Chawanad Luansang

Ashoka Fellow
Thailand,
Fellow Since 2008
Openspace Community Architects

Citation

This profile was prepared when Chawanad Luansang was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Chawanad and his Openspace collective of community architects have developed a holistic model for long-term rural and urban community revitalization that is driven by the villagers rather than government institutions. Chawanad believes that to solve the problems of poor communities in the long-term, villagers must be empowered to participate in their community revitalization strategies and to take the lead in their formulation. An architect by training, Chawanad begins by mobilizing communities to collectively address housing needs, but leverages this approach to encourage greater community activism. Recognizing that the Thai government’s top-down approaches to community development are frequently rejected by the communities they are designed to serve, Chawanad’s Openspace has demonstrated that the best solutions are those generated at the grassroots level and are supported—not overwritten—by outside technical capacity. This process leaves communities better prepared to manage future development issues such as resource shortages, natural disasters, and other external shocks that may arise in the long-term.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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