London university students study Pattaya low-income housing project

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Fourteen British university students learned how some low-income Pattaya residents became homeowners when they joined their Thai counterparts to study the Baan Munkhong development.

The students from University College London toured the Khao Noi and Nernrodfai neighborhoods with students from five Bangkok universities May 8. The study project was organized by Pattaya’s Social Welfare Department, the Community Organization Development Institute and Asian Housing Development Foundation.

Cassidy Johnson PhD (right), lecturer at the University College London presents a souvenir to Nanthanapas Khaengkhan, president of the Ban Munkhong Ban Nernrodfai, as a token of gratitude. Cassidy Johnson PhD (right), lecturer at the University College London presents a souvenir to Nanthanapas Khaengkhan, president of the Ban Munkhong Ban Nernrodfai, as a token of gratitude.

Ban Munkhong is a 100 million baht pilot partnership between the city and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The ministry announced in September it would allocate 37.8 million baht to fund 4 percent home loans and 46.7 million baht for construction of 290 homes over 15 years. Pattaya earmarked a contribution of another 15.2 million baht to support the program.

The project is just one of six the students are studying as part their education on housing issues, architecture and construction. UCL lecturer Cassidy Johnson said she brought the students to Thailand to give them practical experience at solving housing issues.

“Baan Munkhong is an interesting project that is internationally well known. Very few countries have started this kind of innovative project, which allows people with low incomes to be able to stand on their own feet by cooperating to build their homes and receive full sponsorship from the government,” Johnson said.

Student Ariel Shepherd said she was impressed by the welcome the UCL undergrads received and at being allowed to study alongside the Thai students. “I learned that this is a very strong community that has excellent advance planning strategies with excellent information networks and sponsorship from Pattaya’s government,” she said.

Wasinee Ruangrith, head of the Khao Noi phase of the Baan Munkhong project, said she was glad to see the development has become an educational site. “It’s like a library for students to learn more and more,” she said.