|The land for the Hà Đông Park has been misused since the project was approved in 2008. Photo ktdt.vn|
HÀ NỘI – A lack of green spaces in Hà Nội has been a concern of inhabitants for years. Unfortunately, hundreds of hectares of land in Hà Nội that was planned for parks or lakes have been abandoned or misused for decades.
If mechanisms and policies to address this waste of urban land resources aren't introduced soon, the lands set aside will be at risk of permanent misuse.
Over the past 20 years, there have been many proposed parks and lakes in Hà Nội but, often due to planning issues or a lack of capital, these projects are delayed for years, according to Kinh Tế & Đô Thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper.
A park project in Hà Đông District is a typical example. The project was approved in 2008 by Hà Tây Province (before it was annexed to Hà Nội), over an area of 98ha in Hà Cầu and Kiến Hưng communes.
After the province was merged to Hà Nội and became Hà Đông District, the land was still set aside for a park as well as a sports complex, an apartment area and an international trade centre.
The park was considered a 'green lung' for the district meeting that would help meet the requirements of a green and cultural-sport space for people. However, the project has been delayed since approval, due to a lack of capital.
To put the land to use temporarily, in 2015 the city authorities directed the Hà Đông People's Committee to clear the site. The proposed parkland is currently occupied with makeshift open-air markets, restaurants, a golf training course and warehouses.
As well as the Hà Đông’s project, there are many other projects in the same situation, such as Chu Văn Anh Park, Rẻ Quạt Lake, Linh Quan Lake, parks and lakes in Tây Nam residential area and Bách Hợp Thuỷ Park and Lake.
The land for these projects is still ponds, landfills or empty land. Many of them are neglected and have no date for construction to begin.
Proper solutions are needed
According to experts, Hà Nội will not be able to develop into a true green metropolis, unless a proper land-use policy is implemented.
A legal corridor to attract investment resources to build public works is needed, coupled with strict sanctions for slow and suspended projects.
The city’s Party Committee has set a target of restoring and building parks, lakes and flower gardens by 2025. To achieve this, the city will renovate and upgrade 45 parks and flower gardens and build five new ones.
Trần Đức Hoạt, Chairman of the People’s Council of Nam Từ Liêm District, said that many park projects were delayed due to a lack of investment, though this isn't the only issue. Even when an investor is found, the land is sometimes misused.
Investors build on land leased from the State. When the project is completed, they hand them over to the local government for management.
“So, to realise park projects, it is necessary to seriously and properly consider investors’ benefits and profits,” Hoạt said.
Sharing the same opinion with Hoạt, Deputy General Secretary of the Việt Nam Urban Planning and Development, Trương Văn Quảng, said that when the State did not have enough resources, it was important to utilise the private sector to develop green parks and lakes.
“However, there must be a reasonable mechanism to ensure that the area of green trees and water are built in accordance with planning and with ensured benefits for investors to avoid the misuse lands,” Quảng said.
“In fact, in many projects, investors reduced the areas for green and water spaces to build apartment buildings for higher profits,” he said.
“Investors would get higher profits but the community would be greatly affected, and in the long term, the city would face unsustainable development,” the architect said.
According to architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, many businesses proposed to take part in building parks and green spaces. However, when handed over the land they used it for commercial works and parking areas instead. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Hà Nội is currently reviewing the overall master plan on capital construction up to 2030, with a vision to 2050.
"It is time for the city to drastically review the use of land designated for parks, flower gardens, trees and lakes," he said. Mechanisms and policies to handle existing violations must be implemented, as must policies that attract investment to make the city a green and sustainably developed metropolis, Nghiêm added. – VNS