The British Embassy hosted a UK-Thailand event in Chiang Mai to demonstrate the future benefits of smart infrastructure for Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and international companies.
By improving the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) capacity to effectively manage their current operations and services, and prepare efficient long-term city planning, Thailand’s capital city will become a more prosperous, healthy and equitable place to live.
This was the headline message in the first event of the “UK-Thailand Smart City Roadshow 2020” series, which took place in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand, on the 3rd of December. Hosted by the British Embassy, the discussion focused on Smart City initiatives in Bangkok, which are being delivered in partnership with the Global Future Cities Programme, funded by the UK Government.
Alongside the benefits of this work for the people of Bangkok, the interventions also aim to create opportunities and sustainable economic relationships between Thailand and international businesses, leading to a mutually beneficial two-way increase in future city trade.
From data science to equitable regeneration
Fifty delegates from Government agencies, the private sector and education and research organisations heard presentations and joined discussions on the three interventions. Firstly, the Integrated Smart Data Hub for BMA aims to provide a centralised and trusted data repository that turns the problem of disjointed data into a vehicle for sustainable development. Attendees were especially interested in the piloting of a data science platform that acts like a ‘city brain’ to encourage inter-departmental cooperation, higher quality analysis (and therefore improved decision making), and enhanced integrated planning.
Next, the Decision Support System (DSS) for Flood Management aims to prevent and lessen the impact of flooding by helping the BMA to improve their ability to prepare and respond to extreme weather events, justify decisions and identify mitigation solutions. The DSS team explained the benefits of developing flood hazard models, improving rainfall forecast, urban flood retention options, and the ‘Moata’ digital-twin platform, which will help the BMA to ‘see the unseen’ and anticipate where flooding will happen, so that specific flood warnings can be broadcast in advance.
Finally, the Bangkok Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan aims to increase the use of public transport and decrease traffic congestion to boost the local economy in Khlong Bang Luang and Bang Wa, an area of historic and touristic importance. Here, the presentation team focused on the advantages of equitable TOD to elevate and prioritise investments and policies that close the gap between residents of different socio-economic groups.
The session was introduced by His Excellency Brian Davidson, British Ambassador to Thailand, who introduced the UK Prosperity Fund as a resource of the UK Government to support global sustainable development in developing middle-income countries – with the Global Future Cities Programme a leading part of this support and commitment.
“The challenges of urbanisation are the challenges of the future,” he explained. “Environmentally friendly transportation, the low carbon transition and flood prevention are common across the world – and the UK has expertise in coping with those challenges. We are willing to share the lessons learnt and our technical knowledge with other countries.”
He highlighted the similarities between Bangkok and London. “Both cities sit close to the sea and on a major river, with ongoing challenges with flooding, pollution and congestion. UK consultants are able to bring their experiences from UK cities to comparable interventions in Bangkok.”
The Governor of Bangkok Pol.Gen. Aswin Kwanmuang shared his vision for urban development in Bangkok City, including the improvement of canal landscapes such as Prem Prachakorn Canal, Saen Saeb Canal, and Ong Ang Canal, which are all now in active development.
“Bangkok is also focused on connecting the network of wheel (private vehicles and public services), rail and boat transportation,” he added. “It is a great opportunity that Bangkok was selected to be one of the 19 cities that are collaborating with the UK Prosperity Fund. We greatly appreciate all the help and cooperation from the UK government and the British Embassy in Thailand for the initiation of such projects.”
The roadshow will move on to Chon Buri and Khon Kaen next year.
Click here to watch a video on this partnership between Bangkok and the United Kingdom.