20 Dec 2021
Forest bathing is just a vague concept for Bangkok residents any longer; it’s a possibility currently in the making.
Derived from the Japanese word “shirin-yoku”, it refers to the power of trees and forest to boost your wellness. It basically points to something we all know deep down, that connecting with nature is good for your body and soul. And The Forestias, a property project in Bangkok’s eastern suburb of Bangna, is taking this to heart.
The Forestias, a forest neighbourhood project by MQDC, covers an area of almost 400 rai, and is set to be known as “The Smart Green City in Bangkok”, with residential zones, retail and office spaces, a hotel and health facilities, cultural and community centers as well as learning institutions, with green areas covering 56% of the total area. More significantly, it has set aside 3.75 rai in the centre of the project to be transformed into a deep jungle reserve with mature trees and vegetation, visited only by wildlife and forest rangers to ensure its ecological biodiversity.
There are several proven reasons that give rise to forest bathing. It refreshes our worn-out minds, the wood essence oils - or phytoncides - boost our immune system, plants have a healing benefit - it is a fact that children do better at school when they live near a park and patients heal better in a room with plants, green is a calming colour, it is an opportunity for digital detox and ignoring your phone for a while, and it encourages physical activity as well as family bonding time.
Before construction began, the project discovered over 53 plant species and 123 animal species within the project area. With our sustainability concept, we will let human and all living things live happily in harmony with the natural world without interrupting the balance of ecosystem. And not only has it attempted to preserve the existing flora and fauna, it has also introduced Forest Rescue, planting large trees that are at risk of being cut down due to construction elsewhere or other factors.
The urban forest has been initiated using the afforestation techniques of Prof Akira Miyawaki of Japan. Various native species of plants are planted close to each other, with careful composting, tending, and straw mulching. As plants receive sunlight only from the top, they are forced to grow upwards instead of sideways. Within three years, the trees should be maintenance free, and within 20 years they become a proper forest in contrast to 200 years for a conventional forest.
The forest will help boost biodiversity, reduce outdoor temperatures of the urban heat island (UHI) and filter dust and pollution. Apart from the forest canopy, UHI will also be reduced by replacing conventional air-conditioning units with a district cooling system, while a lake will provide overnight cooling. As a result, the temperature within the project is likely to be 3°C lower than outside.
To allow residents and visitors to enjoy the benefits of the forest canopy and for better connectivity, all public and community spaces are fully connected by a Residence Sky Walk, which means less reliance on automated transport, and allows you the perfect opportunity for “forest bathing” in every sense of the word.