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Ce"rapport"s’inscrit"dans"le"cadre"d’un"projet"intitulé" " Gares,!lieux!de!connexions! et!de!vie! urbaine!dans!les!pays!du!Sud " " qui a"été"lancé"par"Futuribles"International" et"Urbanistes"du"Monde. "

Dans"un"contexte"de"population"et"de"mobilité"croissantes"dans"les""villes"du"Sud,"les" enjeux" liés" au" développement" des" gares" sont" multiples" :" politiques," urbains," économiques," sociaux," symboliques," sanitaires," ou" encore" sécuritaires." Là" se" joue" sans" doute" aujourd’hui" une" part" de" l’avenir" de" ces" villes." C’est" pour" mieux" comprendre"ces"enjeux,"et"les"réponses"qui"y"sont"apportées,"c’est"également"pour" découvrir" de" nouvelles" pratiques" éventuellement" transposables" dans" les" pays" du"


Suivre"le"projet" :"https://stationtostation2013.wordpress.com/" "

Suivre"le"projet " :"https://stationtostation2013.wordpress.com/" " "






We" would" like" to" thank" Dr. " Niramon " Kulsrisombat ," head" of" the" Urban" Design" &" Development"Centre"of"Chulalongkorn"University," for"her"help"during"our"fieldwork." Without"her"support,"this"report"would"not" have" existed ."We"would"also"like"to"thank" Baiz" Punpitcha" and"Dalee" H oontraku l ," who"did"an"amazing" job " accompanying" us"on" the" field," as" well" as" Dr." Pan it" Pujinda" for" his" time" and" consideration." Last" but" not" least," we" would" like" to" think" Antoine" and" Pongkwan " Lassus" for" their" help" and" kindness.""




" This"report"was"written"using"material"gathered"during"a"two_ month"fieldtrip" in" Bangkok," Thailand." We" relied" on" ethnographic" observation," and" about" 40" interviews"we"made" on" the" street"in"and"around" the" stations"we" studied."We"met" street"vendors,"motorcycle" taxi" drivers,"stationmasters,"some"passengers"and"some" local"residents."Most"of"our"interviews"were"with"street"vendors,"who"have"shown"to" be"easier"to"approach."All"the"interviews"were"realized"with"the"help"of"interpreters" over" the" course" of" two" weeks." Finall y," we" met" scholars" from" Chulalongkorn" University," and" a" professional" involve" in" lobbying" for" the" redevelopment" of" Makkasan"area." "



INTRODUCTION " The" Lonely" Planet" web _ article" about" Bangkok" includes" a"


The" Lonely" Planet" web _ article" about" Bangkok" includes" a" full" section," out" of" five," about" contrasts." It" describes" “a" city" of" climate_ controlled" megamalls" and" international" brand" names" just" minutes" from" 200_ year_ old" village" homes;" of" gold _ spired"Buddhist"temples"sharing"space"with"neon_ lit"strips"of"sleaze;"of"slow_ moving" rivers" of" traffic" bypassed" by" long_ tail" boats" plying" the" royal" river”" ( Lonely" Planet’s" website)."The" striking"contrasts" that" the"city"offers" to" the" tourist’s"eyes"and" to" the" camera" lens" are" more" than" a" cliché;" they" are" truly" a" part" of" the" everyday" life" in" Bangkok." It" feels" like" Bangkok" is" in" the" middle" of" its" transition" toward" modernity," which" represents"a"big"share"of"its"charm.""

The"research"for"this"paper"has"been"done"during"a"five"weeks " mission"for"the" French"NGO" Urbanisme*du*Monde,"as"part"of"a"research"project"on"train" stations"in" the"Global"South."We"chose" to" take"a"look"at" the"process"of"modernization " of" rail _

2" |" 2 5 "

based"transport"infrastructures"in"Bangkok"through"the"case"study"of"one"particular" station," currently" encroached" and" somehow" archaic" but" planned" to" become" a" key" node"in"the"mass" transport"system"of"the"city."While"it"is"now"just"a"small"terminus"of" a" single_ track" suburban" commuter" line," master" plans" since" the" late" 70’s" have" included" it"and" the" last" one" foresees" it" to" become" a" part" of" the" future" high _ speed" elevated"suburban"metro." Our" take"on" the" topic"was" to" try" to"understand"how" the" station"was"working"in"its"current"form,"and"to"compare"this"with"how"it"could"work" after" upgrading," to" allow" the" reader" to" form" an" opinion" on" the" question" of" modernization."Then,"our"study"showed"us"t hat"the"very"idea"of"modernization"was" problematic,"and"we"decided"to"analyse"this"rhetoric"through"our"case"study,"as"it"is" a" dominant"part"of"the"discourse"around"upgrading" of " infrastructures ." "

Our" theoretical" perspective" is" adapted" from" Bruno" Latour’s" concept" of" “amodernism”"in"which"he"dispels"the"notion"of"a"rupture"in"time,"a"premodern"era" separated" from" and" followed" by" a" modern " era." Although" we" do" not" use" his" core" concepts"of"nature_ society," we"retain"his"framework"of"temporality"and"demonstrate" our" argument" with" field" evidence." We" argue" that" modernization" should" not" be" understood"as"a" process" of" change" that" replaces" traditional" practices"with"modern" ones."Although"we"retain"classic"categories"of"“tradition”"and"“modern”"as"labels,"we" get"rid"of"the"word"“modernization”"in"our"language." We"argue"instead" that" what"is" typically" called" a" process" of" modernization" is" merely" a" process" transformation" in" which" the" new" outcome" (in" this" case," the" station)" can" be" and" certainly" will" be" a" composition" of" both" tradit ional" and" modern" elements ," and" that" they" are" not" necessarily" contradictory. "

" Our" paper" aims" at" bringing" elements" to" resolve" debates" that"
Our" paper" aims" at" bringing" elements" to" resolve" debates" that" are" often"
sparkled" by" controversial" urban" renewal" projects."We" think" that" there"is" no"longer"
need"to"be"stuck"between" whether"to"vote"or"not"for"an"urban"renewal."By"showing"
we" show" that"planners"must"actively"plan" for"co_ existence"of"both" types"of"voices."
The" paper" will" show" that" a" non _ polarized" development" is" both" theoretically"
provides" a" very" flexible" framework" for" a" whole" range" of" stakeholders" who" are"
generally"grappling"with"a"common"debate"of"what"is " at"stake"in"the"modernization"
and" development" of" cities." It" will" also" draw" o ut" useful " lessons" for" planning" and"
design"of"new"generation"of"rail _ based"stations." "


This" part" aims" at" giving" the" reader" a" glimpse" at" the" general" context" of" transportation"in"Bangkok,"so" as" to"have"a"deeper"understanding"of"what"is"at"stake" at"the"micro _ level."It"will"attempt"to"explain"how"it"feels"like"to"move"around"in"the" city" nowadays ," and" to" provide" basic"explanations" for" it."Then," we" will" show" that" a" solution"pushed"to"solve"th e" transportation"issues"has"been"the"development"of"rail _ based" mass" transport" systems," planned" since" the" end" of" the" 70’s." However," the" different"plans"made"sin ce"then"have"not"been"fully"implemented"yet"and"Bangkok’s" existing" mass" systems" exists" along" other" not" planned" for" elements," creating" what" many"call"a"striking"contrast"between"tradition"and"modernity.""





