Case Studies

”Chula Area” Development and community value enhancement.

In the past, the Suanluang-Samyan commercial district was widely known as Xiang Kong-Samyan or Xiang Kong. Xiang Kong was popular among those who desired cheap second hands goods, including auto parts of every make, model and size, as well as auto accessories and second-hand engines from foreign countries. This type of business required low investment as traders lived and operated within the area. Over time, this Suanluang-Samyan district, or Chulalongkorn university area, has continued to develop and expand its activities, capacities and value far beyond what it was. As a consequence, the traders were gradually forced out of the area by restrictions resulting from city development and growth. These limitations include traffic congestion that adversely impacts the transportation of goods, as it has become difficult to use roads or public spaces to temporarily place goods during the delivery process. Furthermore, the growth of urban areas and the expansion of a diverse population has made trading auto parts incompatible with new enterprises. It has become impossible for residents to connect as in the past.

The exodus of Xiang Kong traders flattened the vibrancy of the Suanluang-Samyan area, and it was only a matter of time before change became inevitable. Chulalongkorn’s Property Management Office proposed:Chulalongkorn University thinks this area should be properly restored and made alive again” Therefore, it has initiated the Urban Rehabilitation plan with incentives to boost development and promote community values. The area is known today as The Centenary Park. Covering 4.80-hectares, the park is considered a gift to the community and society. It has helped revitalise and greatly improve the environment as a public park in a high-end area. It has also promoted learning, developed the art of creative design as well as research based on climate change such as water management, an ecosystem that reduces the surface level temperature and tree planting to improve the city landscape.

Centenary Park has succeeded in revitalising an area that was abandoned due to the inability of the dwellers to keep up with change. It attracts people to spend more time outdoors, doing exercise and socialise. The park attracts also visitors. Consequently, the areas surrounding the park have been developed for commercial and residential purposes. These include four development projects: the I’m Park community mall; the Dragon Town; integrated semi-commercial residential areas; dormitories for students and the staff of Block 33 as well as the Samyan Mitrtown.

These are restoration projects making use of the old areas. The areas have been developed to keep up with today’s needs and help prevent the area around Chulalongkorn University becoming dilapidated.”

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