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Building a Better Bangkok

How we can make Bangkok a greener, nicer and healthier city. Articles By, Jungyoon Lee, Luca DiVergilio, Max Curlin and Prairwa Kalayanamit.

Table&of&Contents& & & & ! Chapter!1*!Air!Pollution!by#Luca#D.# Chapter!2*!Green!Building!and!Architecture!by#Luca#D.#!!!!!!!! ! Chapter!3*!Transportation!by#Jungyoon#L./Baby#J# Chapter!4*!Energy!by#Jungyoon#L./Baby#J# # Chapter!5*!Education!by#Prairwa#K.# Chapter!6*!Housing!Population!by#Prairwa#K.# # Chapter!7*!Water!Sanitation!by#Max#C.# Chapter!8*!Social!Stratification!and!Poverty!by#Max#C.#

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Why$is$the$Air$in$Cities$so$Dirty?$ By)Luca)D.) According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 million people die each year from air pollution. The reason why the air is so dirty in cities is sprawl. Sprawl is when cities do not plan their construction and make effective use of their space, so they build out not up. Thus, they become unorganized and overly large. “A house does not


have to be big, just smart,� is one of IKEA’s slogans. The same applies to cities. Sprawl is the main cause of air pollution because if a city is not smart, it also becomes ecologically unfriendly. Urban sprawl makes people want or need to drive air-polluting cars because if a city is very spread out, it is hard to get to things because



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everything is so far away. Taking a car is obviously the easiest solution. Also, when a city is unorganized you often have to drive extra distances to get to specific places because the government cannot build roads in places where there are houses and buildings, so you have to take a detour around all of those places. Now, if the city was well planned then you could have a straight route to the important places and the houses would be neatly on the side of the road.

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Another way sprawl indirectly causes air pollution is that it causes traffic congestion. Traffic jams are horrible for the earth because the cars just stand there, belching out those toxic fumes making the air all hot and dirty. Sprawl causes traffic congestion because as the city grows, more people have to commute from the suburbs or residential areas to the industrial areas. And if those are spread far apart, then you have thousands of people driving from one end of the city to the other every morning and evening. Obviously 2! !

there is going to be some congestion there! Another way sprawl causes traffic congestion is that, as the population and amount of cars increases, it does not allow the roads to expand because there are so many houses and businesses. A great example of this is Sukhumvit road. Sukhumvit is one of the busiest roads in Bangkok and is gridlocked almost day and night. The reason why there is (almost) always a traffic jam on Sukumvit is that it is one of the most important roads, yet it has only 4 lanes! The

government can’t expand the road though, because buildings and houses are packed so densly to the side of the road that you would have to destroy them to add a lane. And the government also cannot place new roads to make travelling easier because they would also have to destroy many houses to do that. Houses are also part of the issue of air pollution. Our houses these days are definitely not ecologically friendly. Our houses use 25 percent of the world's energy and account for 19 percent of the worlds

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greenhouse gas emissions (that's 4,400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2), according to a recent McKinsey report, "Curbing Global Energy Demand: The Energy Productivity Opportunity."

Solutions What we have to do make our air cleaner is stop sprawl and traffic congestion. We need to organize the construction growth of the city. We can do this by building high rises, school and shopping malls all around the city so residents do not have to commute such long distance to support their needs.


The BTS (Skytrain) and other means of public transport are a GREAT solution. A BTS can carry 100-200 people from point A to B by only using one motor. This way it causes WAY less gas emissions than 100200 cars, each polluting separately. Also, on a BTS, there is no traffic jams either so which makes it more ecologically friendly. It is a cheap, fast, and eco-friendly way to get from point A to point B!

