EU Launches New Urban Cooperation Programme In Thailand With “New Green Possibilities” Forum, Co-organised By We!park
In the context of the Bangkok Design Week 2021, the European Union has formed a partnership with we!park to organise the “New Green Possibilities” international online forum as an introduction of the EU-funded International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme in Thailand. The forum will bring together an array of urban stakeholders from Bangkok and other Asian and European cities, from city officials to urban designers and planners, landscape architects and property developers as well as business executives, who will share their visions on the green city and public space and showcase their innovative green projects.
“As cities are a source of both opportunities and challenges, urban development is a priority topic for the European Union,” said Michel Mouchiroud, Deputy Head of the FPI Regional Team in Asia Pacific at the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand. “According to the UN, around 60% of the world’s population lives in cities, generating more than 80% of the global GDP. At the same time, cities are consuming roughly 78% of the world's energy and producing more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the economic performance of cities and international cooperation can trigger innovative solutions. I am glad that the IURC programme will be implemented in Thailand for the next two and a half years. It will further strengthen EU-Thailand cooperation and help achieve our respective sustainability goals.”
To be organised from 19 to 30 July, the “New Green Possibilities” forum will consist of four talks. The Policy Talk will invite city officials and urban planners to share their respective city’s vision of green urban development and exchange ideas on policy and incentive mechanisms. The Platform Talk will highlight key “platforms”, or initiatives and networks, that promote green urban development through a multi-stakeholder participatory process and how they can be sustained and scaled up so that more green spaces can be developed in urban areas. The Design Talk will introduce innovative green development concepts and successful projects from different cities and further enhance a network of Thai and international urban designers. The Business Talk aims to further engage the Thai business sector, particularly large conglomerates, in green urban development, showcasing private projects that are contributing to more green space in Bangkok.
In total, speakers from ten cities will participate in the forum, namely Bangkok, Barcelona, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Penang, Rome, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore.
“Several urban problems can be alleviated by increasing green space in a city,” said Yossapon Boonsom, the founder of we!park, which is an initiative of Shma, a leading Bangkok-based landscape architecture and urban design company. “Green infrastructure, such as a park or a garden, even a small one, can to an extent contribute to solving urban issues including effects of climate change, air and noise pollution, urban food insecurity, lack of biodiversity and lack of recreational space. One important example is how the life quality of people in many cities around the world has been impacted by PM 2.5 in the past decade. These cities are now realising that more green urban space is one key solution to poor air quality.”
The “New Green Possibilities” forum will be hosted via Zoom and broadcast live on the Facebook page of City Cracker, a news portal on urban development also run by Shma. The event is open to the public via registration. For the forum’s full programme and registration, visit: https://bit.ly/NGPForum2021.
About the European Union
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom.
In Thailand, the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand has recently collaborated with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on the Canal Cleanup Day in 2020, which aimed at instilling the knowledge about waste management and circular economy in young Thai minds, and on the EU Urban Heritage video series, which highlight the history of European contribution to urban development and architecture of Bangkok.
Funded by the European Union, the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme aims to promote multi-city cooperation on sustainable urban development and to build partnerships between EU and non-EU cities. Participating local governments will be enabled to implement pilot projects engaging research, civil society and business partners.
The IURC contributes to the objectives of the UN New Urban Agenda, the Agenda 2030 (SDGs), the Urban Agenda for the EU and the European Commission’s priorities for a “Stronger Europe in the World” with the European Green Deal and the NextGenerationEU (post COVID-19 recovery plan) at the centre. The programme is implemented in the geographical area of Asia and Australasia in nine countries, namely Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.
Supported by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, we!park is a collective of urban design enthusiasts who see the merit of turning vacant land into green public spaces. This enthusiasm coincides with Thailand’s new Land and Building Tax Act, which taxes vacant land. The platform works in a participatory design approach to develop quality and sustainable green public spaces, particularly small areas like pocket parks, with the mission to increase access to green public spaces within 400 m or 5 minutes. This corresponds to the indicators of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration with regard to green public spaces. For Bangkok, we!park is contributing to the goals of the Green Bangkok 2030 initiative that aims at increasing the share of the population that can access green public spaces within 400 m from 13% to 50%, increasing green space per capita from 6.9 m2 to 10 m2, and increasing tree canopy cover from 17% to 30% by 2030.