Thailand's decentralization policies have sought to increase urbanization and development in provinces outside Bangkok. Provincial and district government offices increasingly formulate local development strategies that draw on concepts of sustainability, livelihood rights, and market opportunities. Despite such local shifts in policy, urban sprawl has created environmental degradation and natural resource competition among different stakeholders within transitional rural-urban spaces. Furthermore, urban expansion has encumbered agrarian families' abilities to fully provision their households. This article examines how agrarian families in Thailand's northeastern (Isaan) region understand state development and urban encroachment and how these families reconfigure livelihood strategies and labor mobilities under changing sociopolitical and environmental conditions. The combination of Landsat data on urban encroachment and ethnographic exploration of the broader shifts in sociopolitical systems that valorize certain economies allows for a deeper understanding of the formation of “permanently temporary” and “continually circular” migration among agrarian households. The article highlights how mobilities research can contribute to informed development policies in Thailand, thereby confronting the low-quality outcomes traditionally associated with peri-urbanization.

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