Traffic"congesti on"in"Bangkok"is"a"universally"denounced"plague" that"affects" everyone"pretty"much"every"day."The"city"gets"stuck"twice"a"day"at"rush"hour,"leading"


in" the" city" centre," bus" drivers" are" leaving" their" seats" to" have" a" drink" while" some" passengers"take"time"for"a"smoke"on"the"sidewalk,"slowly"walking"along"the"bus"and" getting" back" to" their" seat" once" done." Pretty" much" anyone" in" the" city" can" tell" the" visitor" that" the" problem" comes" fro m" the" quickly" increasing" number" of" cars" in" the" city," blaming" or" not" the" government" for" its" car_ supporting" policies," depending" o n " one’s" political" colours." Still," the" numbers" are" worth" being" quoted:" The" number" of" cars" in " the" country" is" quickly" rising," and" th e" increase" is" in" part" fuelled" by" governmental"policies"su bsidizing"the"acquisition"of" new"cars " – " which"led"in"2012"to" the"purchase"of"1,25"million"cars"in"the"country"(Bangkok"Post,"2013). " T here"are"399" cars" for" 1000" inhabitants" in" Bangkok" (UNEP," 2009) ." To " put" this" number" in" perspective," there" are" 481" cars " for" 1000" inhabitant s " in" France" (World" Bank) ."

However," the" road/built" surface" ratio" in" inner" Bangkok" is" of" 7. 1%." In" Paris," it" is "


25. 7%,"about"the"same" in"New"York" and"25%"in"London"
7%,"about"the"same" in"New"York" and"25%"in"London" (Surya"Raj"Acharya," 2013). "

Chong!Nonsi!district,!rush!hour. !



" Unlike"many"western"cities,"Bangkok"offers"to"the"commuter"many"options"to" reach" his" destination." Combined" with" the" particular" constraints" created" by" the" traffic," this" situation"makes" intermodality"a"key"element" of" the" city" transportation." Aside"from"his"private"car,"one"has"the"choice"to"take"one"of"the"new"rapid"transport" system" (4"lines"of"underground"and"elevated" trains),"a"bus,"either"public"or"private" and"with"or"without"air"conditioning"(all"are"operat ing"on"the"same"lines),"the"brand" new"BRT"system,"a"retrofitted"truck"called" songthaew,"a"mini _ van,"a"motorcycle"taxi," a" tuk4 tuk,"a"regular"taxi,"a"train"or"a"boat."All"these"option"are"of"co urse"not"available" to"everyone"since" they"imply"very"different"co sts."Motorcycle"taxis"in"particular"are" often" bringing" commuters" from" their" residence" to" the"main" roads" where" they" can" catch" a" bus" or" a" metro" and " bring" them" to" their" final" destination" from" the" closest" metro" station."A" specificity" of"Bangkok"is" the" size" of" its" residential" blocks."An"ideal" size"for"residential"block"is"one"that"allows"commuters"to"walk" 100mfromtheir"block"


( interview"with"Dr."Panit" Punjida) ,"making"walking"an" impractical"solution" for"many" and"improving"the"need"for"auxiliary"transports"inside"the"blocks."As"a"consequence," major"bus"or"metro"stops"are"acting"like"hubs"and"systematically"surrounded"by" tuk4 tuks ,"taxis"(motorcycle"or" car),"buses,"vans"and" songthaew" waiting"for"passengers"to" be"moved " to"their"final"destination"inside"the"residential"blocks.""

To"sum"up,"any"important"transport"station"in"Bangkok,"whether"rail _ based"or" not,"has"to"offer"an"easy"access"by"road"and"will"become"a"hub"because"people"need" to"switch"transport"at"their"point"of"arrival. "




In" Bangkok," not" only" the" traffic" is" bad," but" it" is" not" getting" better." The" authorities" are" struggling" to" make" road _ infrastructure" catch _ up" with" the" growing" number " of"cars,"and"have"been"lagging"behind"since" the"90’s."Since" the"end"of" the" 70’s" though," some" started" to" look" at" the" problem" differently" and" planned" to" give" Bangkok"a" rail _ based" transport"infrastructure."This"idea" remained"in" the" successive" transport" plan" of" the" city" and " gained" visibility" as" more" and" more" politicians" were" promising" to" solve" the" traffic" problems" by" building" new" lines" and" faster" trains." Indeed," great" sums" of" money" have" been" invested" into" this" new" type" of" transport" infrastructure," and" more" is" to" come" – " the" last" scheme" announced" was" a" 2" trillion" Baht " investment"into"high _ speed"trains"to"connect"Thailand’s"major"cities.""


Five"major" plans" for" rail" based"mass" rapid" transit" system"were" drawn" since" the" first" one" in" 1979." The" one" currently" being" follo wed" was" made" in" 2010" by" the" Mass" Transit" Master" Plan" in" the" Bangkok" Metropolitan" Region" to" replace" the"


built" by" 2029," for" a" total" of" 508" kilometres" of" lines." The" success ive" plans" gave" a" growing" importance" to" rail _ based" mass" transit," each" one" announcing" a" higher" cumulated"length,"from"104"km"in"1994"to " five"times " this"number"nowadays ."To"put"


in" Bangkok:" the" two" lines" of" the" elevated" BTS" Skytrain;" The" Airport" Rail" Link" line" connecting" the" city" centre" to" the" international" airport," largely" used" as" a" suburban" train;" And" the" underground" MRT." These" four" lines" have" a" total" length" of" 71"


plan." "

Even"if"there"is"an"important"gap"between"the"plans"and"the"realization,"the" authori ties"do"heavily"invest"in"mass"rapid"transports."The"existing"line"can"hold"the" comparison"with"any"other"metro"system"around"the"world,"and"slowly" but"steadily"


being"extended"and" a"new"underground"line"is"being"constructed " as"well"as"a"new" elevated"suburban " network." Roads"do"not"seem"to"be"anymore"the"only"object"of" attention"in"Bangkok."We"even"heard"a"former"public"official"speaking" of"a"paradigm" shift"toward"rail " in"progress" in"Thailand " ( Conference"on"High"Speed"Railway"in" Thailand ) ." "

The"next"part"will"try"to"look"at"the" potential"consequences"of"the" large_ scale" dynamics"on"one" particular" station ,"Wongwian " Yai," planned" to"become"a"hub"since"

the" Lavalin" project" in" 1979." It" exemplifies" well" the" type" of" structures" seen" as" pre_ modern"and"therefore"meant"to"be"upgraded"or" made"to" disappear" by"some"policy _ makers."We"will"weight"these"scenarios"against"the"insights"we"got"from"local"urban" planners"and" data"gathered" on" the"ground," to " see"if"any" change"is" to" be"expected" around"the"station"in"the"near"and"not_ s o _ near"future.""




To"capture"some"of"the"processes"of"transformation"in" Bangkok,"we"decided" to"select" Wongwian " Yai"Railway"st ation"as"our"case"study."The" station"is"the"terminus " of"a"33km" stretch" that" connects"Bangkok"to"Mahachai ,"a"fishing"village"in"the"south" west"of"Bangkok." This"forms"a"part"of" the"Maeklong"Commuter"Line" (see"box"below) ." Originally" built"in" the"early" 1900s " by"a"businessman"of"Danish"origin" ,the"railway"line"


Nowadays," the"Mass"Transit"Plan"envisions"upgrading" it" to"a"new" rapid" (and " partly" elevated)"suburban"line,"the"Dark" Red"SRT"line. If"the"Mass"Transit"Plan " (M_ Plan) " were" to"reach"completion,"Wongwian " Yai"will"become" an" intersection"of"three"major" lines ," the" suburban" Dark" Red" Line," the" Purple" MRT " Line" ( underground" metro," presently" under" construction)"and" the" BTS" skytrain " ( the" station" is"already" open," but"about"a" kilometre" away)." Integration"of"the"station"with"the"Dark"Red"Line" would"completely" transform"the"organization"and"use"of"space"in"and"around"the"station. "



The" Maeklong" Commuter" Line" is" a" product " of" merging" two" railway" lines" that" remain" separated" by" the" Tha" Chin" River." As" a" result," the" 67" km" journey" from" Bangkok" to" the" province" of" Samut " Songkhram" cannot" be" completed" without" hopping"into"a"ferry"to"cross"the"river. "

A" first" section" of"it"was" built" by"a"Danish" company,"Thachin" Railway" Ltd"with"a" concession" from" the" Crown." Opened" in" 1904," this" 33km" section" connected" Bangkok"to" the"fishing"village"of"Mahachai"in" the"province"of"Samut " Sakhon,"on" the"east"bank"of"the"Tha"Chin"River."Within"a"short"period, " the"Maeklong"Railway"


province"of"Samut " Songkhram"on"the"Mae"Klong"river."In"1907,"the"two"sections" were"merged"bringing"sea"produce" from" the" fishing"ports"of"Samut " Sakhon"and" Samut "Songkram"to"the"Bangkok"markets." "


and"was"later"nationalized"in"1946."In" the"1950s," the"line"began" to"be"operated"


Bangkok," the" terminal" station" Khlong"San" was" closed"and" converted"into"a" bus" station." The" next" stop," Wongwian" Yai" station" became" the" new" terminus," thus" leading"to"a"second"disjunction"within"the"railway"line.""


