My beloved country, Thailand is in the news a lot these days for the wrong reason. Half of the country is under the water. To look at it in the most positive way possible, it is a good time to develop and redesign the country by using the land use plan or the guideline produced by the RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects), Designing for Flood Risk.
The guideline takes a design-led approach to addressing flood risk. It is aimed at practicing and student architects, urban designers and landscape architects, and is equally relevant to clients, planners and other urban professions.
The guideline can be found on the link above. Alternative designs for flood protection have been analysed and practiced around the world, however levee is and will still be one of the most important and widely adapted engineering works in dealing with flooding events. There is an interesting diagram that produced by Donald Watson and Michele Adams in Design for Flooding book which has been designed and adopted in some areas in Japan quite successfully.
The diagram demonstrates how levee alone might not be strong enough to prevent from the high pressure generated by waves during large flooding, and could cracks, be eroded overtime. To deal with this, one concept is to arrange the spatial arrangement of the town and consider the more appropriate Land Use Planning the works with the lie of land.
The new Land Use design should demonstrate a sensible zoning for the city by locating the critical facilities, such as emergency hospitals, should ideally be located in areas where they will not flood and can operate during a flood event. The vulnerability of occupants to flooding. Aged care and disabled facilities should generally be located in areas where they can be readily evacuated to dry land. The vulnerability of buildings and contents. Homes and their contents are generally more vulnerable to flooding than industrial and commercial buildings and therefore should be located in less vulnerable areas. (see below).
On the individual building design, One possible way is to elevate an existing building, or build a new one with an elevated first floor. The Floating House in Lake Huron, Ontario Canada by MOS LCC Architects is one example.
Thailand has never put a serious consideration into Land Use Planning, even less in the rural area outside the main city, judging from the overwhelming traffic in Bangkok itself, and the number of department stores that located next to each other in the city.
Perhaps, this is a good time to redo, rebuild and redesign this beautiful country that has so much potential.