Friday Future Lister: Sustainability and Community: The Core Values of Yossapon Boonsom's Work

Yossapon Boonsom's sustainable urban designs, emphasising community involvement and green infrastructures on World Water Day.

Today, on World Water Day, the story of Yossapon Boonsom, one of Koktail 2024 Future List and a Thai landscape architect, becomes especially relevant as Koktail reflects on the importance of sustainable water management and the role of innovative green infrastructures in urban settings.

Yossapon, the founding director of Shma Company Ltd., has dedicated his career to enhancing urban landscapes through designs that serve a greater environmental and societal purpose. His work, embedded in the principles of eco-practices and community involvement, resonates with the ethos of World Water Day: valuing and preserving our most precious resource, water.

His journey began with a vision of transforming his native Bangkok, a city once characterised by its stark urban sprawl, into a green, livable, and inclusive metropolis. His passion as a child evolved into a mission to reimagine the urban landscape of his hometown.

Shma Company Ltd.: Merging Nature and Urban Life

Through Shma Company Ltd., Yossapon and his team have worked on numerous projects across Thailand and the Asia Pacific. Their goal is to combine nature with city life, creating spaces where people and the environment can live together peacefully.

‘Shma’ means ‘the Earth’ and at Shma, they turn abandoned areas throughout the city into public spaces that provide people recreational, creative and inclusive spaces. For river, they think rivers are essential to human life, but over time we've disconnected from them. So, they propose innovative approaches to bring back relationships between the river and people.

Friends of the River (FOR)

One of Yossapon's most notable contributions is his co-founding of the Friends of the River (FOR) with the aim of being a creative force that stimulates social awareness and participation in the creative development of the Chaophraya River. The principle is to encourage a sustainable relationship between the city, community, and the river through a public participation process.

By focusing on participatory design and involving local communities in the process, Yossapon's work seeks to create spaces that are both environmentally conscious and culturally and socially meaningful.

Water for Peace

His projects align closely with the "Water for Peace" theme of this year's World Water Day. By focusing on sustainable water use and green spaces in cities, his work helps ensure everyone has fair access to clean water. This approach makes urban areas more livable and prevents conflicts over water resources.

Yossapon's efforts show how managing water wisely can support peace and cooperation among communities. His work exemplifies how innovative design can mitigate urban water issues, flooding, pollution, and the heat island effect.