Expanding green urban areas across the city by removing park fences

February 16, 2023 - 09:09
From the initial positive results, Hà Nội will be replicating the model of 'open' parks and flower gardens across the city.
Thống Nhất Park's main gate on Trần Nhân Tông Street. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Thống Nhất, one of the biggest parks in Hà Nội, has been transformed from a 'closed' to an 'open' park after its iron fences have been removed, making it easier for people to access the public space.

From the initial positive results, Hà Nội will be replicating the model of 'open' parks and flower gardens across the city.

The policy of removing iron fences and creating open spaces in parks across the capital has received many positive comments from residents and urban experts.

Late last year, Thống Nhất Park Company started removing 396m of iron fencing, as well as 29 concrete and 62 steel pillars, on Trần Nhân Tông Street. They also planted 10,000 rose trees around the area, bringing beautiful scenery and providing a natural barrier against vehicles after removing the iron fencing.

However, concerns remain about the problems caused by the fences removal.

Đinh Thị Mỹ, a resident in nearby Lê Duẩn Street, told the Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economy & Urban) newspaper: "My house is near the park, so I have been going to exercise in Thống Nhất Park for decades."

"Since the fences on Trần Nhân Tông Street was removed, my friends and I go in and out of the park conveniently and comfortably. The landscape is open and beautiful," Mỹ said.

"However, there are still some people with poor awareness who indiscriminately drive motorbikes and bicycles into the park, making it unsafe for pedestrians," Mỹ said.

"Therefore, it is appropriate to pilot removing some sections of the iron fence. The removal of all fences should only be done when people's awareness is further enhanced," she said.

Facing security concerns, the park management unit and local authorities are trying to find the best solutions.

Iron fencing in Thống Nhất Park is being removed to create an 'open' park. — VNA/VNS Photo

Deputy General Director of Thống Nhất Park Company Ma Kiên Hán said that to create more beautiful scenery and provide a natural barrier against vehicles, the company planted 10,000 rose trees and ten muồng vàng trees in the area around the main gate of the park in Trần Nhân Tông Street.

The company will coordinate with Hai Bà Trưng District to raise the pavements of Trần Nhân Tông Street to prevent vehicles from going into the park, said Hán.

Furthermore, the company will install security cameras and work with police forces to strengthen patrols, he said.

From the perspective of an expert in architecture and urban landscape, the Chief of Office of the Việt Nam Association of Architects Thanh Tùng said that the park is a public space for everyone to access.

"Like many other parks in Hà Nội, Thống Nhất Park has been a 'closed' space for too long. In my opinion, removing the park's fencing is completely reasonable, especially in the context of the lack of green spaces in urban areas," Tùng said.

In countries around the world, except for thematic parks or heritage parks, most parks are open spaces without fences, Tùng said.

According to the architect, for parks in Hà Nội, removing fences and creating open spaces for people to easily access does not mean just a monotonous lawn but creating soft fences with green trees and flowers gradually.

"That Thống Nhất Park has recently been designed with fences of trees and flowers instead of the iron fence is very applaudable," Tùng said.

"This creates an urban landscape and also a way for people gradually change their consciousness and civic responsibility while protecting the precious and beautiful green spaces," he said.

The park should be a place where people can go to enjoy the green space. However, parks without fences does not give licence for people to come and go for anti-social reasons.

It is necessary to renovate parks to become more friendly and safe destinations for community and cultural activities. Therefore, he said that parks must become new creative spaces of Hà Nội.

Regarding the city's policy of continuing to create 'open' parks for the public, deputy head of the Technical Infrastructure Division under the Hà Nội Department of Construction Lê Văn Du said that along with Thống Nhất, the Department of Construction proposed the municipal People's Committee stop selling tickets to Bách Thảo Park from this year and renovate and lower fences of Nghĩa Đô Park in Cầu Giấy District.

Deputy Chairman of the Việt Nam Urban Development and Planning Association, Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, said: "Removing the park fences is good and necessary, but it must be fully evaluated and need a clear roadmap and scenario."

"If rushed without synchronisation, it will be difficult to manage urban planning," he said.

"Synchronisation must be ensured in many aspects from the management mechanism, park operation, information dissemination to raise people's awareness, to design measures, otherwise, it will affect traffic, social order and security," he said. — VNS