Secretary-General, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
Board of Trustee, International Institute for Environment and Development
Dr. Somsook Boonyabancha is the secretary-general of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR), an alliance of professionals, and community organizations for urban poor housing problems and development in Asia. She has been actively contributing her expertise and insight on community-led development to drive a resilient community, particularly in urban collective housing, slum upgrading, land management, innovative approach to housing finance, disaster rehabilitation, and community welfare in Thailand and across Asia for 30 years. Formerly she also worked as the Director of Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI) in Thailand. During her time at CODI, she initiated a national urban upgrade plan and it has been executed in almost 300 cities.
In one of her interviews, she explained on collective housing that “When people live together there are a lot of social elements in that; you are actually bringing scattered people to live together in an unorganized manner. If we are going to make a more secure public housing option for these people, we must think of this community dimension. We can’t just look at the physical form of houses or material for the houses like a person’s body, we also need soul”.
She obtained her architecture degree from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Then she continued her housing and urbanization course in Copenhagen, Denmark, and received Doctor Honoris causa (Architecture) from Khon Kaen University.