LANDSCAPE HYDRO-ECOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF BANGKOK’S WATERSCAPE URBANISM
Bangkok presents a degraded, but still vibrant indigenous form of water-based urbanisation as a model of resilience and adaptability developed in concert with the predictable cycles of monsoon rains and wet rice cultivation. The hydrological matrix created by the landscape hydroecological infrastructure provides tangible evidence of the region’s larger hydrological cycles as well as the details of every-day life in the historically urbanized delta. The city’s modern rapid urbanization brought land-based infrastructure and other modern constructions that resulted in a rapid increase in built up areas at the expense of cultivated land and the hydrological matrix. Many canals were filled in for development or replaced by the construction of new roads. Many others became stagnant and non-navigable, were reduced to drainage ditches or open sewers. These liquid networks, once considered a lifeline, became much neglected and ignored, yet they continue to exist in many areas. However, the major mechanism that keeps the delta habitable and prolific has been damaged. Landscape porosity is a critical element of landscape structure and function of the deltaic landscape and is perceived as “landscape hydro-ecological infrastructure” and “ecological services” have been severely diminished. Combining new ways of looking at the landscape, new ecosystem science and the case study of the Bangkok, landscape hydro-ecological infrastructure provides an argument and a redefined concept of waterscape urbanism central to addressing the environmental and social challenges of Bangkok’s urban ecosystem today.
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