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Office moves offer rare chance to enhance downtown Ha Noi

Update: September, 10/2012 - 08:59

Federation of Civil Engineering Associations vice chairman Pham Si Liem spoke to Viet Nam News about the relocation of Government ministries and agencies to the suburbs of Ha Noi

Is it the right time to move State offices outside the inner city?

Yes, it is, and it should have been carried out earlier. This is a part of the city's plan to reduce population density and traffic in the inner city area. It will also help form a concentrated administrative zone.

Ha Noi has become 10 times bigger than it was before. The city needs a larger centre to match the stature of a capital city and a population of more than three million in the inner area only.

The resettlement is completely in accordance with Ha Noi's development planning, by which, ministries and agencies are moved out to the new urban areas of Me Tri, My Dinh or the western part of West Lake.

The arrangement for the removal is very important. We shouldn't pay ministries a flat rate to co-ordinate the removal by themselves. The plan should be presided over by Ha Noi's People's Committee.

The time, the place and the order of the removal are also very important factors. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs represents the face of the country, so the location of its new head office needs to be considered carefully. Also we cannot move a large number of ministries and agencies at once. We need to plan who goes first.

When the removal is completed how should the prime land left in the inner city be used?

The most important thing is to map out a specific and detailed scheme first. Since the city has allocated new land for governmental head offices, the land left after the removal should be returned to Ha Noi's authorities to decide how to use.

However, the plan should not focus only on the vacated land. It should also take the entire surrounding area into account. The old head offices are components of the land, no matter how big or small. Thus, we cannot separate it from the larger area.

What do you think the vacated land should be used for?

Ha Noi lacks social infrastructure and public facilities for urban development such as schools, green spaces, communal squares, sports halls, and especially parking lots. Therefore, we should give priority to these things.

Construction of high-rise buildings and other apartment projects also require consideration, especially for foreigners. As a big and eventful city, Ha Noi welcomes many foreigners for work and business, so they really need stable accommodation.

However, whatever the land areas are used for, everything must be in harmony with the city's master construction plan.

Do you think offices that incorporate French colonial-era architecture, such as the Ministry of Justice or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should be preserved?

All of the offices are architectural landmarks. We should not only preserve them but also embellish them, like the Ha Noi Opera House.

Have any other countries moved State offices outside the inner areas of their capital city?

Yes, there are. Brazil moved its capital city from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia, a mountainous area of forests, to develop its central region. They figured out that if they moved the capital inland people would move there and develop that area.

Nearer to Viet Nam, Myanmar and Malaysia are other examples. — VNS


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