Makkasan Park?

Bangkok could have its own version of New York’s Central Park if the SRT can be convinced to use part of its Makkasan land for the site. One group is trying to do just that.

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To Bangkok residents having a huge, green park in the Makkasan area probably sounds like a great idea, but how do you convince the land owner, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), to make it happen. You’ll see some very good examples of the language of persuasion in this article. Pay close attention to what was said at the meeting with the SRT governor.

persuasion – the act of persuading (convincing) somebody to do something or to believe something การชักชวน, การชักจูง

An aerial view of the old train junkyard in Makkasan from Google Earth. This vast area has the potential to be made into a public park.

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Green dream of Makkasan

Oraya Sutabutr

The name "Makkasan" evokes different images. A train and airport link station, a swamp, a junkyard for old trains, a wooded area in the heart of Bangkok that was apparently once dense enough to hide a cougar.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the 400 rai of land owned by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) could be turned into a leafy public park with well-planned commercial development?

Members of the Big Trees Group, including myself, have been following several attempts by the SRT to develop this vast, virtually abandoned area. Until a few months ago, what we had learned had not exactly been encouraging. Some sources said a politician's son would be put in charge. Others said the land would become yet another huge shopping complex, convention centre, hotel and office complex, without any green space.

Meanwhile, we have seen growing interest in Makkasan among Bangkok people, especially in the social media world since the "A Day Bike Fest 2012" event at Makkasan train station. If you went to the festival, you would have seen the vast verdant space surrounding the station. Huge trees are everywhere.

A Facebook page calling for Makkasan to be turned into a public park has cited examples of urban green spaces around the world such as New York's Central Park and London's Green Park. Questions are being raised online, such as how do we get the SRT to recognise the benefits of green spaces, not only for city residents' quality of life, but also for the commercial value of the Makkasan area?

One fine day, we had a chance to make our voice heard. A generous senior public figure arranged for Big Trees, along with a well-respected architect and notable academics, to meet SRT governor Prapas Chongsanguan.

During our discussion, we pointed out that the state railway could certainly proceed with its commercial development of Makkasan while maintaining up to half of the land as green open space. Given the size of the land area, the remaining part could be developed as commercial and retail space, whose value would be enhanced by the proximity of the green area which is already there naturally in the forms of large trees, swamps and a lake. We pointed out how residential and retail spaces around New York's Central Park are among the world's most expensive.

Another advantage for this property is its proximity to the rail system, and a sensible development could fully utilise the system and integrate it with other new transport systems.

Furthermore, the existing natural environment can serve as a water retention area. The lake in particular, if properly rehabilitated, can become a unique feature of this much anticipated new park at Makkasan .

Mr Prapas told us that he recognised the value of the green space at Makkasan and its importance to an urban environment such as Bangkok.

He also said he hopes to revise the existing master plan to incorporate more open green space and to keep at least one of the area's award-winning, near-century-old buildings as a monument to the state railway's remarkable history.

After the meeting, we left with a very positive impression of Mr Prapas, who comes across as someone who knows his job inside out and is ready to tackle new challenges.

If Makkasan can eventually become Bangkok's own world-class large green space, right in the middle of this bustling city, with abundant trees, a beautiful lake, jogging and cycling tracks, flanked by charming restaurants and boutiques, and residential and commercial spaces on the outer ring, Mr Prapas will deserve tremendous credit for making such a grand vision come true.

You can read the full story here:

Oraya Sutabutr is a member of Big Trees Group, a civic network campaigning for a greener Bangkok. The group can be contacted via or

