Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The Danish Week – Sustainable City Solutions hosted by the Danish embassy in Hà Nội and the HCM City University of Architecture began in HCM City on Thursday.
“Denmark is among the world’s leading nations in terms of green technology and green growth is an important area in the comprehensive co-operation agreement between the Vietnamese and Danish governments,” Charlotte Laursen, the Scandinavian country’s ambassador to Việt Nam, said.
The event seeks to bring together policy makers, climate and urban-planning experts and green technology companies to discuss challenges facing urban areas in the context of climate change, she said.
It would also be a platform for the two sides to share lessons and exchange ideas and measures to build green and sustainable cities, she added.
Nguyễn Thanh Nhã, director of the city’s Department of Planning and Architecture, said the city is deeply committed to sustainable development goals.
His department encourages the use of eco-friendly designs and technologies for construction, he said.
However, the city lacks experience, good practices and certain resources required for green growth and sustainable solutions.
Mogens Nielsen, head of the technical services and environment department of Denmark’s Aarhus City, said his city too faces some urban issues similar to HCM City’s such as flooding, saltwater intrusion, land subsidence, and poor quality of surface water.
To tackle these issues, Aarhus focuses on ecological, social and economic sustainability in its master planning, he said.
It always involves the public in urban planning processes, he told Việt Nam News.
“For example, if we want to fill a pond in the city or cut trees, we will open a public hearing to tell everyone about the effects and consequences of the tasks. If they are against the proposals, we will not do it.”
People are very aware of their surroundings and, after all, the environment belongs to the citizens, and so their opinions should be respected, he said.
Besides, raising public awareness of the issue is important and has to start at a very young age, he said.
“As part of the school programme, children are taken to visit water treatment plants. We will explain to them the importance and value of having clean water to drink out of the tap. Not everywhere in the world people can drink tap water.”
Legislation is an effective measure to encourage people to follow environment-friendly practices, one of which is reducing the use of cars, he said.
“It is very expensive to buy a car in Denmark and it is very expensive to park in the city.”
If people spend the same amount of time to travel by car and by bus from home to work, they would choose the cheaper option, he said.
The event, which will run until December 21, also features an exhibition on best Danish sustainable architectural designs and city development projects. — VNS