The project is based on 3C: Cycling – Canal – Community.
Known as a bicycle route project for the canal metropolis, it is initiated from the collaboration between communities, city lovers, cycling fans, and canal settlers who want to see a sustainable urban development, creating a healthy community, economics and environment.
This project came out of the interest in community development as well as from some personal experiences of cycling along the Bangmod canal as it has been re-discovered for its great potential in promoting more sustainable and inclusive development.
Bangkok is a car dependent city, suffering from air and noise pollution as well as waste of resources. In addition, city dwellers quite often have inactive lifestyle and weak community culture.
Thus, the 3C Project has emerged from the daily struggle among Bangkok residents, which has a direct link to the city’s infrastructure. This is the amount of time people spend in the traffic jams daily that causes serious impact on both the physical and psychological state of local residents. Bangkok has been named the world’s 2nd most congested city in 2016 according to one of the leading GPS systems manufacturers.
In the same time, Bangkok has a long history of using rivers and canals for transportation. Although nowadays many of these are only used as drains, they can be revitalized as an alternative platform for cycling. This platform will provide an opportunity to connect different modes of transportation together, creating links between canals and main roads with cycling lanes as well as connecting canals to canals and canals to the mass transit system. Bicycle as a sustainable transportation mode, used on the canal path (which, in its turn can be connected to Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS, also known as Skytrain) and stations of Metropolitan Rapid Transit or MRT) could extend people’s choices for independent, clean, quiet, active and healthy lifestyle. Moreover, it could bring back beautiful water culture and support community by providing economic opportunities on canal sides.
At present, there are 2 250 000 cyclists in Thailand according to the estimations provided by the organizers of International Bangkok Bike 2015. This number is thought to be able to guarantee public support of the canal path. Bangkok itself has already had 48 bicycle routes that cover the distance of 230 km. However, these are not very popular so far as good bicycle lanes need to be connected to other modes of public transport and have to provide a basic level of safety. The latter remains an issue of serious concern in Thailand as from 2011 to 2013 more than 22 000 deaths related to road accidents per year were registered in the country. This is equal to an average of 60 deaths per day according to ThaiRoads Foundation and Thailand Accident Research Center, Asian Institute of Technology.
The core objective of the project is to expand communal relations, foster economic development and enhance the linkage between bike routes using the canal path. This commute route could become more than a pathway for cyclists as it can serve as a part of an organized network to form an alternative transportation route linking together the local educational institutions (KMUTT), governmental organizations and organizations from other sectors willing to get involved in the community issues. This way, the route along the canal has a potential to become a transportation platform, giving people more opportunities and choices for enhanced accessibility. By connecting cycling path to the Skytrain, people in the community would have another option to travel to schools or to workplaces without relying on cars.
Along with creating healthy environment by reducing air and noise pollution as well as giving visitors and locals more choices of travel modes, the project seeks to bring back the local way of living along the canal.
As the lifestyle of the Bangmod Canal community that is a self-sufficient agricultural and a fishery society is rather unique (its particular charm lies in the exchange culture between buyers and sellers, when sellers use baskets to pass along the food from the canal to shoppers and the latter pay by placing money in the baskets), establishment and popularization of the route along the canal will create additional opportunities for tourism. Street food can be found along the canal so that visitors are always able to taste some local produce. This way, the cycling route has a potential to facilitate enhancement of local businesses, stimulate local economies and support the community efforts in preserving local houses, farms and canals. Public art and yearly events are planned in addition to the usual community activities, making Bangmod more attractive for visitors and fostering further economic development as well as preserving the canal from abandonment.
With this concept in mind, the project is pushed forward as a model of a bicycle route along the Bangmod canal from Watphuttabucha to Wuttakat BTS station.
Involvement of community groups, education institutions and governmental organizations has helped to move the idea forward and empower people in planning their own future.
Public survey and participatory events were used to share the idea as well as show possible facility design.
Bicycle trips were arranged to engage newcomers and demonstrate potential of the extended choice of transportation modes.
Public activities and art events were organized to draw more attention to the waterway and showcase its potential for business development.
Local government organizations have actively helped to clean up the area and promised to allocate some central government funds to finance construction of 1 km of the cycling path (whereby overall of 6 km has to be constructed to connect the path to the nearest BTS station). The budget should be available as from October 2017.
Individuals and communities have already started new businesses, whilst biking activities have increased on the canal sides. The latter has become possible after the launch of the 3C project which helped to raise awareness among cyclist regarding the existence of the Bangmod community and unique experiences it can offer.
Local people seem to have renewed hopes for their community becoming a local attraction and a place for sightseeing.
Overall the 3C project is a change initiative for local development. The spectrum of improvements it can bring ranges from strengthening physical health and enhancing social linkages to promoting environmental preservation and triggering economic development for the people in the Bangmod community.
Moreover, 3C serves as an example of successful and effective application of the multidisciplinary approach in designing and implementing the project. This aspect could as well be a model for many development initiatives. Still, the culture of working together between community groups and government organizations needs to be built up further in Thailand.
3C Project on Facebook
3C Project Leaflet (Thai/English, JPG, 4.63mb)
Dr. Kanjanee Budthimedhee
Chair of Design and Planning Graduate Program
School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)
49 Soi Thian Thale 25, Bang Khun Thian Chai Thale Rd.,
Tha Kham, Bang Khun Thian, Bangkok Thailand 10150
T +66 (0)2470 7888
F +66 (0)24523792
M +66 (0)81 941 3974