Viet Nam News
Trần Ngọc Chính, Chairman of the Urban Planning and Development Association, speaks to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) on how best to manage and effectively use urban land.
How do you respond to the argument that the limited land resources in the country’s major cities have not been used properly?
Housing demand in our urban areas is high as the country is in the period of industrialisation and modernisation. Due to the rapid urbanisation, coupled with the shortage of land and housing, many households have illegally encroached on public land to build their own houses. Coupled with other reasons, the urban management board has been placed in a difficult situation.
In reality I should say that Việt Nam is only in the initial stage of urbanisation, but its land resources have been used inefficiently and even wastefully.
At present the Vietnamese urban areas have been developing horizontally with a very low floor area ratio instead of growing vertically like other major urban areas in the world.
Don’t you think that building high rises in major urban areas, particularly in Hà Nội and Hồ Chí Minh City, is the best option for land use?
Given the constraints of the State budget, housing development relies on private sector for the most part. In my opinion, the best option is that the Government grants land use rights to financially capable enterprises to develop new housing projects, particularly multi-story buildings. By doing so, these enterprises will provide jobs to many people and homes to many families. In addition, it would also contribute to the social security of the Party and Government. In other words, we have made the best usage of the land to generate benefits to the country – that’s the true value of the land.
Don’t you think the building of many high rises will strain urban infrastructure?
Having more high rises built in the urban areas is natural in the course of urbanisation and international integration. Thanks to these high rises, many people have been able to have their own living space in major urban areas.
The development of high rises would lessen the travelling distances between urban functions, added more value to the land while reducing the area of land used and contributing to the conservation of the landscape and the surrounding ecology. As a result, it has contributed to improving the livelihood of people living in these buildings. That’s also one of the criteria for sustainable urban development.
International experience shows that good planning includes high rise developments and they are one of the best solutions to utilise effectively the urban space as well as the Government’s policy to transfer the right of urban space development. This way of development does not cause any changes to the land use coefficient and must not increase pressure on urban infrastructure, especially traffic. However, all in all, we must have good planning and good construction management that go together, otherwise urban development would get unruly despite having a proper planning.
What should we do to keep law and order in the building of high rises in urban areas?
In my opinion, the first thing we have to do is conduct a study on how to reduce the construction density and to increase the land use coefficient to fit the operational capacity of urban technical infrastructure system in all major cities. That’s the only way to help the investors choose the best decisions regarding projects’ designs. Of course, each region or urban area could adopt its own mechanism or policy to make it suitable for their own technical and social infrastructure as well as the land use policy in that locality.
In addition, the authorities must revise the laws and related documents, for example, they could ask that project investors must make commitments to invest in renovating the infrastructure, including roads and sluices, in the projects’ vicinity.
The project investors must also be encouraged to apply advanced technology in the course of construction and in building management, and prioritise development of public spaces such as parks or parking areas. — VNS