Modernization of Chiang Mai’s Infrastructural Space: A Case Study of its Electricity and Telecommunications Systems

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Sant Suwatcharapinun
Chiranthanin Kitaka


Since the 1950s, Chiang Mai’s infrastructure has gradually developed and modernized, culminating in its recent endorsement of smart city policies in 2018. We will explore how Chiang Mai’s development has changed and affected its residents by examining data related to both its historical development and the early stages of its new transformation policies. The aims of this paper are the following: 1) to gather data, including an architectural survey, that maps the changes in Chiang Mai’s electrical and telecommunications systems from the 1950s to today, 2) to examine the city’s historical transformation since the 1950s through the notion of infrastructural space, and 3) to further illustrate the development of Chiang Mai’s infrastructural space in relation to smart city policies. This research utilizes qualitative methods and combines data from various sources, such as historical photos of Chiang Mai city and interviews with key informants, including the head of Chiang Mai Electrical Substation 1-2-3, a high-level electrical engineer, and the curator of the Telephone Museum Northern District. The following highlights can be illustrated: 1) the infrastructural space in the city lacks coordination and has become chaotic, 2) smart city policies seem to be dissociated from any historical development of infrastructural space of Chiang Mai city, and 3) The public and private sectors in Chiang Mai approach the development of infrastructural space differently.

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Suwatcharapinun, S. ., & Kitaka, C. . (2023). Modernization of Chiang Mai’s Infrastructural Space: A Case Study of its Electricity and Telecommunications Systems. Journal of Mekong Societies, 19(3), 54–77. Retrieved from


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