Experts: Improve land use
Bangkok is being urged to increase its land use in inner areas, while secondary cities such as Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen should come up with decent urban planning to reduce the adverse effects of rapid urbanisation and create a more liveable city, say experts.
Asst Prof Niramon Kulsrisombat, director of the Urban Design and Development Center, said Greater Bangkok's population would reach 20 million in the next 20 years, but space for urban growth was limited.
"Land use in Bangkok should be made more efficient, as there are many unused areas scattered citywide," she said.
The centre's research shows 18% of Bangkok totalling 180,000 rai remains underused.
These areas are owned by the private sector and individual landlords. The largest pieces owned by government agencies include a 500-rai plot in the Makkasan area owned by the State Railway of Thailand, 600 rai that formerly housed the Thai Tobacco Monopoly's headquarters near the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, 2,500 rai in Klong Toey district and plots totalling 600 rai under tollways.
"Many secondary cities have the same problems as Bangkok. Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen are now unregulated. There should be a good city planning to avoid the unlimited urban growth that Greater Bangkok now faces," she said.
Besides urban planning, public transport offering convenient travel and connected transit as well as ensuring liveability for everyone should top the agenda, said Khong Cho Oon, Shell International's chief political analyst.
He said urbanisation would have a huge effect on energy demand, efficiency and sustainability and directly affect people's quality of life.
"As cities grow, so does demand for water, food and energy resources," Mr Khong told a seminar yesterday entitled "Shell: New Lenses on Future Cities".
"Cities now consume 66% of the world's energy, and this could hit 80% in 30 years."