Problem Solving in Bangkok

In Bangkok, at Sanaam Luang, the large, open ground near the Royal Palace, about 300 people sleep rough every night. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) isn’t too happy about this. You might have thought that they’d be investigating how the problem of homelessness in Bangkok can best be resolved. They’re not.

In the district of Paak Khlong Talaat the traffic congestion is terrible. You might have thought that BMA might be investigating ways to relieve the choked streets. They’re not.

Now, Paak Khlong Talaat houses Bangkok’s largest flower market, so the BMA’s “solution” to both these problems is to turn Sanaam Luang into a flower market. With all the land covered by flower stalls the homeless will have to find somewhere else to sleep, and there’ll be less traffic in Paak Khlong Talaat.

There are a few problems with this apparent stroke of genius:

  • Sanaam Luang is used for ceremonies and other official functions several times a year, so would need to be completely cleared for these
  • The traffic around Sanaam Luang is already heavily congested. A flourishing flower market could only make it worse
  • How will the merchants at the existing market cope with the extra competition?
  • What will happen to the homeless?

It seems that the heady floral aroma has already affected someone’s senses.

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