Morphological contradiction in contemporary urban visions for historic city development: the case of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thèse en cours
Type de doctorat: 
Doctorat en formation initiale
Année de début de la thèse : 
Directeur de recherche : 
Co-encadrante : Karine Peyronnie, chargée de recherche, IRD 8 Cotutelle avec la faculté des beaux-arts, Université Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai, Thaïlande).
Dir. thaï : Professeur Dr. Woralun Boonyasurat, directeur de l'Institut de recherche sociale, Université
Equipe de recherche : 
Université : 

Résumé de la thèse

PhD. Research Student: Mr. Komson Teeraparbwong

(INE : 0GK86S003T5)

Thésis : Contradiction morphologique dans les visions urbaines contemporaines pour le développement de la ville historique : le cas de Chiang Mai, Thaïlande.

English Title: Morphological Contradiction in contemporary urban visions for historic city development: the case of Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Thesis is written in English)

This thesis looks at the UNESCO World Heritage Submission for inscription Project, preparing by Chiang Mai World Heritage Initiative (CMWHI between 2015-2022) as a platform of investigation. The CMWHI Project has been funded and supported by the Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO) with the vision/aim to use the nomination of World Heritage as a possible “mega” conservation Project to protect the historic town and its valuable heritages in the city. Like some of other Southeast Asian historic towns, there are the problematic issues to deal with, as those “living” historic towns have been transformed and changed by the influences of contemporary urban development. These have been disrupted and caused the difficulty on “the conditions” required by the UNESCO framework.

The thesis will uncover key arguments on several “mis-matches” that are no longer fit into the category of UNESCO standard and, perhaps, inform us some learning issues under Chiang Mai UNESCO projects as well as the urban reality of the city. The complex interrelation between the status quo of the historic town and the vision of UNESCO framework will be analysed by focusing on the key stakeholders involving in the conservation perspectives and projects that has been causing the town’s morphological changes and transformations in contrast to visions and ideology of Chiang Mai World Heritage standard.

There are 4 groups of main stakeholders that be parted of the change and gradually caused, as argued in the thesis, the contradiction in Chiang Mai Urban morphology. It is about the “Debate over Visions” and the concept of “City within the city” ideology which lead to the questionable argument as to whether if the historic town of Chiang Mai can successfully get the inscription, then will the ideal of “City within the city” be manifested as similar outcome as of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai “historic park” models in Thailand? It is, on one hand, the status of “Historic Park” and its system can easily be controlled and safeguarded by Fine Arts Department whereas, on the other hand, there is an argument of lacking of the understanding of true “living” Genius Loci within the “living” historic town. Also, the so-called “freezing-heritage” ideal has been dropped out for the concept of H.U.L. (Historic Urban Landscape) by UNESCO framework of nomination which is about the relationship between heritage/people/place living together. 

In summary, the research looks at Town Morphology as a springboard platform for analysing the complex issues of visions and debates over stakeholders and the UNESCO framework which are referring back towards the contradictions of the “Ideal Heritage Conservation” approach in the city of Chiang Mai. The thesis also analyses various ideas/opinions/visions regarding to the way of the “local” dealing with the “Past” morphology in the “living” historic city of Chiang Mai by paying attention to the transforming diversity of the “mis-matches” between those different ideas and visions. It takes into account towards “the readings of morphological heritages in contemporary urban development, visions and projects” concluding with the final aim of identifying and uncovering these “mis-matches” or “contradictions” from the debates/controversies of works by CMWHI and the associated key issues. Moreover, the plurality of views and its contradictions over the role of morphological heritage for contemporary urban development, is the main dialogue of Thesis discussion, particularly under the UNESCO Framework and Chiang Mai historic town.

The main questions are: - How does each stakeholder response/adopt/interpret the framework of UNESCO World Heritage and develop visions for the city’s heritages?; - How or What happened as significant movements in Chiang Mai that can be raised as a critique towards the idea of “mis-match” contradictions and visions on heritage between stakeholders?; - What are the purposes that those debates aim for (to conserve or not conserve) and how the “mismatch” can inform some visions and understandings behind the conservation of heritages in Chiang Mai for this matter? - Should UNESCO framework “fit-in” the conditions of Southeast Asian historic city, particularly “active/living” historic city where the dichotomy between conservation and urban development are in significant contrast? and - to what extend from structure of different actors/stakeholders that the “mismatches” and contradictions can become an analytical tool for any awareness and potential benefit for Urban development in “active/living” historic city in Southeast Asia context?