Proposed culture avenue part of soft power push
The Ratchadamnoen Knowledge & Culture Avenue, expected to promote the creative economy and soft power, is scheduled for cabinet approval soon.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, the avenue, with a budget of 900 million baht, will be handled by the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD). The avenue is located on Rattanakosin Island, the old town of Bangkok ripe in Thai culture with many historical sites.
"This project should support the government's ongoing soft power development efforts to generate more income for the country," said Mr Supattanapong.
Athipat Bamroong, president of OKMD, said the avenue will be developed as a physical and virtual learning centre for all people to hone their skills.
"It is an urgent task for the government to prepare Thais to have the skills to cope with future threats, as human workers are expected to be replaced by artificial intelligence and automation," he said.
According to Mr Athipat, the avenue will be developed at the existing location of the Government Lottery Office on land owned by Crown Property Bureau. He said the Budget Bureau already agreed to provide funds for project development.
The project was approved by the Committee for the Conservation and Development of Rattanakosin Island and Old Cities, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.
The OKMD estimates at least 2 million people a year will visit the avenue to use its services and develop their skills. Construction is estimated to start 2024, with completion slated for 2027.
The project is expected to span 20,000 square metres and include a living library, a co-working space and interactive virtual space (metaverse), an e-sports area and a learning space for people with disabilities, a "future lab", a craft and lifestyle workshop, digital media centre and children's space.
Others areas include a zone for expression and a learning centre of Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park).
Mr Athipat said the project will enhance creative learning, which is regarded as a core of human capital development. Adults and youth are encouraged to develop their skills to help prepare them for new occupations, he said.