1. http://scandasia.com/8718_the _danish_ tachin_ railway/,"

2. http://2bangkok.com/wp _




" " " " " " " " To" have" a" prospective" understanding" of" what" such" a" transformation" would" imply,"this"paper"examines"the"new"elevated"Airport"Link,"which"is"presently"the"only" exampl e" of" an" operating" fast" suburban" line" in" Bangkok." " T he" Airport" Link" is" constituted" of" two" lines:" the" City" Line" that" begin s " at" Phayathai" station ," and" the" Express"Line" that"begins" at"Makkasan " station. " We"looked " at"both"terminal"stations"to" have" some"indicatio ns" of" what" the" future" of"Wongwian " Yai" station" could"look"like. " Although" we" do" not" know" for" sure" whether" stations" of" the" Dark" Red" line" will" be" elevated" or" on" the" ground," we" do" know" that" all" station s " in" the" city" centre" are" supposed" to" be" elevated " (Bangkok" Po st," “ Cabinet" gives" green" light" for" routes”," November" 9th " 2006)" and" that" the" Light" Red" Line," partially" completed" in" the" north " has"elevated"stations."The"main"uncertainty"is:"will"it"be"replaced"by" a" new" station " or" will" it" continue" to" operate" as" a" ground" structure" parallel" to" the" elevated" system?"

There" is" no" example" of" line" upgrading" by" elevation" in" the" city" that" reached" completion."The" Light" Red" Line" has" been" built" parallel" to"existing"ground" rail _ lines," but"since"it"is"not"fully"operational ," yet" we"do"not"know"how"it"will"affect"the" station" on"the"grounds." "

If"there"is"a"thing"we"know"for"sure,"it"is"that"the"contrast"between"the"future" and"the"existing"station"will"be"striking."All"high _ speed"elevated"structures"of"the"city" are"state"of" the"art" modern"buildings,"and" there"is"no"indication" that" the"Dark"Red" Line"stations"will"be"an"exception."The"current"station"though ," is"a"very"di fferent"kind" of"infrastructure" and" represents"a"sort"of"traditional"building.""


WongwianYai!Station! – ! Train!arrival,! in!the!morning.!

– ! Train!arrival,! in!the!morning. ! " To"compare"Wongwian " Yai"station"


To"compare"Wongwian " Yai"station" with"stations"on"the" Airport"Link"presents" a" problem," because" what" can" be" seen " in" both" spaces" can" be" interpreted" very" differently" depending" o n " the" observer." In" other" words," we" think" that" the" space" cannot" be" described" objectively" and" the" narration" would" be" contingent" on " the" perspective"of"the"narrator;" we"decided" therefore" to" present" two"perspectives."First," a " modernist" perspective" that" would" associate" the" type" of" infrastructure" in" the" Airport"Link"with"a"symbol"of"modernity," and"see"if"it"were"the"future"of"Wongwian " Yai," see" it" as" progress." We" then" shift" the" gaze" to" a" somewhat" anti _ modernist" perspective," which"would"like" to"hold"on to " the"past"because"it"represents"a"people" and"times"that"need"to"be"preserved. "



are"closer" to."Although" for" the"moment"we"have"set"up" two"categories:"Wongwian " Yai" as" the" traditi onal" and" Airport" Link" as" the" modern." These" categories" are" freely" inspired"by"the"classification"given"by"Bruno"Latour"in"his"book" We*Have*Never*Been*

Modern ."Th is"said,"it"is"important"to"note"that"there"is"for"now"no"important"debate" around" the" upgrading" o f" Wongwian " Yai," making" these" two" categories" largely" theoretical."This"said,"the"modernist"strand"seems"to"be"not"so"far"from"the"point"of" view"of"some"government"officials,"or"at"least"it"fits"well"the"view"they"express"in"the" press." Similarly," we" encountered" in" the" station" people" who" expressed" fear" toward" the" upgrading," even" though" this" fear" was" largely" undermined" by" the" scepticism" about"the"actual"implementation"of"the"plan."In"other"words,"we"created"two" ideal" types " that" correspond" to" two" ends" of" a" globa l" debate" about" upgrading" old" urban" infrastructures" but"are" only"loosely"accounting" for"any"actual" debate"in"Wongwian " Yai." "



" Entrance!of!WongwianYai!station! "

In"a"perspective"that"welcomes"change"and" upgrading," the"SRT"station"in"its" current" form"is"unfit"and"unbecoming"of" the"21st"century"metropolis" that"Bangkok" aspires"to"be."The"station"might"as"well"be"a"still"frame"fro m"a"bygone"era"for"many" skytrain," users"who"can"today"glide"over"the"chaos"of"th e"streets"on"silver"skywalks." The" approach" to" the" station" is" muddy" and" congested" and" once" inside," passengers"


trinket"sellers."No"security"guards"walking"up"and"about"to"monitor"the"use"of"space," as"a" result" of"which" the" space" feels"more" like"a" residential"market" than"a" place" of" transit,"with"large"parts"of"the"platform"encroached ."In"less"than"10"seconds,"one"can" move" from" the" edge" of" the" platform" onto" a" residential" street" and " peer" into" a" television" show" _ " no" privacy" of" space" for" the" residents" and" no" clear" separation" of" public" and" private" property," this" place" would" probably" be" a" mess" to" an" eye" accustomed"to"the"quiet"“ order ” " of"an " Airport"Link"Station." "

There"is"only"a"single" rail" track," so"train s " cannot"cross"each"other"outside"of" specific" spots"with" double" tracks" – " and"if" they"are" not"exactly" on" schedules,"and"it" seems" to" be" the" case" often" enough," they" have" to" wait" for" each" other." If" one" managed" to" coordinate" their" personal" ti me" schedules" with" that" of" the" train," one" might"manage"to"get"on"the"train" that" arrives"only"every"hour" _ " every"30"minutes"at" rush"hour."No"wonder"a"niece"of"an"accessory" vendor"on"Mahachai" station" told"us" that" she"preferred"to"drive"when"she"travelled"to"Bangkok"for"school,"as"did"a"group" of" three" young" women" we" met" in" Mahachai" where" they" work," and" who" came" everyday"by"car" from" the"capital."Not"only"is" the"journey"slow,"but" the" train" ride"is" also" bumpy" and" hot" with" no" air" conditioning." But" what" would" one" ex pect" after" paying"a"ticket"fare"of"only"10"BHT"( 0. 25€)" – and" the" rides " are"even " free"for" T hais." "

