An investigation and application of Thai sacred landscape transformation patterns

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Kattika Kittiprasan


This paper represents the outcome of a research titled “Interrelationship of Sacred Landscapes and Urban Changes in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and Vicinity Region,” emphasizing “transformation pattern investigation” of Thai sacred landscapes within the greater Bangkok region and how they can be applied in the urban planning process. The three primary methods of the study included landscape morphology, land use and surrounding observations, and behavior mappings of eight case studies during daily and festive events. The findings comprised 20 patterns of sacred landscape transformation. With regard to the degrees and characteristics of cultural interventions, perception of sacredness, and stakeholders involved, the 20 patterns derived can be consolidated into five states, namely, Pristine state, Profane state, Pageantry state, Permanent Products state, and Professional state. These states could assist in the management or conservation of sacred sites and their surrounded areas and related activities affecting city growth. The study findings acknowledge the intangible significance of sacred landscapes and could integrate the inhabitants’ sense of place, memories, and well-being into the modern urban planning process. Furthermore, with more cultural concerns, they could effectively regain citizen participation and confidence, which help to restrain top–down planning practice. Possible outcomes include recommendations for cultural zones, urban farming zones, public-transportation policy, road-pattern framework, vital public spaces, and implementation tools such as design guidelines, conservation regulations, and management and restoration standards.


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