NESDC partners to set up sustainable future cities

NESDC partners to set up sustainable future cities

Lampang province is famous for its ceramic goods and iconic 'chicken bowl' tableware. Tawatchai Kemgumnerd
Lampang province is famous for its ceramic goods and iconic 'chicken bowl' tableware. Tawatchai Kemgumnerd

The government's planning unit, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), is set to team up with local communities, civil society and the private sector to develop Lampang and Kanchanaburi municipalities as sustainable future cities (SFCs) between 2020 and 2021.

According to Anek Memongkol, the NESDC's deputy secretary-general, the agency has spent 9.5 million baht to hire Chulalongkorn University to conduct a feasibility study and SFC development plan for Lampang and Kanchanaburi municipalities.

He said the two municipalities are ready for SFC development, with Lampang located in the Northern Economic Corridor where the government aims to develop the creative Lanna culture cluster (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Lampang).

The Kanchanaburi municipality is part of the Central-Western Economic Corridor meant for the development of agro- and high-tech industries and heritage and green tourism, Mr Anek said.

The 12th national economic and social development plan (2017-21) calls for SFC development in major cities, particularly within the special economic zones.

Mr Anek said the NESDC will use working experience from a previous partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in SFC development.

The agency in partnership with Jica started the Project for Promoting Sustainability in Future Cities of Thailand in August 2015 to promote sustainable urban development in cities across the nation.

Key goals for sustainable urban development comprise self-sustaining economic competitiveness/promotion of centrality of the city; sustainable environmental strategy; attractiveness and identity of cities/pride of the local community; depopulation, ageing, and low-fertility society/making it a livable city for all; strengthened city initiatives for development; greater public participation in development/core sense of ownership; and linkage between national government policy and programmes and actual local needs.

Together with the NESDB and Jica, the project team launched the SFC concept and proposed the initiative as a mechanism guided by the national government and driven by the local government to realise its goals.

The scheme selected six model cities: Krabi, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, Phanat Nikhom (Chon Buri), Nan and Khon Kaen.

In 2019, the NESDC and Jica added Chumphon and Ranong to the SFC development plan because the two cities are located in the Southern Economic Corridor.

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