Bangkok is Sinking. Here's How a New Park Can Protect the City From Flooding

Sourced from World Economic Forum

This year has seen extreme weather conditions wreak havoc across the globe, from record-breaking temperatures to heavy rain causing major floods.

The International Organization for Migration says that climate change will force an increasing number of people to move as extreme weather events become more intense, sea levels continue to rise and environmental degradation worsens.

Adapting to climate change is a huge challenge for major cities, especially those in coastal areas. A low-lying location, urbanization and extreme weather events linked to climate change make Bangkok particularly vulnerable to flooding. And to make matters worse, the city is sinking by one to two centimetres a year.

To help the city combat the effects of climate change, Thai landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom has created a public park in Bangkok designed to withstand frequent flooding.

A park that acts like a sponge

Bangkok used to be known as the “Venice of the East” because of its waterways. Today though, many of the city’s canals have been paved over to make way for urban sprawl.

The problem is that those waterways acted as conduits for rainwater, which now has nowhere to go. As a result, Bangkok experiences frequent flooding.

“When I was young, there were rice fields and canals in the city,” says Voraakhom. “I could hear boats from my house in central Bangkok. Now, all those fields and canals have been stopped with concrete and covered by highrises. All of the buildings and concrete become obstacles for water to drain, so the city floods.”

Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park, or CU Centenary Park, is part of a new wave of design that aims to increase urban resilience and to protect vulnerable communities from the devastating effects of climate change.

During rainy season the park collects and stores water that is then used for irrigation in the dry season.

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