Overview: The area behind the city wall by Mahakan Fort
was slated to be turned into a "tourist park" (like Santichaiprakarn Park) which would involve the relocation of a community of people
living in old wooden houses and shanties on the site. Activists
have countered with proposals to use part of the land which
is already unoccupied for a park and allow the residents to
stay. The push to remove the community seems to have lost steam amid the political turmoil of 2006.
City Hall to delay evictions - Bangkok Post, April 9, 2008
...The community behind the centuries-old
fort on Ratchadamnoen avenue sits on a four-rai land plot which is set
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin has indicated he prefers a
compromise to eviction. But the expropriation decree demands prompt
eviction of the community, a move backed by the Council of State which
was asked by City Hall to look into the legal aspects of the issue.
''We've never wanted to drive them out. In fact, we want to fix their
problems,'' said Mr Buddipongse at yesterday's meeting.
Up to 312 residents of the Mahakarn Fort community have fought for 14
years to maintain the community, which has been earmarked for
development into a public park.
Community leader Tawatchai Voramahakun said the legal changes would be
a solution to the problem.
However, a source said it was against the principle of any law to
change the decree to benefit a certain group of people. The fact
remained that the community is on public land.
The Golden Mount from the parking
lot behind the city wall.
Mahakan Fort community awaiting decision on its future
- The Nation, January 19, 2006
...Visitors to the community can still see early Rattanakosin-period
(late 18th century) traditional Thai houses, with their characteristic
large open spaces underneath; Western-style houses built during
the reigns of King Rama V (1868-1910) and Rama VII (1925-1934);
and modern wooden houses up to 50 years old. The wooden houses
are crowded together without fences, Chatri pointed out in his
initial research proposal...
deal saves Mahakan Fort community - Preserved as village of
vintage houses - Bangkok Post,
December 7, 2005
The remaining residents of Mahakan Fort community are now
technically safe from eviction as the city administration has
agreed to their plan to develop the area into a village of preserved
vintage wooden houses...
Chatree Prakitnontakarn, of Silpakorn's faculty of architecture,
said about 10% of the remaining houses may have to be demolished
for the project development...
"Urban development is bad news for residential communities.
For me, the idea of urban development is to keep the affected
community first and figure out how to develop the area later,"
secrets: Inside Fort Mahakan
Also: A walk through the Mahakan Fort
A related story: Removing the Soi
Map of the Mahakan Fort Park
- December 2, 2005
City plan for the Mahakan Fort/Golden Mount area photographed on a
Mahakan Fort community bulletin board. Note that it requires the removal
of the row of shophouses in front of Golden Mount that makes up the
old lumber district.
demolishes house in Fort Mahakan community -
The Nation, November 29, 2005
After 13 years of conflict, the first house in the Fort Mahakan
community was razed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)
Tuesday. This happened despite disagreement of other 38 homeowners
who did not take compensation money from the city.
Ten more homes were the next to be demolished since the homeowners
have received all compensation payments, BMA Public Works Department
director Banyat Ooyyamwong said Tuesday...
FORT: BMA, residents in tense stand-off -
The Nation, August 19, 2005
Passions run high as the remaining community members continue to
resist efforts to evict them from historic area. City council officials
were abused and came close to being attacked when they tried to enter
the Mahakarn Fort community yesterday, reportedly to do a survey...
The officers were allowed into the community and posted notices on
every door telling villagers to move out before October. Throughout
their visit the villagers repeated they would not comply with an enforced
BMA renews efforts
to clear fort community - Bangkok Post, August 19, 2005
..."We are terribly sorry. But the city administration already
made a decision to clear the community as the project has been delayed
for over 13 years,'' Mr Apirat told the residents who lined up to
prevent the team of officials from getting into the community.
FORT: Apirak snubs locals trying to save homes
- The Nation, March 25, 2005
Mahakan Fort suit rejected - The Nation,
March 9, 2005
...The lower Administrative Court earlier ruled that of the 104
community members, only 13 were damaged parties with the right to
claim compensation for expropriated land. The court ruled that the
BMA had the right to proceed with the demolition of the damaged parties
houses because they had received 75 per cent of the compensation but
failed to remove their assets from the land within 60 days. The higher
court upheld the decision on the same grounds...
city's right to evict residents - Bangkok Post, March 9,
The Supreme Administrative Court yesterday upheld the lower court's
endorsement of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's right to
evict residents of Fort Mahakan community to turn the area into a
Mahakan Fort: City may
allow long-term lease - Bangkok Post,
December 7, 2004
City hall may agree to allow residents of Mahakan Fort to lease
the disputed land instead of relocating them. Abhayuth Chatarabha,
adviser of the Four Region Slums Network, said the residents had high
hopes they would be able to stay on under a 30-year lease contract,
ending a decade-long land conflict between the state and the people...