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But there aren't enough of them. Cities need to expand their public transport systems so almost all residents of the cities suburbs, exurbs and industrial areas have easy access to them. Another innovative and inexpensive idea regarding public transport is the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system from Curitiba, Brazil. It is just like a BTS or train but with busses, so it is a lot cheaper to manufacture and maintain. It works like this, two road lanes are fenced off and dedicated for busses only. At every important place, there is a stop and which is like a BTS stop with all its facilities. The busses drive from stop to stop, so the result is the same as a BTS or train but is a lot simpler and cheaper. Cities should also get people to use public transport by raising tolls on cars and roads. This will discourage residents from driving cars and make them want to use public transport instead. The extra money made from tolls can be 4! !

used to expand the public transport system. Nature and plants are also part of the solution because they can clean the air of already emitted fumes. So the carbon dioxide already released into the air can still be cleaned out; it is not too late. More parks need to be built and more trees need to be put along roads or buildings. If all of these ideas are put into action, then cities will really be greener and part of the solution for air pollution, not the polluted places as we see them now. There is still hope for our air and our cities we just need to take action. )

Green Building and Architecture By Luca D.


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How cities and people are wasting tons of energy just by making small mistakes, and how cities can become a lot greener just by designing things well.

The Problem: Continued on page 2

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(Continued) Our cities buildings are avoidably unsustainable. We have badly built, and thus unsustainable houses. We waste precious recourses by using appliances that waste recourses unnecessarily.

For example light bulbs. We waste energy using old-style light bulbs, when we could just replace them with fluorescent light bulbs that are 4 to 6 times more efficient than normal light bulbs. That means we could be using 4-6 times less energy if we replaced our old light bulbs with fluorescent ones.

Insulation is a big part of the issue and the solution. Heating and air conditioning are one of the biggest uses of electricity and fossil fuels, but we have to heat our houses a lot more, or crank up the air con to high, because so much of the hot/cool air escapes. Now if we were to insulate our houses, we would need a lot less electricity and fossil fuels.


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Did You Know?

20% of our heating is lost JUST through windows!

The Solution: There are many easy and inexpensive ways that our cities could be a lot more ecologically friendly. Among one of the easiest is green building and architecture. The reason why it is so easy is that all cities expand and build new houses/buildings. Old houses/buildings have to be renovated. Green building ensures that the new houses, complexes, and buildings are built using ecologically friendly materials, and appliances. Also, sooner or later all houses/buildings have to be renovated, right? Green building just that when you renovate buildings or houses, you make sure to replace old and unsustainable housing appliances with sustainable ones. So what can cities do to stop unnecessarily polluting trough our houses and buildings. Well, first of all, we have to convince people to insulate and weatherize all of their houses. In some places, the government gives money incentives to homeowners who want to weatherize their houses. This is great because sometimes weatherization is not cheap. So the incentive will get people to want to have their house weatherized. There are also many easy and DIY ways to weatherize houses. Air proofing windows and sockets for example. All you need is some silicone and a bit of knowledge. Simply hiring good architects or making beneficial use of land and buildings is a great solution. Rooftop parks, for example. There is space in the building for offices, and grass, plants, and space for people to enjoy a sunny day at the park. The grass roofs also provide great insulation making the building a lot more energy efficient. In Atlanta, for example, the city turned an old raised highway that had been put out of use into a lane for bikers with trees and plants on either side. There are now a lot more bikers, thus reducing the amount of polluting cars on roads. So, simply designing houses and public buildings well or weatherizing houses can tremendously reduce the amount of pollution and make the city a nicer, greener, and closer to nature place with plenty of parks and activities. 3

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Building a Better Bangkok By: Jungyoon This shows the traffic in Bangkok. As you can see, there are more cars than buses. What could be the solution for this horrible traffic that happens everyday?

Credit: Some rights reserved by 27147

Transportation Problems People in Bangkok use too many

take less space. The population

causes even more traffic to

cars to move around the city.

in the Bangkok region has been

happen. Bangkok should

Even if it’s a distance that they

growing rapidly since 2000.

come up with a good solution

can bike or ride the BTS, they

That means there are more

of transportation to solve this

still ride their cars because it is

families, and more cars to use.

traffic problems and how to

faster and cooler than outside.

