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Reem Abi Samra , Barbara Gudeljevic

United States of America

The new city is designed with a main focus on agriculture and joinery and is defined by a central vertical element, the river. The river currently acts as not only a source of life but also as a divisive tool between two districts, which we aim to connect. The plan transforms the current identity of rural Chiang Mai from a stagnant, inefficient, and disconnected town to a vibrant, productive and inclusive community. A new hybrid city is created by merging what is commonly defined as “rural” or “urban”. It makes use of the social, economic and cultural aspects of large developments while still valuing agriculture, farming and community. Agricultural production is the primary industry of this area, and housing, education, healthcare and other public services are integrated within this system.

The plan creates layers of agricultural activity aligned with the river for several types of crops, moving outwards towards layers of distribution, housing, and manufacturing in that respective order. The masterplan is driven by several goals, including growth in the local economy, decrease in pollution, increase in the stability of farmers’ lifestyles, and enhancement of the infrastructure by introducing new transportation methods such as an elevated train system, bike lanes and pedestrian exclusive walkways.

Through an analysis of the existing typologies of the site, we developed neighborhood organizational patterns that include smaller services and community centers. Now, the community hub is the market space that is located under the stations, creating different dynamics of occupancy and movement. The elevated trains and walkways thus enhance connectivity to the larger public services and create a stronger bond between disparate locations across the city.

Our goal is now to redefine the known definitions of vernacular by integrating a utopian aspect to them; the two terms “vernacular” and “utopian” are not in contradiction to one another, and are in fact connected. By designing our “city” of Chiang Mai, it is imperative to analyze agriculture, Buddhism and people as vernac


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