Project name: Physical Activity Workshop with Kasetsart University
Funder/Sponsor: Landscape Architecture, Kasetsart University
Project type: Design and Education
In 2017, we collaborated with Kasetsart University in Bangkok, as part of their course “Contemporary Issues in Landscape Architecture”.
The module looked at incorporating Physical Activity in the design of the public space of a community. We widened the scope of the exercise by including the principles of Universal Design into the project, to ensure that the space was useable by all community members, irrespective of age or ability.
We chose a community in Bangkok as the grounds for this workshop: the Mahadthai community in Lat Phrao soi 101 has undergone the Baan Mankong programme, which focused on the construction of the houses, but has left the two open community areas in the community unutilised, currently used as a parking or storage space.
Physical Activity is not to be confused with exercise. In fact, exercise is one form of physical activity; other examples are dancing, walking, gardening, building, biking, farming, going up a flight of stairs, or simply swinging one’s legs. According to the World Health Organisation, physical inactivity has been linked to numerous diseases, and is the 4th leading contributing factor to global deaths. Incorporating physical activity is therefore essential, when creating sustainable, healthy communities.
For two days in October 2017, 18 students from Kasetsart University joined Openspace at the Mahadthai community. The aim of the workshop was to design the use of two sites in the community to benefit people of all ages and abilities.
Using participation, one site was dedicated to the creation of a covered market, surrounded by flowers and the beatification of the existing Buddhist shrine, while the second site was turned into a playground for children, an exercise area, a garden with edible herbs, a multi-use space for social interaction and an amenable stage for events.
Dozens of community members and children joined the two days of the workshop, and we worked to give them a voice and materialise their wishes into actionable designs. The students created design to scale, with numerous details.
With our guidance, the students from Kasetsart University turned all design plans and technical drawings into a booklet for the community. The Mahadthai community is currently looking for funding to implement the project, while we have assisted them by completing the cost estimation for the designs.