In" such" a" perspective," the" Dark" Red" SRT" Line" is" naturally" a" welcome" development." Since" most" of" Thai" railway" network" (93.1%)" is" single_ tracked," the" priority"of"t he"2"trillion"BHT"modernization"plan"has"been"placed"on"extending"single" tracks" to" double" tracks" ( Conference" on" High" Speed" Railway" in" Thailand," 31/07/13," Chulalongkorn"University)."As"a"result,"at"its"most"modest,"one"outcome"of"the"first" upgrade" measure" we" could" expect" is" faster" transport" and" increased" capacity" for" more" efficient" commuting." Although" this"may" result" in" a" higher" fare," users" will" be" paying"for"an"improved"quality"of"services." The"Airport"Link" for"example"ensures"that " for" 90" BHT," users" can" ski p" 30km" of" roads" with" unpredictable" traffic" and" reach" the" Suvarnabh u mi"airport"in"15"minutes " in"express"trains." On"the"station,"staff"has"been" employed"to"call"a"taxi"and"infrastructure"has"been"set"up"at"Makkasan"station"for"a" city"check_ in"service,"so"passengers"will"be"able"to"drop"their"luggage"directly"at"the" station. "

The"ARL"stations"are" well"maintained " and"regulated."There"is"an"office"of"the" railway"station"police"who"looks"after"security"threats"as"theft"has"been"reported"(by" passengers"and"even"car" owners)."Safety"has"also"been"ensured"through"surveillance" tools" like" video" cameras" and" guarded" or" automatic" doors" regulating" access." The" station" space" in"Makkasan is"air_ conditioned"and" spacious." Property" owner"SRT" has" outsourced" several" functions"as"evid ent" from"at" least" 5" differently" un iformed" staff" that"we"crossed."For"example,"at"the"Phayathai"BTS" station,"directly"connected"to"the" corresponding"Airport"Link"station"by"a"wide"bridge,"even"fare"collection"was"broken" up" _ " VGI"Global"Media" PLC" (VGI)"collected" revenue" from"commercial"boutiques" set" up" at" the" station" (monthly" rental" price" 30,000_ 40,000" BHT)" while" fare" revenue" collection" was" divided" between" the" ticketing" office" machines" and" the" Rabbit_ card" comp any" that" provides" monthly" cards." In" general," it" can" be" said" that" the" change"

implies" increased" specialization" of" service" delivery," which" is" in" contrast" to" the" SRT" station" where" the" station" master" is" in" charge" of" security" threats" as" well" as" rent" collection"from"commercial"stalls" and"signalization"for"incomi ng"trains ."The"increased" order" in" governance" arrangements" goes" parallel" with" increased" order" in " the" maintenance"of" the"space." At" the"SRT"station" for"example,"we"met"a"man"cleaning" gravel"from"the"road"who"said"that"he"was"self _ providing"the"service"in"the" vacuum" of"public" service"delivery"as" the"authorities’" inspector" did"no t"come" to" that"part"of" the" line." Thus" having" actors" accountable" for" each" service" might" be" a" way" for" the" modernist" perspective" to" ensure" effective," accountable" and" transparent" service" delivery." "

Finally," the"Airport"Link"stations" embody"what"is"typically"seen"as"a"‘modern’" design"for"the" new"generation"of"rail _ based"stations."This"is"both"at"a"symbolic"level" where" megaprojects" and" the" glossy" large_ scaled" infrastructure" is" increasingly" becoming"an"appealing"but"unofficial"development"indicator"of"cities."Apart"from"the" megaproject"allure"o f" the" station," the" station"acts " as"a" pivot " for"changing" forms"of" development"in"the"surrounding"areas"and"increasing"land"value"and"more"generally," the" competitiveness" and" attractiveness" of" the" district." For" example," around" the" Makkasan" station,"at"least" 3" new" condominiums"were" noticeable" (Villa"Asoke," BKK" residence,"UNICO" Premier" Metro" Link" _ " which" had" opened" a" year" after" the" airport" link)"and"another"two " were"under"construction. "

The" modernist" perspective" would" embrace" a" transformed" future" for" Wongwian " Yai " because"in"its"present"form,"the"image"it"represents"is"broadly"one"of" disorder"and"inefficiencies."However,"there"is"another"perspective" f rom" which" such"a" transformatio n"would"spell"disaster"because"what" Wongwian " Yai"is"today"represents" for" them" elements " that" are" worth" defending." We" call" such" a" perspective" an" anti _ modernist" perspective." Here" is" how" they" would" perceive" a" changing" future" for" Wongwian " Yai"if"the" Airport"Link"were" copied"as"a"role"model." "




One"can"look"at" the" prospective" future"of"Wongwian " Yai"in"a"different"way," less"keen " about" upgrading."What"l ooks"to"the"untrained"eyes"of " an" engineer"like"an" inefficient"mess"is"actually"a"valuable"community"asset."In"that"perspective," it"would" be"a"mistake"to"see"Wongwian " Yai"only"as"a"primitive"transport"node."The"space"of" the"station"has" to"be"understood"as"a"social"space,"and"evidence"shows" that"it"is"a" dense"one."A"short"walk"at"the"station"shows"that"many"people" don’t" come"there"to" go" anywhere," but" to" meet," chat," share" a" meal" or" a" drink." They" have" their" habits" there," and" many" vendors" told" us" that" most" of" their" business" was" from" daily" customers"they"knew,"and"who"were"not"all"there"to"catch"a"train."As"we" asked " a"rice"


seller" on" the" platform" if" she" chose" her" spot" because" it"allowed" her" to" catch"many" customers" from" the" trains," an" old" man" passing" by" interrupted" her" and" said" that" wherever" she" would" be," people" would" be" looking" for" her," because" they" knew" her" and"her"products."But"even"if"that"old"man"did"not"tell"us,"we"would"have"guessed:" around"5"p.m.,"the"station"is" filled"with"students"in"uniform"sharing"a"meal"in"small" group,"or"just"sipping"a"drink"on"a n " old"stone"bench."The"place"seems"to"b e"used"as" an"entertainment"centre" as"much"as"a"station."One"could"ask"how" this"situation"can" accommodate"modern " infrastructures."In" this"light," the"Airport"Link"can"be"showed" as"an"example"of"a"cold,"failed"social"space."The"place"is"indeed"a"pure"transport"hub," with" currently" no" other" fu nction" than " a" dot" on" a" map" through" which" people" commute"day"after"day."There"is"no"sitting"space,"a"lot"of"advertisement"both"bright" and"loud,"no"offer"of" services"aside" from" transportation"on" the"platform,"and"little" around" it." Rules" anyway" forbid" drinkin g" or" eating" in" the" station," that" is" accessible" only"to"paying"customers"and"do"not"even"have"bathrooms. "



