Executive Summary Pakse Rapid Green Infrastructure Assessment
August 12, 2011
Pakse is well endowed with natural surroundings. The Mekong and Xedon rivers and the nearby mountains contribute to Pakse having one of the finest settings of any town in Laos. This is a major advantage for a town seeking to become a city and to further establish its role as an important regional centre for commerce and tourism. This natural advantage should be treasured and should not be taken for granted.
Green infrastructure is the network of open spaces, water and other natural resources within and adjacent to the urban area. These resources combine to sustain clean air, enrich the urban environment, and generally contribute to the quality of life of the residents. In Pakse the green infrastructure includes the following:
- The east and west banks of the Mekong
- The banks of the Xedon
- The major streams in and adjacent to the urban area
- Urban parks and open spaces
- Roadside planting
- Sports facilities
- Adjacent hillsides
- Built heritage
The existing condition of the green infrastructure in the study area is a reflection of minimal impacts from human activity thus far, rather than any concerted effort to protect them. To date there has been only very limited control over the impacts of development on the natural environment. In the face of the sustained economic and physical growth of Pakse, these environmental resources are coming increasingly under threat, and impacts are becoming more apparent. To protect and manage the resources effectively will require a significant improvement in the efforts and commitment made towards conservation, development control, and environmental management generally. There is also an opportunity now to improve the quality of open spaces within the urban area. This opportunity will be lost, or made more difficult, if action is not taken swiftly to protect existing resources.
At present the public has relatively poor access to the natural open spaces such as the riverbanks and hillsides. There are almost no facilities to enable people to relax and enjoy these natural surroundings. There are also very few attractive open spaces in the urban area such as parks and gardens. The few that exist are mostly very small. The one large one, Sanaam Deng, is not well maintained and offers no shade or other facilities. (…)