aerial – (of a photograph) from a plane, helicopter or satellite ภาพถ่ายทางอากาศ
junkyard – a place where old cars, machines, etc. are collected, so that parts of them, or the metal they are made of, can be sold to be used again สถานที่เก็บของเก่า
vast – extremely large in area, size, amount, etc.  กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
potential – possibility ความเป็นไปได้
evoke – to bring a feeling, a memory or an image into your mind  ทำให้ระลึกความหลัง,  ทำให้ระลึกถึง
image – a photograph, painting, or other work of art that represents a person or thing, in this case a picture in the mind รูปภาพ
swamp – an area of land covered by water where trees and plants grow หนองน้ำ
dense – very thick แน่น,หนาแน่น,หนาทึบ
cougar – a large wild animal of the cat family, with yellowish-brown or greyish fur  เสือภูเขา
commercial – for business purposes เกี่ยวกับการค้า
virtually – almost เกือบจะ
abandoned – left someone and no longer used ที่ถูกละทิ้ง
encouraging – creating hope; positive; indicating something good is likely to happen ทําให้ใจมีกําลังขึ้น, ชูใจ
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
complex – a large building with various connected rooms or a related group of buildings
convention – a large formal meeting of people who do a particular job or have a similar interest, or a large meeting for a political party การประชุมใหญ่
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
social media – the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์
festival – an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity เทศกาล
verdant – green with grass or other rich plants  เขียวขจี
surrounding – all around a place  บริเวณรอบๆ
cite – to mention something as an example กล่าวถึง
urban – connected with towns and cities เขตเมือง
recognise – to accept that something is true or important ยอมรับ
benefit – an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help ผลประโยชน์, ข้อได้เปรียบ, ผลดี
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
generous – giving people more of your time or money than is usual or expected  มีน้ำใจ,  เอื้อเฟื้อ
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
respected – admired by many people for your qualities or achievements   ที่เคารพ
architect – someone whose job is to design buildings  สถาปนิก
notable – deserving to be noticed or to receive attention; important ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงโดดเด่น
academic – someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job นักวิชาการ
proceed – to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
maintain – to keep รักษา
retail – to sell directly to the public for their own use  ขายปลีก
enhance – to increase or further improve the good quality, value or status of someone/something เสริม ยกระดับ เพิ่มทวี
proximity – the state of being near in space or time ความใกล้ชิด
swamp – an area of land covered by water where trees and plants grow หนองน้ำ
advantage – a benefit; a good feature or quality that something has เป็นประโยชน์, เป็นคุณ, เป็นผลดี
property – land owned by someone ที่ดิน, อสังหาริมทรัพย์
sensible – reasonable and practical มีเหตุผล
utilise – to use something, especially for a practical purpose ทำให้เป็นประโยชน์
integrate – to combine things of different types in one effective system รวมเข้าด้วยกัน
environment – a place, including all the physical conditions that affect it สภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
retention – the act of keeping or storing something การเก็บ, การเก็บรักษา
rehabilitate – to return someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living ฟื้นฟูสุขภาพ
unique – very special, unusual or good ที่มีลักษณะพิเศษ  เป็นเอกลักษณ์
feature – something important, interesting or typical of a place or thing จุดเด่น, คุณสมบัติ
anticipated – creating a feeling of excitement about something enjoyable that is going to happen soon รอคอยอย่างคาดหวัง
revise – to change, improve, or make additions to something แก้ไข
master plan – a detailed plan that will make a complicated project successful
incorporate – to include something so that it forms a part of something ซึ่งรวมเข้าเป็นหนึ่งเดียวกัน
century – a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
monument – a thing that remains as a good example of somebody's qualities or of what they did สิ่งที่เป็นตัวอย่าง
positive – in a good way ในทางบวก
impression – an opinion or feeling that you have about someone or something you have seen but do not know very well ความรู้สึก
come across – to make a particular impression ดูเหมือนว่าจะเป็น (จากพฤติกรรม), มีท่าทางของ, มีลักษณะของ
know inside out – to know or understand something completely
tackle – to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with something จัดการ, รับมือ
challenge – something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย
eventually – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
bustling – full of busy activity อึกทึกครึกโครม
abundant – more than enough มากมาย
flank – to be at the side of someone or something อยู่ด้านข้าง
charming – very attractive and pleasant น่ารัก, สวยงาม
boutique – (of a business) small and offering products or services of a high quality to a small number of customers ร้านเล็กๆ ที่ขายสินค้าหรือบริการที่เฉพาะเจาะจง เช่น ร้านขายสินค้านำเข้า
deserve – of something, good or bad, that you earn or are given because of your behavior or qualities สมควรได้รับ
vision – the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way วิสัยทัศน์

Related search: Makkasan, State Railway of Thailand, park, Big Trees Group

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager