Anyone who says “New York is the city that never sleeps” has never been to Bangkok. Buying, selling, cooking, cutting, spitting, begging, sleeping, eating — it is happening all at once, at all hours of the day and night.
There is something so refreshing to see life moving at such a rapid pace. It puts you in the position of a grand observer — it makes you see how incredibly resourceful people can be when demand is high and regulation of enterprise is low. It reminds me to look carefully at the inherently dynamic and productive state of informality and what would be understood to be productive ecologies. The exchange between producers and consumers is instant and direct. And the benefits of this rapid exchange seem to be overwhelmingly high.
The relationship between informal productivity, income levels and land management seem important to investigate. It would be interesting to map the levels of informal/formal productivity throughout Bangkok in order to better understand how this correlates with local resources, livelihood and space. Informal economies are embedded throughout the city fabric and also extend beyond Bangkok to link to global chains of production. But what specifically are the implications for the national economy and global economy? And, how does the pace of economic exchange or social enterprise change in different parts of the city?
It is clear that self-motivated productivity creates a dynamic quality to the streets, gives a temporal identity to each space where movement and change is the only constant. This seems to be an integral aspect of the culture of Bangkok. And in looking to the future it is important to better understand the larger implications of informal productivity and how this could relate to the process of reaching scale.