UBC student Sawngjai Dear Manityakul - photo by Martin Dee
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 6 | Jun. 5, 2008
Green Ideas -- from Canada to Thailand
The Willard Park Eco Community project is exactly the kind of holistic thinking that drew her to UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), says Sawngjai Dear Manityakul.
“I want to help create clean, liveable cities that use less energy and generate less waste,” says Manityakul, who aims to apply what she learns in Canada to her native city of Bangkok.
Manityakul holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of Guelph where she focused on natural resources management. She says the transition for her at SCARP has been to apply the concepts of environmental sustainability to a built community.
Manityakul describes the design process for the Willard Park project as intense and exhilarating. Over a six-week period, the students analyzed the site and created digital and physical models representing aerial and cross-section views.
Manityakul along with other classmates were learning for the first time how to convey complex ideas through images, producing plans and detailed drawings both by hand and with computer software.
“We had to balance key land uses,” says Manityakul, “including food production, public spaces, some commercial activity and a diversity of housing options that would foster a vital and active seniors community.”
For Manityakul, the experience has shown her what’s possible when she returns to Thailand after she completes her MSc at SCARP.
“The participatory planning process is sorely lacking in Thailand,” she says. “I would love to engage citizens in shaping their communities and introducing green spaces which Bangkok really needs.”