Therefore we can say that the

take up less space.

This causes the horrible traffic in

overpopulation in Bangkok can

Bangkok happening everyday.

cause traffic, too. Another

It’s not just their own cars; there

problem is that there isn’t

are taxis, too. Motorcycles don’t

enough space to make more

take up much space as the cars

roads. Also, Bangkok’s streets

do, and the buses transport

are really narrow especially

more passengers than cars, and

when you go into the soi, which

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Credits: Some rights reserved by slimmer_jimmer

Transportation Solutions


around Bangkok everyday, and also reduce air

Amsterdam wasn’t a biking country from the


beginning. Even though people had paved the canals for people to ride bikes, the number of bicyclers didn’t increase that much, but decreased 75 percent to 25 percent from 1955 to 1970. People voted, acted and organized for Amsterdam to be a country riding bicycles more than using cars for transportation. If citizens in Bangkok work hard on making Bangkok a bike – friendly country, then Bangkok might be the second Amsterdam. This solution can reduce traffic happening

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pollution from all the cars.

In Curitiba, Brazil, they made something called BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), and the buses have their own lane. Buses can move around quicker than the cars can because there isn’t any traffic at all in the bus lane. Also, the bus is long, so it can carry and transport a lot of passengers at a time. There is also a place where you can buy the tickets before the bus comes to save time as the bus goes. Bangkok doesn’t have developed bus – related

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Issue | Date

transportation. The buses in Bangkok are small

If Bangkok adds on one more lane to not just

and short, no A.C. (only some have air-

expressways, but on Sukhumvit too, then it will be

conditioning), and most of all, there aren’t a lot of

great. If anyone has lived in Bangkok before, they

buses. If Bangkok makes more bus stations and

will know how bad the traffic is in the morning and

longer buses with air-conditioning (the reason

the evening. If they could pay to go on the HOV

people ride cars is usually it is much cooler inside

lane, people who work will be willing to pay to go

the car than in the bus), then people might ride

home early and have a rest. The late afterschool bus

more buses than just riding their own cars and

in ISB has more than 2 people, so students can go

taking up space on the road. They could make the

home really early by using the high-occupancy-

A.C. bus cheaper so that people who can’t ride it

vehicle lanes. How comfortable is that? Only if

a lot of times can ride on the bus. If the bus can

Bangkok has enough space to build just one more

transport, for example, twenty-four people at a

lane, this could actually be possible.

time, think how much it will compare to cars. If they fill up all 4 seats, it will still be six cars. One bus versus 6 cars, the cars win, they take up more space.

Atlanta Atlanta had bad traffic, too, just like Bangkok. The reason why is because they didn’t have trains, and the bus and the subway didn’t go far enough. Therefore people in Atlanta kept using their own cars to travel further. The government in Atlanta wanted less traffic, so they built something called HOV (high-occupancy-vehicle) lanes. The HOV lanes are lanes that buses and cars with more than one passenger, motorcycles, and high-mileage vehicles. Some citizens have complained that

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even the HOV lanes would be too overfilled with cars, motorcycles and buses. Therefore, the government of Atlanta decided that they would have to pay to go on the HOV lanes. However, cars transporting more than 2 people will still be free to ride on the HOV lanes.

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Energy Problem Since the Bangkok’s population is growing quickly as it was mentioned above, much more

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collect energy, not use natural gas. Also, there are people who have no access to electricity. If we help them who do not have enough energy to cook or warm themselves, then will cost a lot of money.

energy is needed for people in Bangkok. People

Bigger problem is that there are numerous

use more A.C., lights, and gasoline for cars to

people without electricity because they

live more comfortably during their lives. The

come to the main city to get jobs from the

big problem here is that they use too much

rural areas of Thailand. Usually it is hard to

natural gas, which eventually can run out.

get a job where you can earn a lot of money,

Bangkok should use natural sources such as the

so they still live poorly after coming to

sun, wind, waste, water, and more to create and



windmill is to create energy. As the wind blows, the


create energy. Wind power is one of the fastest

gigantic windmill turns. During this process, you growing renewable energy sources.