" Some" could" also" emphasize" the" role" of" Wongwian " Ya i" station" as" an" economical" centre," just" not" of" the" kind" everyone" wants" to" see." Dozens" of" micro" enterprises" operate" in" and" around" the" station ," in" the" form" of" street" carts," little" restaurants"and"motorcycle" taxis."Many" of" the" peop le"working"around"are"li ving"in" the"area"and"have"been"workin g"in"the"station"for"a"long"time" _ " more"than"9"years"on" average." Their" livelihood" is" largely" depend ent" o n " the" current" organization" of" the" station"and"the"clientele"they"accumulated"since"they"started."Working"there"is"also" far" from" a" choiceless" circumstance" of" despair" _ " we" heard" many" times " from" street"

vendors" that" they" used" to" be" employed" but" chose" this" job" because" it" gave" them" more" autonomy." Moreover," the" ones" who" accepted" to" tell" us" how" much" they" earned ," declared" monthly" income" three" times" superior" to" min imal" wage," and" superior"to"what"many"students"coming"out"of"high _ end"universities " will"get" for"their" first" job ;" ( to" be" fair," these" were" probably" the" most" successful" ones," but" still ) ." Of" course,"modern"infrastructure"can"also"offer"great"economical"opportun ities,"but"not" to" the" same" actors," and" that" can" be" seen" as" a" major" problem." Large" investments" attract"large"investors" that"build"expensive"condominiums,"hotels"and"malls"around" the"major"nodes"of"a"transport"system." This"type"of"private"developer"is"usuall y"not" coming" from" the" neighbourhood," and" attracts" customers" as" well" as" workers" from" afar."This"can"be"damaging"fo r"the"previous"type"of"business es " that"one"could"argue" is" more" precious" than" the" possibility" to" eat" at" a" Macdonald" while" shopping" for" foreign"brands"in"air_ conditioned"buildings."The"same" ones" would"stress"the"inherent" equity"created"by" grass _ root" businesses"against"the"strengthening"of"the"domination" of"a"handful"of"large"investors."The"Airport"Link"could"b e"advanced"as"an"example"of" such " dynamics:" Makkasan" station" is" meant" to " be" surrounded" by" shopping" mall s," hotels" and" convention" centres" _ " these" are" only" on" paper" for" now ," but" exclusive" condos"are"already"rising"from"the"ground. "

" One"of"the"reasons"why"Wongw ian " Yai"station"is"a"dynamic"economical"space" is"because"of"the"grass _ root"nature"of"the"decision"making"process"in"and"around"it." Since" most" of" its" current" use" was" mostly" not" plann ed," it" developed" organically," through" a" series" of" micro" arrangements" between" local" and" less_ local" actors" _ " the" police," landowners," the" vendors," the" SRT" agents," etc." For" example," we" had" a" chat" with" the"group" of"motorcycle_ taxi" drivers"waiting" for" customers"at" the"entrance" of" the"station ," hiding" from"the"sun"under"a"small"wooden"sh ack. " They" explained" to"us" that" they" had" built" it" themselves," on" public" land ," after" agreement" with" the" landowner" of" the" adjacent" building." Some" can" see" in" these" stories ," the" inherent" genius" of" the" crowd," in" contrast" to" the" mistakes" and" inefficiencies" of" top _ down" decision"making."Makkasan"can"indeed"be"presented"as"an"example"of"the"latter."The" station" is" gigantic," and" for" now" completely" empty." It" looks" and" feels" like" a" huge" waste" of" public" money," that" might" have" been" avoided" if" the" decision" of" its" constructi on"had"been"through"a"more"democratic,"needs _ based " process." "

" Th e" structure" of" decision" process"might" partly"explain"why"Wongwian " Yai " is" currently"far"from"satisfying"to"the" modernist’s"eyes,"as"it"results" in" what"look"like"a" mess " ( one"could"say"chaos ) " that"can"be"witnessed"at"any"time"on"the"platform." Most" of"the"shops"mentioned"before" could" look"like"they"are"operating"in"the"fringe"of"the" law,"at"best." But"the" fact"is"that"space"is"quite"precisely"allocated"in"and"around"the" station ,"even"if"it"takes"more"than"a"glance"to"see"it."As"mentioned,"the"vendors"we" interviewed"have"been"working"at"the"very"same"spot"for"years,"whether"directly"on" the" platform" or" in" the" surrounding" streets." Additionally," the" space" attributed" to" commuters " is" not" encroached" upon" mu ch," and" a" large" sittin g" area" remains" at" the" very"centre" of"the"station."The"lack"of"apparent"boundaries"can"lead"one"to"assume" they" are" non _ existent," but" this" is" just" not" the" case."On" informality," the" situation" is" more" complex" than" it" looks" like." First," so me" if" not" most" of" the" informal _ looking"

elements"of"the" decor" are"actually"formal."All"the"vendors"on"the"platform"are"paying" rent"to"the" station _ master" who" transfers"it"to"the"SRT"office" _ " no"break"of"the"law"we" heard"about."The"same"is"true"for"the" motorcycle"taxis " drivers ,"who"are"registered"at" the"local"administration"and"can"exclusively"work"at"their"registered"spot."Then"the" tuk_ tuk"drivers"were"in"a"different"situation" _ " their"job"was"legal ," but"some"of" their" practices" were" ambiguous;" they" were" parked" in" the" drop" out" area," effectively" preventing" anyone" else" to" use" it." However," they" had" no" problem" with" the" police" thanks"to"an"arrangement"with"them:"they"could"use"the"space,"as"long"as"they"were" maintaining"safety"in"front"of"the"station."The"arran gement"had"been"lasting"for"over" 20"years"and"survived"untouched ," a"change"of"head"of"the"police"in"the"district.""

Then," the" street" vendors" outside" the" station" were" using" public" space" and" doing"so"in"violation"of" the"law."While" their"activity"was"illegal," they"were"avoid ing" eviction " by"bribing"the"police."However,"they"were"not"in"a"precarious"situation"and" the"police"was"far"from"racketing" them."They"were"paying" monthly"rent"to"the"police," stable"over"the"years " and"considered"by"most"of"the"vendors"we"chatted"with ," as"fair," sometimes"even"cheap" _ " 300" Baht" per"month" (7. 50€)"indeed" sounded"cheap" to"us." None" declared" any" fear" of" eviction" in" the" future" and" all" seemed" overall" quite" satisfied" with " the"work"of"the"police."Informality"here"was"not"a"problem,"because"it" was" highly" organized," so" much" that" it" seemed" hard" to" point" out" any" profound" difference" with" formal" businesses." Modern" infrastructures" do" not" offer" similar" opportunities." The" inside" of" the" stations" are" highly" controlled:" in" any" Airport" Link" station," gu ards" are" making" sure" that" no" unwelcome" elements" can" access" the" elevated"structure."The" structure"gives" little"room,"if"any,"to"emerging"uses,"and"no" hawkers" can" be" found" past" the" stairs." The" slots" that" are" offered" for" rent" to" businesses"are" too"expensive"f or"any"street"vendor" to"afford" – from" 30"000"to" 40"000" Baht" a"month"in"Ph aya thai"station ,"more"than"20"times"what"the"street"vendors" pay" to"the"police" _ " and"there" are"very" few"slots"anyway"(only"three"in"Ph aya thai,"none"in" Makkasan)." "

These"elements"show"ho w"Wongwian " Yai"stati on"is"part"of"a"local"community" that" blended" the" station" into" the" city" fabric" so" well" thatit" became" hardly" distinguishable" from" the" surrounding." However," the" new" type" of" high _ speed" train" station"built"in"Bangkok"can"be"seen"as"a"threat" to"the"current"state,"as"with"larger" investment" comes" larger" interests," larger" control" and" larger" fees." Some" could" say" that"Wongwian " Yai" needs" to" be" saved,"as"a"moto_ taxi" driver"was" telling" us," “ If* the* new*line*comes,*it*will*be*a*disaster.*It*would* destroy*the*community ”" – " and"he"said" so " after"admitting"that"it"would"probably"bring"him"more"customers. "

However,"we"think"reality"is"more"complex"than"the"picture"drawn"by" only"a" modernist"or" an" anti _ modernist" perspective." This " will"be" explicated"in " the" f ollowing" section ." "





Neither* story* provides* a* complete* picture:" Both" of" these" stories" can" be" validated"from"our"fieldwork"but"each"is"representative"only"of"a"partial"reality."Each" story"brings"up"some"elements"and"hides"others"and" therefore"it"is"not"an"accurate" reflection"of"the"whole"picture"that"we"documented."While"both"are"true,"each"has"a" bias" and" hence" is" unable" to" appreciate" the" multiple" prospects" Wongwian " Y ai ’s" transformation" could" bring." The" modernists’" vision" has" been" exp osed" by" the" anti _ modernist"narrative" (e.g." the" glossy"infrastructure"of"Makkasan"that"remains"empty) ," but"the"anti _ modernists"are"not"a"silver"bullet"either."While"the"anti _ modernists"are" right"to"say"that"many"livelihoods"are"risked"in"an"infrastructure"u pgrade,"they"do"not" acknowledge" the" new" livelihoods" that" are" simultaneously" created " or" remained" untouched ." The"surrounding s " of"Ph aya thai"station"are"filled"with"street"vendors,"who" gather" around" the" stairs" of" the" elevated"metro" station." None" of" the" ones" we" met" expressed" worries" about" having" to" move" away" in" the" near" future," and" they" had" overall"little"to"say"about"the"impact"of"the"station"on"their"business;"some"even"said" that" they" were" mostly" serving" customers" from" the" neighbourhood" more" than" commuters." Th e" calm" indifference" toward" modern" infrastructure" of" traditional" actors " hardly" fits" the" sharply" contrasted" narrative" of" modernists" and" anti _ modernists." "

A!train!enters!Wongwian! Yai!station,!late!afternoon !


