Gentrification in Thai cities

Following the Flying geese paradigm, Thailand is a part of the second biggest economic development in Asia called Asian tigers. During the 70’s / 80’s, Thailand saw its economy and, more globally, its attraction increasing quickly. Due to this, a demographic increase appeared which we call gentrification.

What is gentrification?

Gentrification is the process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in politics and in urban planning.

Where can we notice gentrification in Thailand?

Gentrification is pretty easy to notice, especially in Bangkok, where the attraction is the highest. The number of condominiums is heavily increasing every year in developed and developing districts such as Pathum Wan, Watthana, Sukhumvit or Lumpini. The same goes for high-class businesses (luxury clothing brand, restaurants, Sky bar, huge malls etc.).

Is gentrification a positive process?

From an economic point of view, this process has a very good effect with for example the creation of huge luxurious condominiums. Also, the rent will increase which will attract richer people who will then be themselves able to buy pricier food and having globally higher general expenses. In consequence, the district will look richer, fancier and become more expensive through time. The downside is that from a social point of view, local people, or the ones living around those places, are indirectly impacted by inflation and thus struggle to make ends meet. Finally, they would leave to a cheaper area since they wouldn’t be able to afford living there anymore.

To summarize, the process of gentrification in Thailand started to accelerate after the economic boom around the 80’s. From an economic and touristic point of view it is totally positive since it makes Thai cities look richer and getting more attractive on a worldwide scale. However, it is a threat to the local communities who suffer from this inflation and are forced to leave to other areas. This increases the gap between rich people and poor people.


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