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Housing project in Doi Suthep mountains, Thailand

Local organizations reacted to the building of a housing complex in a protected area in Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai), north of Thailand. The conflict ended with the government returning the land and starting a reforestation program.


In 2015, the Thai government started building a housing complex for justice officials of the 5th Regional Appeal Court on the Doi Suthep mountain, close to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city. The project was located on land plots owned by the Treasury Department that were still forested. However, controversy raised in early 2018 when aerial images of the housing project started circulating on social media showing how the buildings were encroaching forested area and causing environmental impact [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Housing project in Doi Suthep mountains, Thailand
State or province:Chiang Mai
Location of conflict:Doi Suthep National Park
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Affected land: 147 rai (23.5 hectares)

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Project area:23.5
Level of Investment for the conflictive project31,128,400
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/01/2018
End of the conflict:06/05/2018
Relevant government actors:Treasury Department, Ministry of Justice, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Network for the Return of Doi Suthep Forest (, Doi Suthep Forestland Reclamation Network, Chiang Mai’s Green City Council
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Proposal and development of alternatives:Local organizations proposals only considered the recovery of the original forested area.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The government stopped the construction of houses and started the reforestation in the area.
Sources & Materials

[1] Thais rally against officials building homes on sacred mountain in Chiang Mai, AFP, April 28, 2018
[click to view]

[2] Human Rights Situation in Thailand, Paper by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Submitted to the UN Human Rights Council under the Second Cycle of the UPR
[click to view]

[3] Appropriation denuding Doi Suthep, The Nation, April 28, 2018
[click to view]

[4] Rally demands demolition of Doi Suthep housing, Bangkok Post, April 29, 2018
[click to view]

[5] Thailand: hundreds stage largest protest since start of military rule, Reuters, April 29, 2018
[click to view]

[6] Government to return Doi Suthep housing land plot to park, Bangkok Post, May 6, 2018
[click to view]

[7] Reforestation kicks off on Doi Suthep, The Nation, May 27, 2018
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Laura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3562
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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