View of Bangkok skyline from the Chao Phraya river.


Municipal Profile
Bangkok Metropolitan Region has a population of 10 million, and a total area of 1,570 square kilometres. The Gross National Income per capita is US$2,190 (2005).

and the private sector. Bangkok’s long-term plan is based on bio-physical and socio-economic conditions and trends, and must be able to address emerging issues, the current environmental status and contemporary urban policies.

Urban Context
Key economic areas Urban management approach Environment entry point Administration, services, industries and tourism Localising Agenda 21

Environmental profiling, urban management, policy actions

Why this Case Study is Important
The Bangkok case study shows how a long-term strategic plan supports the decision-making process for policy-makers, local government officials

The city of Bangkok is struggling to deal with the effects of population growth, and the impact on the local environment. Heavy traffic has resulted in congestion and serious air pollution. In addition, odour and smoke from incomplete combustion at crematoria—a problem unique to Bangkok—has a damaging effect on air quality, and respiratory disease is rising among the urban population. River and water supply quality is also deteriorating. Canal water pollution is very severe because untreated wastewater is often discharged into the public sewers. Most households rely on septic tanks, so groundwater contamina-

Case Studies


© Curt Carnemark/World Bank

The Ten Points of Bangkok Agenda 21
The strategy for a sustainable Bangkok: a safe city with a high quality of life Lead urban economy toward sustainability; Use urban planning to improve quality of life; Reorganise traffic and transport to raise the quality of air in neighbourhoods; Invest in green urban areas; Make Bangkok a clean city; Focus on good governance in the BMA to meet the challenges of the future; Secure easy access to information in the BMA; Use human resources as a strategic tool in social and economic development; Involve citizens in the development of a better Bangkok; Environment, culture, and tourism are top priorities. The Agenda also aims to combat poverty, the growth of slums, drugs and HIV-AIDS.

© Mark Edwards/Still Pictures

Bangkok children rummaging through a refuse heap.

Case Study
The Metropolitan Master Catalogue is the driving force for the physical development of Bangkok. Containing overall development targets for the metropolis, and an overview of urban functions and infrastructure, the Metropolitan Master Catalogue links physical development to the city budget and enables the administration to guide urban development. It comprises 50 District Catalogues—online databases updated by each district on a semi-annual basis. The District Catalogues help the district offices both to influence and to implement the strategic plans for the metropolis. Each Catalogue includes a plan based on the strategic agenda, community regulations concerning land use, building and the environment, and a databank based on a GIS system. The databank provides basic analytical and planning tools. In addition, a Sustainable Urban Management Handbook is distributed to each unit within the

tion is high. Various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry, transport, and households, compete for limited freshwater. Other consequences of rapid urbanisation include noise pollution, large volumes of garbage, land subsidence and growth of slums.

Urban Management Approach
Bangkok Agenda 21, was initiated in 1998 as the blueprint for development for the next 20 years aims to improve Bangkok’s urban environment and quality of life. It has a ten-point development agenda, developed through public consultation and review, which also sets out the responsibilities of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Liveable Cities


Bangkok Municipal Administration. A Bangkok Comprehensive Plan, updated every five years, is used for development planning and maintenance, and for resource allocation. The Bangkok Comprehensive Plan highlights targets and strategies on air pollution abatement. Efforts focus on the development of mass transit, establishing vehicle emission testing points to identify polluting vehicles, promoting non-motorised transportation like bicycles and the use of alternative fuels such as ethanol or natural gas. Over-extraction of groundwater in Bangkok has aggravated land subsidence. Impacts of this subsidence include changes in the elevation and slope of streams, damage to roads and storm drains, high tides reaching farther inland, floods and tides receding more slowly, soils becoming salty and unproductive and well pipes rising out of the ground. In response to this, policies and regulations concentrating on groundwater extraction have been put in place. Six large-scale wastewater treatment plants have been constructed to protect water quality, and policies on effluent standards have also been implemented. To deal with Bangkok’s waste, the BMA provides separate containers for food waste, recyclable waste and hazardous waste to collect the more than 9,472 tonnes of garbage generated each day. Households are encouraged to sort their waste. Collection and disposal efficiency have been a priority for the BMA. Bangkok Agenda 21 has also paved the way for greater public participation. The BMA organised the Communities Love Canals Project, where representatives from all communities took part in identifying solutions to garbage dumping and wastewater discharge in the canals. The BMA also set up the BMA Environmental Protection Volunteers to help raise environmental awareness, and to develop environmental

projects, particularly on air quality management. These volunteers come from schools and communities. In addition, an intensive communications campaign has been carried out in schools and communities, using meetings, printed materials and other media. Factories and other businesses were provided with workshops on cleaner production. The BMA also developed a Green Areas Master Plan which aims to increase green public areas, and through which residents are encouraged to plant trees in their front yards.

© D. Royer/Still Pictures

River boat market women plying their goods in Bangkok.

Case Studies


Environment Entry Point
As Local Agenda 21 initiatives are focused on economic, social and environmental issues, Bangkok Agenda 21 included environmental considerations from the start.

In addition, the skills of the BMA staff in GIS tools and methodologies has been enhanced. The BMA remains steadfast to its commitment to improve the quality of life in Bangkok.

Replicability Results
Bangkok Agenda 21 has set the city’s course for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development. The development agenda has provided basic principles for the numerous activities implemented by the BMA. A detailed assessment of the status of the environment and the creation on the Metropolitan Master Catalogue ensured that physical development takes environmental and social concerns into account. Policies and regulation on water quality, waste management, air quality and energy security were put in place to better manage resources. Infrastructure was also improved, for example, storm drains and dikes along roads have been constructed or upgraded to prevent flooding. The Metropolitan Master Catalogue has proved its use as an analytical and planning tool. The Bangkok experience demonstrates that localising Agenda 21 can work even in very large cities. Environmental considerations were built into the urban management structure from the start, and communications was used to involve the public and stimulate community involvement. The case study proves again that public involvement is an important component in highlighting environmental concerns and ensuring sustainable development.

Key Contacts
Mr. Kriengpol Padhanarath Director, International Affairs Division City of Bangkok, City Hall, 173 Dinso Road Bangkok, 10200, Thailand Tel.: +66-20/224-8175, Fax: +66-2-/224-4686 Email:

Liveable Cities


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful