|A residential quarter in Ha Noi's Tu Liem District which has been disfigured by squatters. Experts say this problem is making the city look run-down and dilapidated. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuan Anh
HA NOI (VNS)— While Viet Nam is reported to be in a process of rapid urbanisation, many experts have expressed concern that urban development in Viet Nam is not following earlier plans.
Experts further said that not following plans is making cities appear sloppy and ugly.
Reports from the Ministry of Construction, delivered at a conference in Ha Noi last weekend, indicate that there were 765 urban areas in the country as of 2012, with an urbanisation rate of 32.45 per cent.
Also, it estimated that by 2015, there will be 870 urban areas, accommodating a population of 35 million, with a nationwide urbanisation rate of 38 per cent.
A further forecast estimates that by 2025, the number of urban areas would reach 1,000 with 52 million people, equivalent to 50 per cent of the national population.
However, the ministry's report also showed that urban planning had not been correctly implemented.
Speaking at a conference, Chairman of the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations Tran Ngoc Hung blamed this on a series of high-rise buildings in Ha Noi and HCM City, which were built in too large a number and unplanned, especially those in the city centres.
"We have paid a high price for multi-storey hotels in buildings in city centres, which would have never been built that high if plans were followed," he said.
According to Hung, the sloppiness in issuing construction licenses, especially for those in the inner city, had caused uncontrolled construction of buildings of different types, shapes and the number of storeys.
Hung said that though there were many correct policies in development planning, such as re-allocating factories, offices and hospitals to new urban areas or the suburbs to ease congestion for the inner city, many ended up wrong because the implementation of the policies was not strict, causing other problems for the projects.
Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations Pham Sy Liem complained of loose management in planning and insufficient punishments for violations that caused problems.
"Thousands of residents' houses and mini-residential buildings, which violate the regulations on height, still had their construction completed thanks to loose management," Liem said, adding that many violators even accepted fines, since the amounts they had to pay were small.
Deputy Minister of Construction Phan Thi My Linh admitted to the problems, blaming weak management of localities that had not kept pace with the rapid development of urban areas.
"Besides, the scale of development in urban areas has not matched the development of infrastructure and services, making the problems slow to be resolved," she said.
As a result, the construction official said that development alongside of planning played an important role in boosting sustainable development.
"We need to research and suggest detailed solutions that match with characteristics of different urban areas," she stressed.
Linh also called for more active participation of the community in the planning process.
The conference was jointly held by the Ministry of Construction, the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Associations and the Viet Nam Urban Forum. — VNS