Living in uncertainty, land and its changing process are significant indicators for helping us to better understand and defend urban ecosystems in times of climate crisis. Returning to our natural waterscape is not an option; it is the only way to survive.
Creating urban spaces that allow for the free flow and penetration of water, wind, and people is essential to the survival of many water-based cities. Kotchakorn Voraakhom is a landscape architect from Bangkok, one of the densest climate-vulnerable areas in the coming decade. Understanding the city’s historical resilience and adaptive ways of living with water is evident in the indigenous process that is crucial in waterscape urbanism needed for Bangkok’s future on the Chao Phraya delta.
Kotch invites the audience to join her in exploring landscape architecture-based solutions to working with the water-based city she calls home.
Kotchakorn Voraakhom, MLA ’06, is a landscape architect from Thailand who works on building productive green public space that tackles climate change in dense urban areas and climate-vulnerable communities.
Opened in 2017, Chulalongkorn Centenary Park is the first critical piece of green infrastructure in Bangkok to reduce urban flood risk. With on-site water management, the park can collect, treat, and hold up to one million gallons of water, alleviating overwhelmed public sewage during heavy rainfall. In 2019, Thammasat Urban Rooftop Farm, Asia’s largest, was opened. Landprocess repurposed wasted rooftop space to address food and water scarcity in preparation for future climate challenges. In 2020, Chao Phraya Sky Park was realized. Once an inaccessible and incomplete sky railway, the old ruins are now whole, becoming the first realized bridge park to cross a river in any world capital city.
Voraakhom got an award from United Nations as Winners of the UN Global Climate Action Awards, Women for Results. She is featured in 2019 TIME 100 Next, a list from TIME Magazine —that spotlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of the world, CNN design and New York Times. She is also on the list of 15 women fighting against climate change from TIME. She was named BBC100 Women, the Green 30 for 2020 by Bloomberg.
Voraakhom is a Chairwoman of the Climate Change Working Group of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA World), TED Fellows, Echoing Green Climate Fellow, Atlantic Fellow, and Futurity Fellow from BMW Foundation. She received her master’s in landscape architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
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