This may be the most known renewable source – the

In Ontario, Canada, they use hydroelectricity,

solar power. They are free and it has endless supply.

wind power, and solar energy, which are using

There are many countries where they use solar

natural sources. This is much better than using

powers to charge energy, and use them when there

natural gases such as coal and methane mixed

is a power out. In Nichada, they are using some solar

with other gases. Natural gas will eventually run

panels, too.

out, but natural sources such as wind, sun, water, and waste won’t run out.

If Bangkok uses renewable resources, then we will have endless supply of energy, not for charging a

Hydroelectricity is using water to produce

whole building, but starting with small things. For

energy. You get energy from the water flowing

example, charging everyday devices with solar

and falling. There is a lot of rain in Bangkok


during the hot summer, so this would be a good idea to use. Wind power uses wind to get energy. It works similar to windmills, except the purpose of this

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Around the World

If the price really drops down to $5, then people

As it was mentioned before, the solar cell’s price

electricity or light can use that daily. The reason

has fallen dramatically. Solar cells can be used to

is because you can charge it by solar power.

power LEDs (Light-Emitting Diode), which uses

The good thing about solar power in Thailand is

far less energy than just normal light bulbs. The

that there is no winter, and usually in winter the

price of LEDs has decreased, too.

sun is covered. Since it is summer everyday in

However, there are billions of people who still do not have access to electricity. Therefore, people

living in Bangkok who could not afford for

Thailand, the sun shows up every single day, which is really neat.

have decided to make the $10 of solar cells into $5 in order to make it affordable for all people. Sam Goldman, the chief executive of D.light has developed solar-panel systems that can run for 12 hours of light after charging by solar power for a day.

Credits: Some rights reserved by Alan

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Some rights reserved by Jasmic


Education Problems

1. There are some kids who can’t afford to go to school. If they don’t go to school, they will not learn much. This will definitely lead to not being able to have a good job in the future which, obviously will lead to not having enough money to feed themselves, and their family. 2. Some kids have to travel a long way to get to school. This means they have to wake up very early to get to school on time. This might lead to kids not having enough sleep. 3. Some people can’t afford for school supplies. They just have a hard time paying for the school that they don’t have enough money to pay for the supplies.


1. Have some free or very cheap public schools. These schools should be located in areas or cities that the majority of people who live there are poor. 2. Have some schools in neighborhoods so that the kids can rent or buy a house in the neighborhood and not have to wake up that early. Or we could build neighborhoods near the school so the kids don’t have to travel that far. 3. Provide free school supplies or don’t require any supplies and just have them in the classrooms.


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Some rights reserved by WarzauWynn

Problems Solutions

4. Some kids don’t have cars and have to waste money by going to school on a taxi or a skytrain.

4. Have school buses that kids can ride on for free. Make the school buses go to different houses that are not that early because so, kids can get enough sleep.

India In India, Sugata Mitra created an organization called “innovative and bold efforts towards advancing learning for children.” Mr. Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in the wall and installed computers connected to the internet and did a demonstration to the kids of how to use computers to learn new things and find information. Some rights reserved by Hub☺



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Housing Problems 1. There are too many houses and the cause of that is there isn’t enough room for agriculture. 2. Some people can’t afford houses and they have to live on the street. 3. Some cities have a lot of big things such as some countries have several airports even though they only need 1. There will be no space for a few houses. Some rights reserved by Peter Guthrie

Solutions 1. Have more condos because, it takes up less space and many families can live in the condo while only 1 family can live in a house. Or we can have houses where the people that live in it are required to farm and so, we will have more agriculture. 2. Have houses where you can stay for free for a certain amount of time or have more cheap houses for rent or buy.

Some rights reserved by Andrea Costa Photography

3. Don’t have too much things and try to balance it.


Building a Better Bangkok Jungyoon Luca Prairwa  

Reinventing Bangkok

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