Kotchakorn Voraakhom

Callie Giovanna—TED

In 2011, Thailand suffered its worst flooding in half a century, stranding families, including landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom’s. In response, Voraakhom set out to populate the Thai capital with climate-resilient green spaces as buffers against the annual tempests. After winning a contract to build Bangkok’s first public park in three decades, she created an 11-acre “thirsty” plot capable of absorbing 1 million gallons of water through a combination of sloped gardens, wetlands and a retention pond. Later this year, her firm Landprocess will open a second, 36-acre park featuring the biggest urban farming green roof in Asia. As climate-related emergencies strike cities around the world, Voraakhom says, architects must rise to the challenge. “If we keep building business as usual, our survival will be at stake.” —Laignee Barron

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