Venture down the narrow soi marked ‘103’ and you will find a small community, ’Suan luang 1’, one of 120 such communities in greater Bangkok, and awarded for excellence by her Royal Highness, Princess Maha Chakri Srindhorn.
This community existed before the second world war. Back then it was a fruit farm with a wide canal separating the fields. The community leader, Mr Suchart Boonmee says that back then the was large enough to accommodate mid-sized boats which were used to transport produce.
Slowly this community began to urbanise with new buildings encroaching on the canal. The community, with its 500 homes and 2,500 residents, now includes a kindergarten and primary school. Because the community accessible by motorcycles, the canal is maintained by the close-knit community as a source of water incase of fire.
What’s most impressive is the self-management of the community, with some help from Rajamangkala University and the support of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). There are many interesting community projects which have been operating since 2013. Garbage bins are kept within each household rather than long the paths in an effort to prevent unpleasant smells. The community has shared composting containers to produce natural fertiliser.
And, on the first Sunday of every month to help the community generate income there is a market where visitors can buy fresh produce, Muslim delicacies and locally made items.