Freedom exists in Bangkok; but just for some kind of citizens. For those who do not have financial security, the same kind of freedom does not exist. Access to the city is facilitated for different reasons and one of the most important is the mobility, and Bangkok’s public transportation is not able to offer dignity to his entire population, on average a commuter spends 44 days (1056 hours) in a year traveling to and from work (O’ Neil, 2008).

Pedestrians are the most elemental component of the city, and in Bangkok seems like the relevance of this component is completely underestimated, which is easy to read when you notice the lack of coverture of the Metro Lines in comparison with the size of the city, or when you realized that the public buses are 40 years old. 

External image

Dignifying the pedestrian is not a priority for the authorities of this city, public investments are more concerned with developing infrastructures which promote the image of a world class city to attract international finance. The consequence of this processes is an increasing number of vehicles and the reduction of pavements sizes, therefore the pedestrian have a restricted area to walk and the idea of freedom is invisible from the perspective of the public space. 

External image

Housing security should not necessarily be determined through ownership. People must be given freedom to have access to shelter without conditions, because this is part of the construction of the contemporary idea of the right to the city. Actually, freedom in the wide sense of the word, within a urban development context, should ensure to people the possibility to build on their own terms, including aspects like design, materiality and location. 

External image

Graham Perring
Francisco Vergara