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Life

Central Bangkok redevelops around new green heart

Major public open space projects aim to transform urban face of Thai capital

The retention pond at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park acts as a leisure amenity. (Courtesy of Chulalongkorn University/Landprocess)

BANGKOK -- Canny taxi drivers had always known a way to avoid the tailback that afflicts Bangkok's worst junction, at Soi Asoke on the city's famous Sukhumvit Road, by turning left into the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center car park. The turn brought them into an immense estate of green lawns, flame trees and stately old buildings before emerging through a small gateway into the top end of Sukhumvit.

This hidden land was occupied until 2018 by the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, now located about 80 km north of Bangkok at Ayutthaya. Far from being given over to commercial development, however, this prime land has been turned into a public park that is so novel it is helping to redefine this part of the city center.

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