Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo
This study focuses on the mechanisms and institutions for the governance of public spaces on Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand. Khao San offers immense opportunity for vendors, as it is crowded with tourists all day. This factor is of utmost importance to the success of businesses. Therefore, competitions for prime vending spots on the road have been going on for years. Under these circumstances, public spaces are transformed into private goods that can be traded, transferred and deprived in reality.
The findings suggest that both external and internal mechanisms have stimulated the commodification of public spaces on Khao San Road over the past decades. The external mechanisms are tourism and multinational capitalist economy. The internal mechanism relates to community norms on the de facto individual rights over public spaces. These mechanisms have developed unofficial rules to work at an operational level with official rules supervised by officials. A critical outcome of these mechanisms and rules is the determination of the right to access and use public spaces by various groups of stakeholders.
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