigenous “monkey cheek” retention points are established and maintained to hold water during a heavy flood in northern Thailand reducing the volume of water Chao Phraya carries to the city during the rainy season. The upstream water that results in a negative effect on city scale can be used for industrial use, agriculture, hydroelectric power production, and fisheries to add positive value. This way the user groups benefit from this intervention and will be eager to invest in this proposal and pressure on groundwater created mostly by industries lessens. These volumetric amounts of reduced floodwater lessen the chance of a flood in the city as return value and investments for intervention can focus on reviving the canals to mitigate flood.
The coastline is to be treated with mangrove forest and reef balls in alternation to their proposed seawall to protect Bangkok from tidal surge and filtering coastal and estuarine waters. Through this process, natural fishing can be enhanced in the area along with the desalination of the Chao Phraya River water at its mouth.
Through the process of reviving the canals and connecting the city sewage to suburban wetlands where the wastewater is naturally filtered. These unique wetlands receive the city’s sewage, organically treat it with the help of sunshine, oxygen, and microbial action and turn into a productive fish habitat – nothing short of ecological magic. At present the negatively addressed still water of canals-capillaries are caused by garbage disposal and by staging this process water system is re-established and in terms, canals are revived and turned into more positively valued space. Runoff water from the city’s hard surface flowing into canals works its way slowly through wetland soil and vegetation, and many of the impurities are trapped. This builds up unique micro-climate in suburb eco-system, connects the green-blue and helps in agriculture. These also help in flood mitigation as the wetlands serve as a natural spill basin, a giant sponge of sorts for the city’s runoff water during heavy rain and flood.
Bangkok is a saturated city with its densely populated central area, increasing traffic problems and lack of quality social space in neighborhood scale. Revived canals introduce transportation possibilities and reconnect the suburb to the city. With canals now more easily accessed multi-modal transportation points integrate waterways with BTS, MRT and road networks and creates a network for tourist sites and day to day movement. This proposal aims to promote water transportation which is faster, reviving previous historic waterways- free of cost for locals and reduce pressure on land traffic. Increased city-suburb connectivity will increase the potential land value of suburban areas and therefore de-concentration of the city.
The Chao Phraya
Bangkok has turned its back towards Chao Phraya leaving no setback space and taking up what was naturally supposed to be room for the river. This situation is addressed with riverfront policies and through phasing, by phase intervention, the riverbank is converted to a democratic public hub turning it as the front of the city. This phrasal intervention re-thinks land use and merges the existing flood wall to be a part of the riverfront rather than an obstacle.
Proposed BRT and MRT lines hold the selected site and accommodate two multi-modal transportation points to connect land and water transportation.
The three most popular tourist places in the selected site are integrated by a natural berm in the form of public space. Such natural democratic public space integrating the now much isolated tourist’s spots ensures the addition of social and ecological value.
Canals in Bangkok
Revived canal-capillaries work as intervention a line for the neighborhood. Canals re-establish easier access for water transportation and introduce flexible pier structures as well as community space. Also, Canals can be used for walkways, community farming spaces, and micro-scale hydroelectricity generator zones.
The housing development phase grows respecting the ground area and develops vertically through give and take process with government and other stakeholders. Open spaces are protected, reused and enhanced as these acts as detention basins. Community and individual level rainwater harvesting ensures the economic value addition of natural water. The first layer of existing temporary riverfront houses gets relocated through gradual phasing.
Gradually transforming hard surfaces, parking spaces, paves to a pervious surface and integrating the areas blue-green space and community space is increased ensuring social value in the neighborhood. New housing units grow vertically following policies to acknowledge flood and subsidence issues along with conserving their present housing culture.