First look at the Mahakan Fort park -
August 13, 2004
Full-size image (589kb). The wooden
houses are still there, but the parking lot area by the pier has been
turned into a park.
Missing Mahakan Fort
house - May 3, 2004
One of the most atmospheric houses in the Mahakan Fort community
is gone (left).
'shut out' from city fort plan, Bangkok Post, April
25, 2004) ...the community has lost one of its ancient teak
houses which was demolished by its owner.
Initially, the community had intended to buy the two-storey
house, built 100 years ago, and turn it into a community museum,
but the owner sold it to someone else it so they lost their
Above: August 31, 2003 -
Below: May 2, 2004
'shut out' from city fort plan - Bangkok
Post, April 25, 2004
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is ignoring the public
with its plan to develop Pom Mahakarn Fort into a park for tourists,
The old community would be evicted under the development plan, approved
by the Committee for Conservation and Development of Rattanakosin
and Old Towns.
...The eviction of the fort community caused panic in other communities
occupying the inner part of Rattanakosin who feared that the state
officials might try to kick them out too.
Meanwhile, Pornthep Buranaburidet, a fort resident, said the community
has lost one of its ancient teak houses which was demolished by its
Initially, the community had intended to buy the two-storey house,
built 100 years ago, and turn it into a community museum, but the
owner sold it to someone else it so they lost their chance.
men move in to uproot community park - Bangkok
Post, Janaury 21, 2004
Army men moved in yesterday to uproot the Mahakarn Fort community
park so that it could be replaced by a new public park designed by
the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration... Sakchai Boonma, of BMA's
Public Works Department, confirmed the eviction plan. He lashed out
at activists and academics who lent support to the residents, saying
their occupancy, which was unlawful, would not be tolerated.
Phan Fah Pier moved - January 15, 2004
Wisarut reports: Phan Fah Pier has been moved the bank opposite
near King Prajadhipok Museum to allow the creation of a new park around
Mahakan Fort. It has a budget of 9 million baht for grass and trees,
the renovation a 100-year-old building with the dimension 6 x 12 meters,
and an archeological excavation of the area.
It seems that instead of removing the entire community as originally
planned, authorities are starting with the park area and are going
to restore rather than demolish the mystery building near the Phan
Fah Pier. Residents had previously pointed out that the date on the
building and the design were worthy of study and preservation. No
word on when or if the rest of the wooden houses will be removed.
ruling due - Bangkok Post, August 29,
The Administrative Court is expected to rule today on Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration plans to evict residents of Mahakan Fort in the Rattanakosin
area to make way for a public park....
...the Mahakan Fort community dates back to the early Rattanakosin
era of Bangkok, to the late 18th century, and some scholars who recognise
the importance of the fort want it preserved and its residents given
the opportunity to stay where they are and maintain their livelihoods.
...The eviction of the community would undermine the constitution,
which recognises the rights of communities to a say in development
projects. The problem goes beyond city regulations. The United Nations
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has raised the possibility
of the move violating international laws on human rights with the
loses battle in court - Bangkok Post,
August 21, 2003
Probably best to see it while you can... This is the kind of situation
where an unfortunate accidental fire occurs and clears the land: The
Mahakan Fort community lost a battle with the Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration yesterday as the Administrative Court backed the city's
efforts to evict them...
Michael Herzfeld, an anthropologist from Harvard University, urged
the BMA to review its eviction position. The city could lose a great
opportunity to create a slice of Bangkok culture that would attract
tourists. No western tourists would be interested in a plain park,
but a community within a park would make for a real tourist attraction.
``The BMA wants a park, now the community has created its own park
in the place,'' he said. The professor lauded the community's land-sharing
proposal in which residents agreed to give up part of their land for
a public park. The BMA had ignored the proposal, which was backed
by academics and housing rights activists.
From the Post:
Deputy city clerk Sanan Tothong refused to discuss
whether the army had been approached to help. However, Mahakan residents
said a group of men in green had surveyed the place twice. The visits
sparked fears about the use of force.
dwellers get support - Bangkok Post,
July 31, 2003
City council chairman Samart Maluleem yesterday voiced support
for a land-sharing proposal for Mahakarn Fort residents, saying the
city administration should allow them to continue living in the area.
about old buildings - Bangkok Post, July
houses threatened by city hall's eviction plans
- Bangkok Post, July 14, 2003
Court rules city hall may evict residents -
Bangkok Post, August 30, 2003
The Administrative Court yesterday ruled in favour of city hall
in the Mahakan Fort land dispute, paving the way for it to uproot
the century-old community. Chief Judge Pornchai Manassiripen said
city hall's eviction, issued on Jan 24 this year by Governor Samak
Sundaravej and Winai Limsakul of the Public Works Department, was
legal because the administration had completed all required eviction
procedures in May 1995, when it partly paid compensation to eligible