Industrial developments challenging planning and research endeavours around Songkla Lake

Ulrik Jørgensen, Erik Hagelskjær Lauridsen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    The unique character of the Songkla Lake Basin (SLB) and its regional status as the southern region of Thailand has brought this area into attention both in the national and international policies for regional development. SLB has matched the international planning interests in managing water resources to counter environmental degradation as well as the focus on re-gional developments including the variety of aspects involved in building a sustainable future including economic development, cultural diversity, natural resources and environmental pro-tection.Besides from a national strategy for energy supplies and industrial development in the SLB developed in relation to the central role of the SLB in the Thai Malaysian ‘southern growth triangle’. two major studies have focused on the coupling of economic and environ-mental developments leading to major plans for SLB. The Thai government has had several broad committees engaged in supporting these planning issues and resolve the conflicts be-tween different stakeholder interests in the regions development. The paper gives an overview over the types of problems that have been addressed in these major plans and studies and the types of managerial and technical solutions that have been suggested in relation to the pool of available scientific knowledge on these issues. In both scientific practice and in regional planning there is an implicit anticipation of an acting body and a coherent object of study and control. The acting body is seen as a political subject (e.g. in the form of a government or an agency) that can take on the task of changing the course of development while the body to be managed is considered available for investigation and ma-nipulation. In relation to the SLB a series of large committees have been established, but the specific outcomes of the planning and the scientific result seem to be rather limited. In an attempt to find an explanation to this gap between planning and advice on one hand and the implementation on the other, it is important not only to look for policy answers. These would typically be ‘lack of political will’, ‘lack of stakeholder participation’, ‘no coher-ent and coordinated plan’, ‘lack of institutional capacity’ and ‘too diverse interests’. These may have certain relevance but the basic multitude of scientific contribution each focusing on single aspects of the problem and the complex character of the problems raises the need for a much more diverse set of actions. Where the big planning efforts on one hand seem to bring almost all aspects of the problem into focus, their end result turn out to be rather rigid plan-ning models and quite demanding political decisions that may not be taken. The paper concludes with suggestions for the regional universities on how to engage in this process in the future, recognizing the fact that universities themselves represent a multi-tude of ways of voicing the problems of SLB, future policies, and management strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGreening of Industry conference : Electronic proceedings
    Place of PublicationHong Kong
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    Event12th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network - Hong Kong, Japan
    Duration: 7 Nov 200410 Nov 2004
    Conference number: 12


    Conference12th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network
    CityHong Kong


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