The Thai version of this article was published earlier this month and while there has been news of the threat emerging from road construction thanks to the research of Luis Marcon at ChiangMaiCityNews.com the report below takes a different approach:
Attractions of Nimman
Story: Pakawat Sattarujawong , Kewalin Pimson , Supansa Kengmak with Ass.Prof.Dr. Pranom Tansukanun and Kon.Jai.Baan
Attractions … for Whom?
The mention of “Nimmanhemin” in Chiang Mai , evokes an image of hip street with a number of trendy shops, various chillout restaurants and party venues with live music at night. Even in many guide maps, those places are frequently referred to as the “Attractions” of Nimmanhemin area, for tourists from afar to visit and enjoy.
But are these the attractions we are talking about…?
From another point of view, Since the time the area was initially developed, Nimmanhemin has been known as “a superb residential area” with many facilities nearby such as the university, Suan Dok hospital and religious area.
Nimmanhemin is one of the first areas of Chiangmai set aside specifically for residential use. A number of university teachers, doctors and government officers moved in here some 40 to 50 years ago. If we walk through Nimmanhemin’s sois, we see some beautiful houses among the shops. Most of those houses are the Modern-style houses influenced by the Western Modern architectural movement and have been popular in Thailand into the 1970’s.
That makes Nimmanhemin not just a residential estate but also an example our local architectural history. This could be an example of a”Nimmanhemin Attraction” from other point of view(residential) which some might never think about when mentioning this district.
And why should we take note of this Attraction…?
Nimmanhemin’s inhabitants and district as of today
Nowadays Nimmanhemin is not only a residential area as it once was. Its convenience has brought many enterpreneurs and their businesses purpose here and transformed it into a hip commercial area from an outsider’s point of view. Dominant pubs and restaurants. These surely affect the residents, with for instance outdoor music which disturb the peace of night and traffic parking, congestion and pollution problems. We could see this during the community meetings, as “Problems” was the first topic of discussion everytime.
Sometimes the residents could compromise with the enterpreneurs, but sometimes a situation became more difficult. However, we could see some positive outcomes from this tough situation namely a “Strengthening of the community” even though mostly induced by the problems they face together.
An idea of using this strength for other positive purposes came from this point to improve the community cohesion rather than oppose each other. So we began to talk about “attractions” from aresidential point of view so that people from outside could see an other side of Nimmanhemin and what we did this by creating a small workshop at a recent community meeting.
Enjoyable workshop, Mapping their Nimman
So we have an oppotunity to create a tool to help the attendees find their attractions more easily. This is to show a map of Nimmanhemin with some sketches of the buildings on it, and let the attendees put on some colored stickers representing different topics – Their house (green), Their neighbors(Blue), Their favorite place(Pink), Their favorite restaurant(Orange) and Other things they want to mention(Yellow). The map also has some questionnaires with it: What are the values of Nimman in their opinion? and What are brings them happiness living in Nimmanhemin?
The atmosphere of this workshop was enjoyable and could them understand their community better. The result of their “Attractions of Nimmanhemin” survey showed much in common among the participants such as Green area, Convenient facilities for residential purposes, Modern housing architecture, Good taste restaurants, and also Having good neighbors. These answers could be the reason why this district still livable for them although Nimmanhemin has changed so greatly.
** This article doesn’t cover what the attendees and other inhabitants can do as a result of the workshop yet. **
Pakawat Sattarujawong with assistance with English by Ricky Ward (06/09/2012)