The future of Thailand industrial states: A Smart and Sustainable Community Approach Using Synergy Principles

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Abstract Summary
The Navanakorn Industrial Estate (NIE) is the oldest industrial estate in Thailand, which is situated in Pathumthani Province located in the urban fringe of Bangkok city. Built in 1971, previous establishment of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Act in 1979. Since the NIE was originally designed to be an industrial estate that offered a high level of work-life convenience, it provides its inhabitants with a variety of residential and commercial programmes that are mixed with industrial activities. Despite offering this type of lifestyle, the processes of adaptation and development in the estate have had a substantial impact on the local natural environment, whereby environmental issues have spread into the air and water, and urban generated noise pollution directly affects those residing inside the NIE. To address these problems, Thailand has launched the Thailand 4.0 model that aims to guide the future development of industrial states towards sustainable industry by making use of the latest advancements in cyber-physical systems (e.g. robotics and Internet of Things). By integrating a smart city approach, the NIE aims to promote the future development of its communities. However, since the Pathumthani Province is a relatively underdeveloped and dispersed area, the smart city approach may face some social and economic barriers that stem from problems of land price increases and gentrification. In this study, the aim was to analyse the existing social, economic and infrastructural conditions of NIE. In doing so, a conceptual solution could then be proposed that would adopt a smart city approach and could be combined with the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). A case study design project was structured, whereby ethnographic field work, a total of 250 surveys responses, and unstructured interviews were collected at the beginning of the year with the residents of NIE with the aim of unveiling residents' perceptions of their living urban space in NIE. Analysis of the data showed that there was an urgent need to address several issues. Environmental degradation, lack of green infrastructure, water management, and better housing facilities were core aspects that had been identified. Following an iterative principle of data collection consulting primary and secondary sources, framework analysis was implemented to examine the possibility of creating cooperation across the private, public, education sectors, and citizens. The outcome of this study was the introduction of a ‘synergetic industrial state strategy’ that aims to use the green infrastructure as the core connection principle between all sectors and residents. Furthermore, a shared constructed wetland inside NIE was explored as a strategy to recover the natural environment. While this strategy remains as a conceptual exercise, its innovative approach prioritising users through affordable housing schemes, green and blue infrastructure combined with the smart approach, could provide important theoretical insights for the future development of industrial states in Thailand.
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1: Understanding Urban Metabolism
Thammasat university
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