My Heritage 4. Dec 19

Protect our city through enhancing images of the city.


To name an urban city where modern buildings can coexist harmoniously with historical areas and lush green zones, “Ching Mai” would be one of the names that first come to mind.

Obviously there have been arguments citing uncontrolled development that has overshadowed the charm of Chiang Mai as a historical land. However, when compared with other cities in Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai still shines and is well recognized for its historical significance seen in the physical presence of old city moats, ancient city walls, religious structures with unique artistic identities and styles and Doi Suthep Mountain overlooking Chiang Mai in the west.

Such aspects combined with conventional wisdom, art and culture brighten each and every piece of the city’s physical montage and enhance the values of the overall landscape that embrace many heritage locations – the landscape that allows for envisioning what the city could look like centuries ago.

Assistant Professor Komsan Thiraparpwong from the Faculty of Architecture, Chiang Mai University and member of the Working Group for Chiang Mai World Heritage Initiative Project (CMWHIP) explained that visualization the city image drew the elements which formed the landscape in a way we wanted the city to be. City image visualization includes landmarks, public spaces, public centers namely gardens and squares, community centers, roads, pavements and boundaries that designate city proximities such as moats and walls.

He further elaborated that the key to conservation and development of a city is to let the residents visualize the city themselves. Assistant Professor Komsan started field works in May 2016 dividing the works into two categories which are; 1) Survey for City Image Visualization, and 2) Execute the City Image.

Surveys for city image visualization are conducted with people living in the area to find out about the ideal city in their mind, how they feel and what they want. The making of the city image is to create a future scenario based on the data collected from the surveys in regards to culture, city planning, ways of live, architectural and cultural values, and buildings which constitute the city’s physical presence. Such information together with the perception and needs of stakeholders will establish a foundation for perception that will lead to drafting the city image.

“The survey is conducted with the people in general but they actually are the owner of the city. We need to know what kind of infrastructure and utilities they envision and what social factors effect their lives. All information will be assessed and used for designing guideline as well as landscape management in the future” explained Komsan.

Komsan concluded that even though Chiang Mai is a city with a clear historical city landscape. But some of the city image has unfortunately diminished with time and by the negligence of the area owner.

Find out what part of the city image has disappeared from the next chapter.