The* problem* is* a* practical* one:* miss ed * opportunities:" This" is" not" merely" a" problem"of" representation"but"it"has"practical"consequences. " E.g."Makassan"can"be" criticized"for"being"empty"and"Wongwian " Yai"for"not"being"spacious. " The" presence" of" each ’s " elements" could" have" been" beneficial " to" the" other. " For" example," a" street_ vendor"centre"under"Makassan"could"have"helped"create"economic"activity. " What" is" presented"as"unsolvable"opposition"can"be"showed"to"be"just"a"question"of" ordering " priorities ," which" are" not" necess arily" in compatible." Table." 1" presen ts" how" Tradition" and"Modernity"can"be"understood"as"two"sets"of"preferences,"and"consequently"how" both"can"coexist" – " no"one"would" deny" that"a" public" space" that"is"both"orderly"and" lively" is" a" good" public" space;" the" debate" articulates" entirely" around" which" characteristic"in"the"outside_ columns " should"be"given"the"highest"priority. "


Table.!1! – ! Table!of!preferences !





Organization of space



Use of space











It!is!only!when!one!ceases!to!see!the!two!as!a!dichotomy,!that!we!no!longer! need! to! imagine! the! change! in! W ongwian! Yai! as! a! transition! from! tradition! to! modernity ," that" would" be" positive" for" modern s" and" negative" for" anti _ moderns." Unless"we"change"the"point"of"view,"the"two"views"will" continue"to"be"in"conflict" – a" persisting" conflict" that" can" be" identified" in" debates " in" urban" renewal" across" the" globe."In" this"way,"we" can" focus" on" how" the" two" can" complement"each" other"and" overcome"missed"opportunities." "




The"existence"of"street"vendors"in"Bangkok"is"linked"with"the"corruptibility"of" the" police. " The" law" does" not"give" room" for" use" of" road," sidewalk"and" other" public" spaces " for"private"profit."Anyone"selling"goods"on" the"street"is"breaking" the"law."In" Paris," this" situation"creates"in"certain"neighbou rhoods " the"need" for"easily"packable"


shelves,"made" out"of"cardboard,"th at"can"easily"be"hidden"when"a" police man " walks " too" close." Situation" is" very" different" in " Bangkok." Actually," many" street" stall s" are" street" restaurants." T hey" open" every" day," at" the" same" spots ," and " offer" tables" and" chairs" to" their" customers." There" is" no" way" these" could" be" quickly" and" discreetly" packed" and" taken " away" if" ever" the" police" was" coming." And" it" is" not" a" problem," because"the"street"vendors"bribe"the"police"to"avoid"trouble."Old"and"easy"solution"if" there"is,"but"also"surprisingly…"modern."“Bribing”"does"not"do"justice"to"the"level"of" organization"of" the"process."Prices"are"stable"in" time"and"space:"everyone"pays" the" same"in"a"given"area" according"to"how"long"per"day"they"use"a"spot,"and"what"they" sell." Rent" is" asked " once" a"month," and " the" payers" obtain " a" receipt;" a" bribe_ receipt," something" highly" counter_ intuitive."A" vendor" desc ribed" to" us" how" the" police" come" with" a" list" of" authorized" vendors," and" adds" any" newcomer" to" this" list," so" they" can" cross"out"vendors"after"payment."Not"only"the" rents"are"the"same"for"everyone,"and" no"one"pays"twice,"but"the"price"of"a"slot"is"far"from"excessive,"and"illegality"does"not" come"with"insecurity"and" the" fear"of"eviction" _ " none"of" the"person"we"interviewed" expressed" such"a" fear,"and"most" seemed" fairly" surprised" by" the" question."In" other" words," street" vendors" have" with" the" police" an" arrangement" that" looks" very," very" similar"to"a"formal"contract." In " fact"in"an"instance,"a"vendor"told" us"that"she"was"not" paying"the"p olice" but"the"district"administration ,"f or"unclear"reason s ."Still,"when"we" asked" if " the" police" came" asking" her" for" payment," she" answered" that" she" was" not" bothered,"since"she"had"a"receipt"from"the"administration."The"bribe" is"so"close"from" a"contract" that"it"seems " to"give"you"a" right," right" that" is" respected"by"other"actors," including"powerful"ones.""

" Then," how"modern " or" formal " is " Bangkok’s" cops " based" on" these" stories?"On" the"one"hand," they" accept"bribes"on"a"monthly"basis"and"allow"people"to"break"the" law" in" a" permanent" fashion." On" the" other" hand," they" control" the" space" of" the" sidewalk"through"highly" formalized"pricing"and"contract_ like"arrangement,"leaving"a" paper" trail " and" recognizing" righ ts"associated"with" the"payment"of" rent,"whether" to" them" or" other" legitimate" actors." This" situation" is" not" either" a" transitional" state" toward" modernity" or" back" to" tradition;" none" of" the" interviewees" recalled" a" real" change"in"the"way"the"police"handled"the"s idewalks"since"they"started"working"there," and"everyone" seemed"quite"confident" that"it"would"not"change"in" the"near" future," even"if"a"new"station"came"up"next"door." "

" To" make" the" point" clear," another" story" can" be" told." As" we" were" asking" an" interviewee"sell ing"iced"drinks"on"the"street"next"to"Ph aya thai"station"if"the"business" was"good," she"answered" that"indeed,"it"was."Then," she"added" that"is"was"not"very" important" to" her" because" she" received" a"monthly" pay" regardless" of" the" sales." She" was"actually" part" of"a" franchise," selling" iced" teas"and" coffees " for"a" brand" that"was" operating" like" many" similar" carts" over" the" city" _ " carts" completely" indistinguishable" from"any"other"ones"apart"from"a"cardboard"covering"a"bit"of"its"front."Later,"we"met" a"woman"at"Makkasan" selling" orange"juice"in"a" similar"arrangement," but" earn ing" a" percentage" o f " the" daily" sales." How" traditional" are" these" vendors?" They" sell" simple" drinks" illegally" on" the" street," bribing" their" right" to" use" the" sidewalk." Also," they"

represent" a" brand" and" touch" a" stable" monthly" wage," and" expressed" no" particular" concern"about"the"security"of"their"job"– " how"different"from"a"cashier"at"McDonald?""

