Development and Urbanization
This paper identifies the relationship between the Wua-Lai area in the southern part of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and the contemporary urban condition of the city as a whole. The research study has been conducted through two Buddhist temple-orientated neighbourhoods at the heart of the area traditionally associated with silver crafts. This raises questions about the contemporary role of crafts in the neighbourhood: On the one hand, although a theoretical concept and framework to explain the existence of Wua-Lai silver village/neighbourhood was indeed worked out in the past, this has been rendered largely by new developments over the last ten years. Thus, in this case, what aspects of this framework might remain applicable in explaining the issue of neighbourhood nowadays? On the other hand, the emergence of new forms of living and uses have transformed the socio-economic reality of the area in various ways, creating a potential link for new integration with the city. Wua-Lai seems to be the target of short-term government projects rather than subject to a long-term approach for sustainable development taking into account the ways in which the neighbourhood could actually move forward sustainably as both a craft and temple-orientated area within the rapid transformation of the contemporary modern city as a whole. The paper will be based on evidence and materials collected through an architectural approach on urban studies. It will explore the challenges that evidence presents for our current understanding about the potential role of Buddhist-Craft knowledge neighbourhoods within contemporary Chang Mai urbanism.