Friday, November 25, 2011

Bangkok becomes first megacity to mull move to higher ground

Susan Kraemer in CleanTechnica: After another year marked by months of epic flooding in the capital city of 12 million, this month AFP reports that lawmakers in Thailand have submitted a parliamentary motion to begin discussions of building a second capital or moving Bangkok to higher ground.

Sataporn Maneerat, a Puea Thai party MP, told AFP Thailand should think about moving the capital or looking to another city for future developments and investments. “Another 19 Puea Thai MPs and I have signed and submitted a motion to parliament to seek approval to set up a committee, to consider whether the capital should be moved or if Thailand should have a second capital,” he said.

“Bangkok is sinking every year. The capital will face more and more problems from natural disasters and the environment,” he said, adding that the current capital was “over its peak”. Maneerat told AFP that the options for relocating the kingdom’s capital would be in the eastern and northeastern provinces.

Like New Orleans, Bangkok is a low-lying coastal city built on swampy ground. Unlike New Orleans, Bangkok is a coastal megacity with a population of 12 million with an annual average GDP growth rate around 7%, and that has doubled its housing stock in the last decade, according to the World Bank.

The rapidly developing capital is gradually overwhelming the marshy ground, unable to support the weight of the burgeoning megacity above, and is sinking. Epic floods this year approached Bangkok in July and have now had the capital largely underwater for months....

NASA image of Bangkok

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