A concept in the University Master Plan 2008 is creating “dream urban university” that is “A Promise Place to Live and Learn with Nature” by creating a suitable environment for living and studying in an environment conducing to learning with physical characteristics that harmoniously respond social and environmental conditions. A university is like the second home, and is a spiritual center for all Mahidol members. There are three factors for such development including social, physical, and environmental developments.
The main concept in creating a university that supports learning with nature is green university. Making the university similar to an arboretum is the main physical development concept that brings the university to be integrated with shades, healthiness, cleanliness, pollution-free environment with valuable resources uses, charming, organized landscape harmonious with surrounding nature, with open and green spaces for recreation while contributing natural and environment learning activities, as well as promoting reduction of energy uses, renewable energy, enabling Mahidol students and staff to live happily, with high life quality and environmental-friendliness in Mahidol University, Salaya. The mentioned development also strives to bring Mahidol University, Salaya to be a community leader in the field of environmental protection, and coexistence with nature.
1. Promote more resources efficiency utilization
2. Promote low carbon society
3. Promote community engagement
The key principles are using natural resources for maximum efficiency and benefits, focusing on resources usage reduction, and being low-carbon society while connecting with co-operating communities sustainably.
At the present, the university is taking an action on becoming a sustainable university by driving the Mahidol University Sustainability Action according to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs) which is a framework of global development in the United Nations general assembly, to together achieve goals of sustainable social development, economic, and environment.
As Mahidol University, Salaya has a large number of flora species and water sources, there needs to be balance between conservation and development. There is, therefore, a clear designation of environmental conservation, green spaces, and development area by maintaining no less than 70 percent of spaces and green areas of the total area, according to the University Master Plan, to support green spaces environment and maintain prolific conservation areas full of species of plants. Original ecosystem if each area was maintained as much as possible, while green spaces in new areas were added by planting more trees, developing unused lands, building exterior, balconies, roof deck, and interior halls, horizontally or vertically. Adding green spaces is a policy of the university to promote sustainable physical development to create beautiful scenery, allow Mahidol members to have environmental awareness, decrease heat while add more fresh air, absorbing and filtering air pollution, and also create landmarks for the university. All of these are approaches to solving sustainable environmental problems.
A vertical green space or vertical garden is an art of organic architecture that could be with or without structure, and diversity of plants could be determined to suit characteristics, environment, and ecosystem of the building and its surroundings. According to types of equipment used, vertical gardens can be divided into the following 5 types.
is used with small to medium-size plants in fabric bags containing suitable soil, being attached to a wall. Geotextile fabric bags are popular as they are light-weight, able to preserve humidity well, water permeable, do not support growth of fungus, but support plants roots to attach to them.
looks like panel or tray with holes to contain soil for plants. Material used could be plastic or light-weight metal attaching on hanging frame or hanging wall for building decoration.
are frames to put in flowering pots that tilt and stack vertically without soil spilling. Any shape of pots with water drainage holes could be applied. Popular plants for this system are those that can grow to cover the pots. Popular watering system is setting drip irrigation system in every layer for regular dripping.
are concrete or clay walls with holes for plants to adhere to the structure or it could be built as a permanent wall with water dripping system through the block in each layer to feed them with water and nutrients. This system is popular for indoor plants such as golden pothos, hoya, dischidia, rhipsalis, and outdoor plants such as dragon’s tongue, red and green sissle joyweed, weeping willow, purple heart, etc.
can effectively prevent the heat from entering buildings by planting climbing plants in trays or other containers and let them climb on the wall or structure until it is full. Popular plants for this system are coat buttons, skyflower, Javanese treebine, easter lily vine, etc.
1. Adds more green space
2. Promotes environment, supports ecosystem, absorbs carbon dioxide – the main cause of global warming, and reduces pollution and some toxins
3. Reduces interior heat, saving energy
4. Gives relaxing view and creates aesthetic atmosphere to the area
5. Creates homes to small organisms such as insects
The campus of Mahidol University, Salaya contains various types of both vertical and horizontal gardens, in common areas and university departments, providing remarkable landmarks for passers-by, promoting nice environment and conducive atmosphere for students’ learning.
1. Bhumibhol Adulyadej-Bhra Sirindhorn Building, Faculty of Nursing. Concree tracks on a structure surrounding specially designed building, containing soil and rooting materials for cork trees.
2. Sitakarn Parking Building has concrete rails installed in safety rails around the building, built-in design, containing skyflowers
3. Building 3 and 4, Faculty of Sciences (front of the buildings) have concrete rails on canopies around the buildings, built-in design, containing variety plant species.
4. Veterinary General Instruction and Operational Building, Faculty of Veterinary. Planting pots containing variety small plants are put along the canopies and central court
5. Mahidol University Library (front of the building) contains vertical garden with metal structure, containing climbing plants and small pots i.e. golden pothos.
6. The vertical garden in front of plant nursery, opposite to parking lot 3, Physical Systems and Environmental Division and Mai Derm Co., Ltd. finished this vertical garden installation with automatic watering system on October 20, 2020 with geotextile attached on metal structured wall on the previous fence line of MU Garden. This vertical garden is 2.4 meters in height, 37 meters in length, decorated with bromeliad, creeping foxglove, gardenia crape jasmine, aerva sanguinolenta, and dwarf umbrella tree.
7. The vertical garden at Siriwittaya building, with its 6.6 meters tall and 22 meters wide, is made of geotextile system attached on a metal wall. It is located on Songthaitit road side of the building. It has interesting pattern of a pencil on an open book, specially designed with different colors and textures of different plant species to fit with the concept of Siriwittaya building design.
The university plans to develop vertical gardens in the future according to Mahidol University Sustainability Action policy by exploring areas suitable for vertical gardening as follows.
1. Cover way in general study zone – 912 square meters of vertical garden on structured wall, planting climbing plants or decorative plants
2. Behind 22 the tram-parking pavilions – 440 square meters of vertical garden on structured wall, planting climbers or decorative flower plants
3. The front of the Office of President – 260 square meters of 3-dimensional vertical garden both on left and right sides, planting pots of decorative plants
4. Building 3 and 4, Faculty of Sciences – 3,750 square meters of vertical garden in concrete rails installed on built-in canopies
The university also promotes development of unused spaces and present green spaces to be in accordance with educational, sports, and recreational activities while being balanced building element, especially on activity areas and walkways. Water resources areas are developed to allow Mahidol members to have more interaction with the nature in their activities, promoting life quality, nice and safe atmosphere in workplace. There are landscapes, parks with a variety of plants. including indigenous plants, medicinal plants and plants for research studies, creating signature and suitable for historical, cultural, and architectural areas, and eventually create sustainable usage of unused and green spaces to be a model for communities and society, and be in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG13: Climate Action, and SDG15: Life on Land.