It"makes"little"sense"to"just"multiply"the"examples"here." The"point"is"that" the" only" way" to" make" sense" of" these" stories" is" to" admit" that" the" modern/traditional" dichotomy"i s" rather"imprecise,"and"that"amalgams" of"both" exist."These"amalgams"are" situations"where"elements" of " both"categories"are"associated,"not"because" they"are"in" a" process" of" transformation" but" because" there" is" logic " in " maintaining" their" dual" nature. "




So" how" do" we" make" sense" of" any" of" this?" Can" the" future" of" the" station" simultaneously" imply" a" process" of" modernization" as" well" as" a" process" of" traditionalization?" We"intend"to" show,"using"examples " from"our"fieldwork,"that"this" is"not"a"paradox." " While" modernists"and"anti _ modernists"differ" from"the"other"on"the" attribution" of"meaning"and"value," both" have" one" thing"in" common;" they" share" the" same" framework" of" time." For" both," a" modernization" of" the" existing" station" infrastructure" (whether"positive"or"negative)" represents"a" rupture"in" time," and" one" seems" able" to" distinguish" a " “before”" and" an" “after” " situation ." The" debate" merely" rests"on"which"is"better,"the"past"or"the" future"and" so"we"get"a" debate" of"the"sort:" “Defenders" of" the" past" vs."Harbingers" of" the" future” ." " In" this" vision," modernization" and" traditionalization" are" two" opposite" processes," one" destroying" or" replacing" the" other."For"modernists"as"well"as"anti _ modernist,"it"is"a s"if"“ modern" times"are" really" passing," eliminating" everything" in" their" path”" (Bruno" Latour," We* have* never* been* Modern ) " – " in"other"words," there"is"a"conflict"in"which" two"opposite"dynamics" fight" for"the"same"spaces,"and"these"spaces"are"for"now"somewhere"in " between,"waiting" for"one"of"the"side"to"win"and"finally"settle"its"future." When"one"of"the"sides " wins,"it" creates"a"rupture,"and"one"can"say"“finally,"this"space"is"modern”"or"“thank"God,"this" space"is"saved"from"modernity”."""

This" idea" is " easier" to" imagi ne" by" using" graphs." Graph." 1" represents" a" uni dimensional" vision" of" time" and"modernity." Any" situation" can" be" plotted" on" this" graph,"by"evaluating"how"modern"or"traditional"it"is"at"a"certain"instant."As"time"goes" on,"there"are" only"three"options:"the" situation"remains"unchanged," it"becomes"more" modern,"or"it"becomes"more"traditional."We"reject"this " uni dimensional"scale"of"time," because"it"is"incoherent"with"our"field"observation."We"have"shown"how"amalgams" contradict" the" idea" that"modernity" and" tradition" are" two" opposite" poles," and" how" modernity" and" tradition" were" sets" of" preferences" that" were" largely" not" contradictory." "


Graph .! 1!



Using" a" similar" metaphor," our" position" is" that" an" additional" axis" should" be" inserted ."Then," the" horizontal"axe" would" represent"a" “level" of"modernization”"and" the"vertical"axe" a"“level"of"tradition”."Any"state"of"reality"could"be"projected"on"this" table:"the"more"on"the"right,"the"more"modern,"and"the"higher,"the"more"traditional." Then," as" time" pass es " and" a" place" i s" transformed," it" states" would" not" have" to" be" described"as"getting"more"modern"or"more"traditional"exclusively,"but"could"do" both" at"the"same"time,"or"one"without"another." "

Graph.!2! !



An"example"of"the" zero _ sum"game" implied"in"Graph."1" would"be"that"as"the" railway" station" is" upgraded," traditional" street" vendors" give" way" to" modern" commercial" boutiques " (movement" from" A" to" A’," Graph." 1) ." Depending" on " one’s" perspective,"this"change" could" be" interpreted " differently."In"a"moderni st"perspective," it"would" be"welcome " because" newcomers"make"a" significant" financial" contribution" befitting" of" an" age" where" infrastructure" financing" must" be" recovered" through" commercialization." In" an" anti _ modernist"perspective,"it"would"be" damaging" because" it" privileges" vendors" based" on" th eir" capacity" to" pay" and" essentially" destroys" pre_ existing"street"commerce." " However," an" “ amodern ” " look"at"the"situation"offers"other" possible"results"of"an"upgrade. "

An"alternate"possibility"is"a"movement" from"A" to"D"on"Graph."2"and"indeed" coherent" with" what" we" have" observed" on" the" field." To" continue" the" example," the" modern" infrastructure" is " not" incompatible"with"street"commerce,"which"in"fact"tends" to" grow" around" the" station" unless" controlled." Thus," our" framework" offers" a" possibility" where" a" movement" in" time" can" represent" a" win _ win" situation" for" both" modernists"and"anti _ modernists ."This"is"not"only"because"tradition"is"resilient"(same" street"vendors"may" relocate" to"a"s pot)"but"also"a"direct"outcome"of"modernization" (new"street"vendors"may"set"up"shop"outside"a"new"station)."This"is"possible"because" the"governance"on"the"street"(street"police)"is"different"from"those"who"have"control" of"space"inside"the"station.""

Another" example" can" be" quoted" from" our" discuss ion " with" a" group" of" motorcycle" taxi"drivers"outside" Ph ayat hai" station."O n e" of" them" told"us" that" he"had"


nearby"BTS"station ," fourteen"years"ago " as"well"as"before"the"opening"of"the"Airport" Link," three"years"ago."We"asked"him"if"any"these"structures"had"changed"anything"for" him," and" he" essentially" said" that" it" did" not," because" even" if" they" were" certainly" bringing"more" customers," they" were" als o" bringing"more"motorcycle" taxi s ." In" other" words,"mass" transport"systems" that"a re"allowing" rich"citizens" to"go"quickly" through" the"city"were"also"leading" to"an"increase"in" the"number"of"moto _ taxi"drivers"in" the" very"same"space."In"other"words,"we"found"tha t"it"was"frequent"that" both"“tradition”" and"“modern”"practices"could" grow"simultaneously." "

It"must"be"noted"that"such"a"win _ win"situation"is " not"automatic;"our"point"is" to" primarily" show" that" it" is" a" possibility." After" showing" that" the" two" are" not" incompatible,"we"can"then"focus"on"how"policy"can"actively"organize"it."Rather"than" focus" on" the" conflict," the" next" section" will" zoom" in to" the" potential" for" such" complementarities." The" aim" is" to" explore" how" missed" opportunities" (from" both" perspectives)" can" be" tapp ed" into," and" the" station" of" the" future" can" support" be" an " amalgam" of" the"best"of"both"tradition"and"modernity." "





This"paper"looked"at"the"future"prospects"of"the"terminal"station"of" a"century" old" railway" line" that " is" tagged" for" modernization" in" the" new" mass" transit" plan" of" Bangkok." To" build" this" prospective" understanding," we" documented" the" changes" in" the"organization"of"space"brought"about"by"the"Airport"Link,"which"for"us"is"symbolic" of"the"new"generation"of"rail _ based"infrastructure"for"suburban"commute."The"most" striking" difference" between" Wongwian " Yai" station" and" the" newer" design" was " the" purely"transportational"objective"of"the"latter."Wongwian " Yai"was"a"transit"space"for" passengers" but" also" a" market ," a" meeting" spot" and" an" entertainment" area" for" residents"of" the"neighbourhood," with"which" the" station"was" seamlessly"integrated." By" contrast," the" stations" on" the" Airport" Link" (similar" to" the" new" BTS" and" MRT" stations)" are" bounded"physically"and"symbolically"from"the"rest"of"the"urban"fabric." They"were"designed"as" spaces " purely"for"transit,"where"one"marches"on"to"catch"the" next"train"without"stopping"unless"necessary."This"reflects"a"modern"understanding" of" train _ stations" as" transit" oriented" spaces" exclusively," designed" as" nodes" in" the" transport" network" rather" than" a" place" to" be" used" in" itself," made" ever" more" conspicuous"by"the"lack"of"sitting"spaces" and"toilets " in"the"newer"stations."If"space"is" allocated"for"commercial"activity,"it"is"purely"with"the"objective"of"raisi ng"revenues"to" finance" the" new" infrastructure," and" not" to" make" the" station" a" hub" for" non_ passengers." "

