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Floods, Cities & Forests.

February 20, 2012: For this year’s ASA (Association of Siamese Architects) Exposition,  Architectkidd will be part of a group of design practices that will exhibit conceptual and critical designs on the issue of water, floods and cities.  Architectkidd’s focus will be on the importance of forests and flood management in face of increasing urbanization in Thailand.

Forests are a natural mechanism for controlling and regulating the flow of water as it passes through the hydrological cycle.  Unfortunately, Thailand is known for having one of the largest rates of deforestation in the world.  In the past 50 years, what was once a largely forested region has been decimated, mainly for logging and agricultural purposes.  More recently however, industrialization and urban development are the main sources of forest removal, and even protected areas are now under threat.

The Thai Government has recognized the importance of increasing forest land. Regulations have been put into place, such as the target of preserving existing natural forests and growing new forests to a total of 40% of the entire land area for Thailand. Current estimates of forests range from 25% for the entire country, and as low as 14% for Nakhon Ratchasima.

Actual implementation has not been as clear and it is questionable whether this target can ever be achieved. It seems even more implausible if we consider that Thailand is rapidly urbanizing, a process that consumes more and more land.  For example, the physical size of Bangkok Region has grown 16 times in the past 50 years and continues to expand at a rate of 4 percent each year.

Is urban and regional development compatible with forest regeneration?  The answer is NO – at least, not as it is currently practiced. The acts of building and infrastructure – from forcefully removing earth and trees, casting rigid structures barricading natural water flows, and laying impervious surfaces – have directly negative impacts on the surrounding nature and landscape.

Architectkidd asks the question – is it possible to transform construction from being a destructive force into something beneficial to the eco-system?  Based on this, we will present a new kind of urbanism, a vision that can accept the realities of land development, but to incorporate it with forest replanting and biodiversity preservation. For us, this is our vision of sustainable development. We call this approach “Forest Urbanism”.

This year the Architect Fair will be held from 24th to 29th April. Stay tuned for more news on this project soon!

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