PMCU welcomes participants to the CERTIFIED INNOVATION MANAGER: CIM workshop.


12 Nov 20-12 Nov 20



Thank you for the article and illustrations from: Urban Creature

Read the original article at When Chulalongkorn takes on the role of a ‘city builder’

Many of you may have probably played the popular city-building games like SimCity or Cities: Skylines, games that allow players to experiment with leadership and manage their own city, starting from city planning, deploying public utilities and public transport to cover the entire city, including having to allocate a budget to spend in various fields, as well as, being able to set laws and policies by themselves.

I used to think that building a city was just only a game until we had the opportunity to talk to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wisanu Subsompon, Vice President for Property and Physical Management of the Property Management Office, Chulalongkorn University, about the idea of ​​developing the Samyan area into a smart city prototype, we began to realize what building a ‘real city’ was really about.

| PMCU and the position of Mayor of Chulalongkorn City

The Property Management Office of Chulalongkorn University (PMCU) is one of the departments responsible for administering and managing the commercial area of ​​Siam Square and Suanluang-Samyan, covering an area of 385 rai (approx. 616,000 sq. meters) belonging to Chulalongkorn University. If compared to the City: Skyline game, it would be the mayor.

PMCU places emphasis on creative space management so that it may become a space that connects opportunities for all lives through the concept of ‘Co-Creating Shared Values’ and develop values ​​in 3 areas simultaneously: Learning Style, creating a learning space for everyone, Living Style, allocating a variety of living spaces, and Life Style, building a good city requires recreational areas.

Deputy Wisanu also added that “in the past, when talking about the property management office, outsiders tend to think that they are only responsible for collecting rent and debts. Therefore, 4 years ago we started discussing again with people within the organization to find a common vision because in reality, PMCU’s highest priority does not in the form of money, but is about making the most efficient use of the available space.”

| Half the battle is already won with good city planning

To build a city, whether in a game or in the real world, ‘good city planning’ is a very important step because bad planning is not conducive to the future as it may result in several problems, such as traffic congestion or flooding, etc.

Chulalongkorn University currently owns an area of ​​approximately 1,153 rai (approx. 1.8 million square meters), divided into 3 types according to usage, for educational purposes 637 rai (approx. 1.0 million square meters), for commercial purposes 385 rai (approx. 616,000 square meters), and government agency leases 131 rai (approx. 209,600 square meters). The commercial area that PMCU is in charge of, is currently being developed to become the Chula Smart City project.

The area is divided into areas according to its development potential. It is divided into 5 zones based on 7 intelligent system concepts: Smart Mobility, Smart Energy, Smart Living, Smart Environment, Smart People, Smart Economy, and Smart Governance.

| A highly efficient public transportation system

For this step, the game would require the setup of an efficient city public transportation system. If the system is efficient, clean, safe, and arrives on time, the city dwellers will not use their personal cars which is the main cause of traffic congestions and pollution.

While the concept of creating a Chula smart city, leaders like PMCU have developed a diverse mass transit system that is not only convenient but also environmentally friendly, which can be used extensively by students, university staff, and local residents. There are a total of 6 options to choose from, ranging from;

CU POP BUS: an all-day free electric bus (EV Bus) service
Bike Sharing: a bicycle rental system for riding within the Chulalongkorn University campus
E-Scooter Sharing:  electric scooters
Car Sharing: a car rental service where it can also be driven to other provinces as well, made possible through the ‘CU TOYOTA Ha:mo’ and ‘HAUP CAR Sharing’ applications.
Tuk Tuk Sharing: an electric three-wheeled vehicle that can be used via the ‘MuvMi’ app. It can be summoned and indicated to wherever you want to go. The service fee starts at 10 baht.

And recently, where PR have just started, Car Pool: a car-sharing service where commuters can travel together by applying through the ‘Liluna’ app.

| Basic utilities must also be established

Basic utilities are considered a public service necessity that must be provided to ensure the people’s life convenience, such as electricity and water supply.

“Smart energy is considered a very good thing for the community. Who would believe that Chulalongkorn can generate electricity from clean energy of up to 34% of the peak energy demand from our cooperation with MEA and the private sector. Solar power generation systems are installed on buildings and parking lots within the Suanluang-Samyan area, and then the university gradually buys the energy back for its use.”

Chula, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, is also gradually burying power lines underground and is expected to be completed within 2021. For future projects, Chulalongkorn University is developing a cooling water system to replace air conditioners that will be used in new buildings that are about to be built.

| The people must be furnished with a good environment

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the ratio of green space per population should be established at 9 square meters per person, of which Chula has about 272,000 square meters of green space, or 6 square meters of green space/person. In addition, more than 1,000 big trees are being preserved within the university’s campus, including other trees to provide shade for pedestrians. There is also a wastewater management system where water can be reused.

In addition to green spaces, Chulalongkorn University also creates an ‘intelligent environment’ with technology that can monitor various environmental conditions, to solve problems that cause pollution, and maintain the ecological balance of the city. A fast and efficient waste management system is also in place to encourage communities to pay attention and focus on waste management in their daily lives.

“Another goal of Chulalongkorn University is to manage food waste to reach 80% by the end of next year. This issue is not serious among the different buildings or head offices, but the problem lies with Chula where it does not have enough garbage pickup points in the horizontal area around Samyan-Suanluang area. Each point are too far apart and too distant from the shops, which discourages walking the distance to throw away their garbage. This is where the challenges lie in which we have to tackle and solve.”

| Create a creative space

When ‘Lido’ had to close down, many people were shocked. It was the closing of a legendary old cinema that has served people for more than 50 years before PMCU granted it to ‘LOVEiS Entertainment’ or the LOVEiS record label belonging to Khun “Jeep” Thepard Kawinanan, whom many people are familiar with.

“Today we see that there is very little space for the expression of the new generation. When we get Lido back, we wanted to make the area better than before, thus creating Lido to become a gathering place for art and culture, innovation, creativity, and the lifestyle of the new generation. Finally, it became the LIDO CONNECT.”

There are also many other creative areas, such as the ‘FAAMAI Digital Arts Hub’, which is a large digital art dome that will become the first digital arts education, learning, and experimentation center in Thailand and Asia. Or, there is also the ‘Street Art in the City’ (Chula Art Town) project in the ​​Samyan-Siam Square area, where Chula has opened up to allow more than 50 artists to create their works.

| Promote new startups

When the city is developed, another indispensable aspect to consider if you want the city to move forward, is to build a stable economy.

“Chulalongkorn University is a living laboratory that allows startups to use our space to experiment, such as the ‘MuvMi’ that used to be a tuk-tuk that used regular petrol. When they were invited to run within the Chulalongkorn University campus, we gave them an issue to consider, i.e. they had to change to a vehicle that uses only 100% electric power. Now, it has proven to be a highly popular service.”

| Chulalongkorn, the city of the future 

PMCU will also have plans to develop Siam Square into ‘The New Siam Square’, a trendy shopping street, as well as, a project to build ‘Siamscape’, into becoming a multi-purpose building that consists of a learning space, modern office building, and commercial area. There is also the ‘Block 28’ project, a community mall for new startups which is to be open for service soon.

Whether it is building a city in a game or an actual real-life city, if the leaders can manage the city well, people will be content and have a better quality of life. But if a city is built without paying any attention to the people, it will prompt them to come out and make demands, protest, or in the worst case, flee to another city instead.


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