The" modernist" tendency" of" ordering" space" so" as" to" increase" specialization" and"separation"of" functions"led"to"a"cleaner"and"less"congested"space."At"the"same" time," sometimes" the" apparent" disorder" had" been" sanitized" to" such" a" great" extent" that" the" only" users " in" the" new" space" left" were" cleaning" staff" and" security" guards ." Makkas an" station" was" a" striking" example" of" this. " It" had" a" major" problem" in" generating"high"passenger"volumes"because"what"it" was" planned"for"did"not"happen;" some"functions"for"which"it"was"des igned"such"as"airline"check_ in"services"had"little" demand" and" hence" had" to" be" closed" down," resulting" in" abandoned" infrastructure." While"the"station"space"was"highly"controlled"inside,"outside"new"uses"had"begun"to" emerge." There" i s" a" taxi" stand" without" taxi s" and" motorcycle_ taxis" without" a" motorcycle"taxi"stand,"f ood" vendors"had " started"to"set"up"shop s " on"the"footpath"who" for"now"had"clearly"escaped"the"eyes"of"the"invisible"state"(footpath"police)"as"they" were"not"paying"rent/bribe."The"emptiness"of"Makkasan " station"was"thus" in"contrast" with " the"buzz"at" Wongwian " Yai ," where"the"same"type"of"infrastructure"had"adapted" to"become"a"vibrant"social"space,"with" diverse " activities ,"broader"range"of"services," more" employment" for" locals," etc." In" large" part," the" reason" for" the" failure" of" Makkas an" to" be" a" hub" wa s" the" lack" of" coordinated" land _ use" and" transport" development ;" as" a" result," the" 80" hectares" of" land" around" the" station" is" yet" to" be" developed." But" once" again," the" current" plans" for" developing" this" land" is" a" very"

specific" type" of" development," specializing" it" into" revenue" generating" luxury" apartments rather" than" mixed functions" that" would" bring" a" more" diverse" ran ge" of" passengers"to"the"station." Land"development"of"course"is"a"separate"issue," but"even" in"Phayathai,"located"in"a"very"central"location"of"Bangkok," the"station"is"organized" very"differently"from"WongwianYai ."It"is " serving"as"a"highly"regulated"and"controlled" space," a"transit"point"for"passengers"and"not"a"place"to"be"used"in"itself."" "



This" difference" in" the" organization" and" regulation" of" space" led" us" to" label" Wongwian " Yai"station"as"a"“traditional”"setup ," characterized"by"mixed _ use," ordered" by"self _ organization ," in"contrast"to"the"“modern”"design"of"the"Airport"Link"stations," associated"with" specialized" functions" ordered" by" centralized" control."In" subscribing" to" this" language" of" categories," we" acknowledge" that" this" is" merely" a" construction" made" by" us" that" could" as" easily" be" deconstructed" by" a" more" sophisticated" postmodern" analysis." By" retaining" a" very" common" and" un _ academic" definition" of" these"categories,"we"were"instead"able"to"focus"on"the"way"the"two"interact"in"a"so_ called"process"of"modernization."We"took"the" ideal"types"of"traditional"and"modern" designs"of"railway"stations"as"our"starting"point"and"then"tried"to"question"what"sort" of" transforma tion" would" be" brought" about" by" the" modernization" of" a" traditional" railway" station."We" concluded ," somewhat"inspired" by" Latour’s " “ amodernism” ," that" modernization"should"not"be"looked"at"as"a"linear"process"that"erases"and"replaces" traditional"practices."Such"a"ruptured"sense"of"time"is"precisely"what"leads"many"to" think" of " cities" in" the" global" south" such" as" Bangkok" as " stuck" in" the" middle" of" a" traditional"past" and"in"need"for"modern"development."Instead"we"argued"that"as"we" move" forward" in" time," tradition" and" modernity" can" evolve" independently," sometimes" in" competition" sometimes" in" association ." In" a" linear" understanding" of" modernization," development" of" traditional" activities" in" and" around" modern" space" would" be" seen" as" a" pathology," ups etting" the" modernization" agenda." It" can" be" observed" everywhere" around" the" world," that" some" actors" within" the" State" fight" against"encroachers"and " street_ vendors"because"their"presence"contradicts " a"certain" vision"for" the"city. "



We" conclude" that" in" any"modernization" plans," it" should" be" recognized" that" the" outcome" wi ll" be" a" mix" of" old" and" new." Any" plan" trying" to" shape" actions" to" conform"to"the"new"design"will"invariably"have"unanticipated"uses"emerge"around"it" that" could" be"more" or"less" regulated," repressed" or"allowed" to" proliferate."When"it" begins" to" look" like" a" situation" of" anomaly," where" traditional" elements" proliferate" nex t"to"modern"ones"or"vice"versa,"it"only"means"that"the"transformation"is"reflecting" the"adapting"needs"of"a"society. " We"therefore"argue"that"if"planning"seeks"to" meet"

the" needs"and"demands"of"all,"instead"of"treating"elements"associated"with"tradition" as" an" object" of" control" that" needs" to" be" repressed," it" should" be" accepted" as" and" when"it"pops"up"on"modernized"territory. "

We"can"then"get"out"of"a"simplistic"debate"about"whether"to"defend"the"past" and" bring" on" a" modern" future." Planning" for" co _ existence" will" n ot" only" be" a" more" adapted" needs_ based" approach," it" will" also" allow" a" combination" inspired" from" the" best" of" both" worlds." Pro _ actively" planning" for" co _ existence," while" keeping" in" mind" that"it"means"accepting"that" a)" every"thing"cannot"be"planned,"and" b) disju nction"and" contrast" is" normal " if" one" wants" to" develop" inclusive" train _ station s ," places " that" any" type" of" citizen" can" enjoy." Below" we" outline" some" concrete" measures" that" policy" makers"could"consider"in"a"station"upgradation"project. "



Practical"objectives"of"an"inclusive"amodern"design. "


encouraged" both" inside" the" station" as" well" as" area" development" around" the" station." For"example,"a"part"of" the"station"s hould"be"acc essible"without"fee"and" offer" sufficient"sitting"sp aces,"snacks"or"even"restaurant."Additionally,"drinks"and" food" should" be" allowed" on" the" platform." Land_ use" development" outside" the" station"should"be"heterogeneous,"including"high_ ends"as"well"as"low _end"services" and" facilities," public" spaces" as" well" as" private" spaces"and" businesses"as"well"as" residential"areas.""

2. ! Planning! for! emerging! uses ." D esign" should" be" flexible ," and" control" of" space" should"be"minimal"to"allow"new"uses"to"emerge ."Emerging " uses"are"resilient,"but" not" immortal," and" they" can" be" an" asset" as" well" as" a" nuisance." Therefore," the" design" of" any" social" spaces" should" be" based" on" the" assumption" that" they" will" appear,"and"then"try"to"make"sure"they"will"not"disrupt"essential"functions"of" the" facilities"and"instead"make"it"a"livelier"place."This"also"requires"an"open"mind" to" the"co _existence" of" traditional"a nd"modern"elements."Hawker" centr e s"could" for" example"be"created"on"the"ground"around"the"station,"with"rents"low"enough"to" allow"even"small"vendors"to"use"them ."

3." Planning!for!inter Kmodality :" Major"stations"become"local"hubs"in"the"city,"and" spaces" should" be" allocated" so" it" can" happen" without" worsening" the" traffic" or" taking"away"public"space."By"making"road_ systems"around"the"station"compatible" with" the" type" of" uses" that" can" be" seen" emerging" around" existing" station" (taxi" stands" not" only" for" car" taxi" but" other" formats" too)," planners" could" guarantee" efficient"co_ existence"of"multiple"systems. "



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