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close this bookEmerging World Cities in Pacific Asia (UNU, 1996, 528 pages)
close this folderPart 2. Changing Asia-Pacific world cities
close this folderThe changing urban system in a fast-growing city and economy: The case of Bangkok and Thailand
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentGrowth and transformation of the Thai economy
View the documentUrban population, settlement patterns, and employment distribution
View the documentThe international dimension of the changing urban system
View the documentThe internal dimensions of the changing urban system
View the documentThe urbanization of bangkok: its prominence, problems, and prospects
View the documentConclusions: towards a new national urban development policy for Thailand
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences


1. In this chapter, the word Bangkok usually refers to the Bangkok Metropolitan Area (BMA) or to Bangkok Proper, the area administered by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration or Bangkok City Government. There are five provinces surrounding Bangkok, namely, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, and Nonthaburi. These areas are referred to as the Five Provinces and the Vicinity. Together with the BMA, they have become the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR), or Greater Bangkok. As may be seen later in the chapter, there is now an attempt to enlarge the sphere of benefits and influence of Bangkok even further by including other neighbouring provinces, namely Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Sara Buri, Chonburi, and Rayong to form the Extended Bangkok Metropolitan Region (EBMR). Sometimes, when the exact meaning is not critical, the word Bangkok is used to mean the BMR.

2. A sanitary district administration (SDA) is another form of local government that lies between a municipality and a provincial administrative organization (PAO). It lacks the element of local self-government in that its important administrators are not popularly elected by the local people. An SDA is administered by civil servants who are already administering the district office. For example, the head of SDA is the District Officer, and other SDA officials are drawn from other district-level government offices, with only four SDA board members popularly elected from the district.

3. In 1980, the next largest three cities were Chiang Mai, Haadyai, and Khon Kaen. In 1988, they were Nakorn Ratchasima, Haadyai, and Chiang Mail Cities around Bangkok Proper were not counted as they had been integrated into the system of Greater Bangkok City.

4. This section draws heavily upon the data and analyses of Teera (1990) and TDRI (1991).

5. A study by Atchana and Teerana (1989) of the income redistributive effect of the manufacturing exports of Thailand, using the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, has shown quite conclusively that the increase in the manufacturing exports of Thailand in the past few years has worsened income distribution in the country.

6. For a summary of the assessment of infrastructure investments in these "core" city centres during the Sixth Plan, see Medhi (1990).

7. The research team at TDRI has attempted to measure the aggregate development of all the provincial cities in Thailand, including the BMA, for the purpose of ranking these provincial cities according to an established urban hierarchy. Twenty indicators were set up as measures of urban development, such as per capita GPP, per capita oil and electricity consumption, number of doctors per 1,000 population, and so on, and a system of weights was given to each of these indicators. The sum of these 20 weighted indices shows the potential for further economic and urban development of each city, or how "ready' it is for further growth. The score of Bangkok Metropolis was 177.03, which is much higher than the second-ranked Chonburi (outside the BMR area), which had a score of 48.16, and third-ranked Phuket with a score of 47.28 (see TDRI, Draft Final Report Area 3:Regional Economic Performance and Outcomes, National Urban Development Policy Framework Project, 1991).

8. Banasopit and Phanu (1990:18). Biochemical oxygen demand measures the amount of solid and non-solid waste dumped into the body of water in terms of its effect on the availability of dissolved oxygen. A body of water is anaerobic, that is, without oxygen and unable to support aquatic life, when the quantity of waste is so great that all of the dissolved oxygen in the water is consumed by the biochemical processes associated with breaking down the waste.

9. Water pollution is also caused by leachates from three huge open garbage dump sites in Bangkok. As the city administration is able to treat only about 1,280 tons per day of solid waste out of 4,100 tons collected, about 3,000 tons per day has to be managed by open dumping.

10. Lack of access to piped water and the unreliability and insufficiency of the piped water supply were not the only reasons for industry's heavy reliance on ground water. The lower cost of ground water vis-à-vis piped water is also a major reason. A survey by the Metropolitan Water Works Authority in 1988 discovered that, of 2,126 operating wells inspected, 1,871 wells (88 per cent) were within the MWA's distribution system. Of these, 1,345 wells (72 per cent) belonged to those who were already MWA's customers or served by MWA's piped water service.

11. These strategies were derived in part from an influential study called the Seventh Plan Urban and Regional Transport (SPURT) study conducted by Halcrow Fox and Associates, Pak-Poy and Kneebone Pty, Ltd., and Asian Engineering Consultants Corp., Ltd. for NESDB.

12. Examples of these cities are: Level 1, every city in BMR, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen; Level 2, Rayong, Sara Buri, Nakorn Sawan; Level 3, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Udon Thani; Level 4, Lopburi, Nong Khai, Nakorn Sri Thammarat; Level 5, Nakorn Nayok, Narathiwat, Nakorn Phanom; Level 6, Chainat, Chumporn, Sukhothai.

13. The following recommended measures are mainly attributable to the work of Dr. Kraiyudht Dhiratayakinant. See Kraiyndht (1990) and Medhi et al. (1991b).