Working Paper, Institute of Urban and Regional Development 2007,06
On December 26, 2004, a massive undersea Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale, jarred the waters of the Andaman Sea. Approximately 580 kilometers off the coast of Thailand, it caused a devastating tsunami wave 10 meters in height to strike the coast of 6 provinces of western Thailand, completely destroying 47 villages and severely impacting 360 other villages. In February 2005, in response to the severe economic and environmental damage caused by the tsunami, Chote Soponpanich, President of the Thai Public Policy Foundation, contacted Robert Birgenau, Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, to explore a possible collaboration between the institutions in post-tsunami planning for sustainable tourism development. A partnership was formed between the 3 institutions, leveraging prior institutional connections with the Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute in Bangkok. From May to October 2005 the partnership developed it's first project Strategic Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development in Krabi Province. With support from the Thai Public Policy Foundation, a workshop comprising 10 graduate students from University of California, Berkeley and 10 graduate students from Chulalongkorn University with backgrounds in city planning, architecture, government, political science, and sociology conducted field research throughout Krabi Province.