Bangkok to get 4 smart districts under new plan

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Four districts will pilot Bangkok’s transformation into a smart city, under a plan unveiled by the National Charter of Thailand today.

The plan, which covers Rattanakosin Island, Yaowarat (Chinatown), Asoke (from Asoke intersection to Rama IX Road) and Tao Poon, was presented to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) today by the National Charter of Thailand, which is funded by Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI).

It calls for 580 square metres of Yaowarat to be developed into a web of transport and shops integrated through CCTV and free public Wi-Fi. The district will be made pedestrian-friendly by extending the pavement and reducing traffic, with upgrades for the bus system, lighting, shopfronts and drainage. The aim is to boost the number of shoppers and tourists visiting Chinatown.

Negotiations for Yaowarat’s smart district development are underway and the project could get started this year, said Thapana Bunyapravitra, director of the National Charter of Thailand.

“The development budget will be around Bt30 million and the National Charter will design it for free,” said Thapana.

However, the first smart district eyed for development is Rattanakosin Island, to be designed and operated by Silpakorn University. This project is awaiting approval from the Royal Household Office and the Treasury Department.

Meanwhile, the Asoke Smart District is set for development next year and will cover Asoke intersection and its large shopping centres, Srinakharinwirot University, Makkasan BTS station and its future large shopping centre, and Rama IX intersection with Central Rama IX mall.

Plans for the Tao Poon-Bang Po smart district centre on the new national railway hub, Bang Sue Grand Station, which will be used by almost 3 million people per day. Smart infrastructure will link the station and its 200,000 square metres of retail space to the new Parliament area and Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon.