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Bangkok and liveability factorsBookmark

Learning area: Geography
Year level: Year 7
Country: Thailand

This learning sequence investigates liveability by examining the factors that influence liveability and how it is perceived. Students are provided the opportunity to explore the idea that places provide us with the services and facilities needed to support and enhance our lives, and that spaces are planned and managed by people.

Key inquiry questions

  • What effect does the uneven distribution of resources and services have on the lives of people?
  • What does 'liveable' mean and how do we go about making places liveable?
  • What approaches can be used to improve the availability of resources and access to services?


Bangkok liveability factorsView of Bangkok city

Related resources

Activity 1: Bangkok liveability

In this learning sequence, you will learn a lot just by looking and asking yourself questions. You will view two videos that show different perspectives on life in one of Asia's most important cities, the capital of Thailand, Bangkok and use the prompts to develop your understanding of this growing city.

Key inquiry question: What effect does the uneven distribution of resources and services have on the lives of people?

Task 1: About living in Bangkok

  1. Watch the video entitled A sustainable and liveable city and note the things that surprise you or things that you think are important. You may choose to re-watch the video and use the prompts below to dig a little deeper.
  2. See Think Wonder: work in pairs or small groups to answer these questions:
    • What do you see?
    • What do you think is going on?
    • What does it make you wonder?
  3. As a pair, group or whole class, see if you can come to agreement on what 'the main purpose' of the video is. Is there general agreement?
  4. List questions that you and the whole class think would be helpful to answer if you are to learn more about what it's like to live in Bangkok.
  5. The second video follows unrest that had closed the most popular part of the city and threatened to bring down the government. Watch this video and use a different Thinking Routine to combine what you've now learned from both videos.
  6. Write notes on the changes and pressures people experience due to the rapid growth of Bangkok. Like any growing capital city, Bangkok is experiencing many changes and pressures. Using the headings Claim, Support, Question, do the following:
    • Make a claim about the topic
    • Identify support for your claim
    • Ask a question related to your claim.

Task 2: Identifying the issues

  1. Again, working alone, in pairs or groups, share your claims and support by using one of the following online tools to collaboratively list your claims and the supporting reasons: 
    • Padlet – a virtual surface that has all the benefits of being digital and the simplicity of a notepad
    • Twiddla – a web-based meeting playground
    • Primary Pad – a web-based word processor in real time.
  2. Consider the following question and add your response to the online tool of your choice:
    • What effect does the uneven distribution of resources and services have on peoples' lives?
  3. If you are using Primary Pad, have each person, pair or group, type in their best answer.
  4. As a class, identify one response that people feel best captures the issues.
  5. Discuss how this response could be improved by including insights from other responses. 
  6. With one student as the 'class scribe', edit the main response with the points other students want to add to it. You could use bullet points if the sentence itself gets too complicated or confusing.
  7. Finish with an answer to the inquiry question that shows the most developed understanding. 
  8. If you want everyone to be active on this effort, you can all work independently to update the chosen response before compiling the class response.

Activity 2: Liveability criteria

In this learning sequence, you will explore the meaning of liveability and identify important factors or criteria that need to be addressed to make a place liveable. You will consider the issue that every human being wants their 'place' – whether it is a village or city – to be 'liveable'.

Key inquiry question: What does 'liveable' mean and how do we go about making places liveable? 

Task 1: Identifying liveability criteria

Many people are interested in determining whether places are liveable. These can be politicians who want to keep their citizens happy; real estate developers who want to make places attractive for investment; governments who similarly want to attract big business and the many jobs they can bring to a local economy; and human rights groups who want people to live safe and healthy lives.

  1. Survey a range of 'liveability criteria' so that you can choose the factors that you think are most important. Explore the links below and locate the list of criteria used to determine 'liveability.' You might do this if you have a Diigo account, but bookmarking and highlighting the web page or using free document editing software to highlight PDFs or highlighting printouts or simply taking notes.
  2. Combine all the criteria from these five sources into one sheet or electronic document.

Task 2: Building your liveability criteria

Now that you have a list of 'liveability criteria' from five sources, your task is to decide which liveability criteria you think are most important and should be used to rank or evaluate cities across the globe.

  1. Start from a position of experience and expertise and begin by reflecting on what either makes where you live a great place or what should be changed to improve life there. You can start with your own experiences, things that affect you, but then also consider how your 'place' is experienced by other people. Brainstorm your own list of the things (your criteria) for the liveability of your home community or city:
    • How is it for workers or people who need to travel?
    • How is it for people who are sick, poor, rich, young or old? 
    • What is it like for people from different countries or cultures?
    • What about the geography – the landscape, waterways and air quality – is it great or could it be improved?
  2. Using your own criteria based on your own experience and your ideas of how life is for other people who live in your community or city, compare your ideas with the professionals:
    • Choose one of the five sets of criteria that seem as close to what you've identified as your criteria.
    • Does this list include anything that you've missed that you would now like to add? 
    • Include in your criteria the ones you came up with plus any you want to add from what you saw as the best whole list from the professionals.
  3. Consider the other sources to adjust your thinking and criteria.
  4. Use word processor, spreadsheet or brainstorming software (such as Padlet) so you can list your criteria at the top and then slot in those from the other sources that are like yours. You might need to go back to the sources to see what they mean by a specific term like 'sprawl' or 'tolerance'. This will help you see if your criteria include all those mentioned by the professionals or whether you might want to add some in that you now think are important.

Task 3: Conclusion

The final product for this activity is a list of your finalised criteria that includes a short description for each term so other people can understand exactly what you have in mind. Call this document My Criteria for Liveability.

Activity 3: Creating liveable cities

In this learning sequence, you will analyse and suggest ways to make an actual city more liveable by creating a 'Liveability improvement plan for Bangkok'.

Key inquiry question: What approaches can be used to improve the availability of resources and access to services?

Task 1: Ranking cities on liveability criteria

You now have your own well thought out criteria for the first question. But the trick is not just to have nice 'make believe' ideas about how to make a city liveable, but to analyse and suggest ways to make an actual city more liveable. Because it is one of the most important cities in Asia – and is also experiencing 'growing pains' as we saw in the first activity. Every year a few different organisations rank the cities of the world on their liveability.

  1. Watch the video of a recent countdown of the 10 most liveable cities put together by one of our criteria providers, Monocle magazine. As you watch, consider the competition and maybe find inspiration in the winners.
  2. Take note of anything that catches your interest about what other cities are doing well. 
  3. If you want to get a special look at a place you may know well or that is at least 'closer to home,' you can watch a video about Melbourne, the Number 1 top spot winner for several years.
  4. To help you focus your response to the videos, use this thinking routine: Connect – Extend – Challenge:
    • How are the ideas and information presented connected to what you already knew?
    • What new ideas did you get that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?
    • What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around?
    • What are your thoughts now?

Task 2: The challenge

  1. You now have a chance to pursue these and other questions as part of a greater WebQuest Challenge that comes in three parts:
    • Learn about life in Bangkok.
    • Identify liveability criteria that need improvement in Bangkok.
    • Evaluate an actual proposal developed by the deputy governor of Bangkok.
  2. Work in teams or in pairs, with each student looking into a specific aspect of Bangkok.
  3. Gather as much relevant information as you can about Bangkok and its liveability factors by exploring four main aspects using the links below:
    • Choose one of these four topics and look for any information that suggests good achievement of liveability criteria or areas that need improvement.
    • Set up your electronic document so that you have the criteria listed and two other columns, for 'positive' and 'negative' so you can paste copied information into the right category.
    • Compare all the criteria to see which might need improvement to raise Bangkok's liveability ranking.
Government and laws
Social services
Things to do
Environment, quality of life

Task 3: Identify liveability criteria that need improvement in Bangkok

  1. Now that you have members of your team who have collected information about Bangkok, consider what a few experts have said about Bangkok's liveability factors. 
  2. Just like you did when you used your own liveability criteria and added to them when you found good ideas from professionals, look through a few comments from professionals about how they see Bangkok's strengths and weaknesses. Because there are four links, split up reading them in pairs or as a group of four or in pairs:
  3. As a group, review what you have learned from the links above and decide, like before, add the good ideas from the professionals to your own electronic document from Step 1.

Task 4: Evaluating the Deputy Governor's plan

On October 31, 2012, Dr. Vallop Suwandee (deputy governor of Bangkok) made a presentation entitled Practices and Challenges for the Creation of Livable and Sustainable Smart City at the Asia Smart City Conference in Yokohama, Japan. In the presentation, the deputy governor of Bangkok describes the pressures and the resulting problems the city is facing. He also presents the 'ways forward'.

  1. As a group, review Dr. Suwandee's materials, and see how the pressures and problems he's identified.
  2. Compare these to the negative findings you had listed in your criteria.
  3. Then look at the ways forward presented by Dr. Suwandee.
  4. Are any negative aspects you found in your research into the liveability criteria for Bangkok missing from the solutions he has identified?
  5. Evaluate the solution by discussing with other students what you think Bangkok needs to improve on to become one of the world's most liveable cities.
  6. If any aspects are missing, write down, as a group, how the city of Bangkok might address the negatives.
  7. If the proposed solutions address all the negative liveability factors your team found, discuss as a group what might need to happen for the ways forward to be successful.
  8. Continue to watch the development and growth of Bangkok in the coming years to see how the plan has succeeded.

Activity 4: Reflection

In this learning sequence, you have:

  • considered what makes a place liveable
  • thought about your own community and the other people who live there
  • explored what professionals used as 'criteria' for the liveability of a city
  • gathered information on aspects of life in Bangkok, reviewing real world resources
  • considered what experts thought about Bangkok's liveability factors
  • finally, you had the chance to compare your ideas to the actual deputy governor of Bangkok and the solutions his ministry have prepared to move their city forward.

Take time now to reflect on how this process went for you:

  • How could it have been improved?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • What part of the process might you remember and use when you study a new topic?
  • Put all these and other ideas you have about this task and what you've learned into a solid paragraph of reflection.

Keep this reflection where you store your other learning goals and reflections, whether that's in a paper notebook, your personal blog, ePortfolio or other format.

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