View as a list
Back to map

Impact of Urban Expansion on Rural Hinterland and Local Responses in the Mekong Region: A Study in Khon Kaen, Thailand, and Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Submitted by Michael Rastall 8th January 2014 14:49

Adaptation challenge

  • The most favourable impact of urban expansion was on education opportunities for the hinterlands and people’s participation in local administration, specifically the village committee.
  • The people of Vang Vieng town were proud that their town had become an international tourist attraction that also provided them more opportunities for interaction and insights with the outside world.
  • The mining and destruction of nearby mountains for construction and the noise, dust and smoke pollution from factories and trucks has led to environmental deterioration and caused many health and environmental problems for residents.
  • The environmental degradation caused by the expanding tourist industry negatively affects farmers and seasonal migrant workers.

Expected outputs

This study investigates the perceived impacts, both positive and negative, of urbanization on the hinterlands of two secondary urban centers in Thailand and Lao PDR. The research employed a mixed-methodology of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Khon Kaen city in Thailand and Vang Vieng town in Lao PDR were selected as case studies. Quantitative research methods were used to study the rural-urban linkages and perceptions on urban impacts on the hinterland, while qualitative research was used to study local responses, as well as to identify key issues to refine conceptual framework and questionnaires, and find explanation to key research findings.

The research also examined the existing administrative structures that link urban areas to their hinterland and identify challenges due to administrative fragmentation.

Timescale of project




Focal point

Dr. Maniemai Thongyou,
Deputy Director
Center for Research on Plurality in the Mekong Region (CERP)
Khon Kaen University, Thailand
Email: [email protected]


Maniemai Thongyou, Bounthavy Sosamphanh, Monchai Phongsiri, Thanapauge Chamaratana

Khon Kaen University, National University of Laos