Imagine stepping into an oasis of tranquility amidst the vibrant hustle and bustle of Bangkok. This is not just any oasis, but ‘Suan Wat Hua Lamphong Rukkhaniwet’, a community park nestled in the heart of the bustling Bang Rak district. It’s a gem in the urban landscape, part of the groundbreaking Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s 15-Minute Pocket Park project. As students meander through its pathways, it’s a vivid reminder of the city’s efforts to blend nature with urban life.
Kantika Kongglom, at 49, finds her solace and routine in another hidden paradise, Suan Suk Jai, situated cozily in Soi Seri Thai 73. Thrice a week, after her day’s work, she jogs within its welcoming embrace, making use of the exercise equipment peppered throughout. It’s her getaway, her slice of green in the grey, conveniently a stone’s throw from her home. “Otherwise,” she chuckles, “I’d be lost to the internet, adrift in the digital sea.”
Not far behind in his love for these green sanctuaries is Chaleao LongpolKlang, 56, whose allegiance lies with the same park. An office worker by day, he morphs into a fitness enthusiast by dusk, visiting four to five times weekly. “It’s the green, the breath of fresh air so near home, that draws me,” he confesses. His wish, however, echoes the silent plea of many—a cry for more such parks. “Bangkok’s crowded,” he sighs, “and the air, it yearns to be cleaner.”
Suk Jai Park is but one star in the galaxy of over 100 community green spaces birthed from the visionary 15 Minute Pocket Park campaign, spearheaded by none other than Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt. A leap taken in 2022 to counter environmental qualms with a tapestry of green, this initiative aims at threading public spaces with nature’s weave.
Imagine, if you will, existing parks and sports fields breathing anew with vibrant gardens, previously deserted spaces reborn as neighbourhood retreats—all within an 800-metre orb, a mere 15-minute walk from one’s doorstep. “Our canvas? Over 100 pocket parks now, but we dream bigger—500 within four years,” shares Pornphrom Vikitsreth, the Chief Sustainability Officer at BMA, painting his vision with a broad stroke.
Accessibility remains king in this green revolution. Each district, entrusted as the local gardener, seeks and nurtures these green nooks. From BMA-owned jewels to those under state enterprises and private sectors, the spectrum is broad, and the care, bespoke.
Enter Wepark, the crusader joining hands with BMA, weaving the dream of small, sustainable green public realms into reality. They’re the maestros behind the design, supervision, and maintenance of these vibrant patches. Their symphony? A collaboration that beats at the heart of the campaign.
The crescendo of this green movement, however, resonates with the private sector’s melody. Take Thai PBS, for example, heralding the call by transforming their outdoor spaces into a welcoming hub for the public to revel in fitness and freedom. Theirs is among the prized 15-Minute Pocket Parks, a testament to what collaborative spirit can achieve.
Imagine, then, a Bangkok reimagined, where every turn brings you face to face with a green retreat. Where the air is purer and the streets, a little less crowded. This isn’t a far-fetched dream but a budding reality, growing one pocket park at a time. As the cityscape dons its green shroud, it’s a serene promise of a healthier, happier urban dwelling. And amidst it all, every step, jog, or leisurely stroll you take is a stride towards a greener tomorrow.