Special Talk:  “Urbanism as the Way of Thai Life” | 京都大学 東南アジア地域研究研究所


Special Talk:  “Urbanism as the Way of Thai Life”

Date & Time: 8 May 2023, 10:30-12:00
Location: Inamori seminar room (i-213)

Speaker: Associate Professor Dr Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Chulalongkorn’s University
Moderator: Associate Professor Dr Pavin Chachavalpongpun, CSEAS

The talk will focus on Thailand’s rapidly evolving urbanity, which has already surpassed the physical and administrative confines of cities. Driven by globalization, digitalization, and tourism, urban living is anticipated to become the predominant way of life for most Thai residents. The previous urban-rural dichotomy is being supplanted by the contrast between thriving metropolises and diminishing towns. Additionally, peri-urbanism will emerge as a unique urbanism form, as dispersed urban expansion generates hybrid landscapes that exhibit both urban and rural features, not only in physical space but also in economic, social, and political spheres. With the ubiquitous infiltration of digitalization, digital platforms’ infrastructure, economic processes, and institutional frameworks will continue to influence and shape virtually all sectors of the Thai economy and urban life. At the neighborhood level, convenience stores are rapidly becoming the central urban hubs, replacing temples and traditional markets as community centers. The presentation will conclude with reflections on potential future scenarios of Thai urbanism, including their implications for social enclaves, urban commons, and collectivism.

Bio of Speaker:
Apiwat Ratanawaraha is an Associate Professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning and serves as the Deputy Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. In 2021, he received Thailand’s National Outstanding Researcher of the Year (Philosophy) Award. Apiwat’s ongoing research investigates Thailand’s urban transitions, including the future of urban life, urban mobility, and citizen science. He has contributed to various committees of the Thai Parliament, the Thailand Consumers Council, and national research councils. He has published ten books and numerous journal articles on subjects relating to urban development and mobility. Previously, he was a visiting assistant professor at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute. He is presently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University and has been a full member of the Club of Rome since 2020.