HA NOI (VNS)— The capital city's Old Quarter will be cut down to 82 hectares from the current 100, with a focus on preserving and restoring historic buildings.
This is the main idea of the draft regulation on managing and preserving the architectural planning of Ha Noi's Old Quarter announced by the municipal People's Committee last Thursday.
The regulation aims to replace the committee's Decision 45 on architectural management of the Old Quarter, issued in 1995.
Duong Duc Tuan, deputy director of the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture, said that the new Old Quarter would include two zones.
"The first one, which covers 23 hectares, would preserve the typical architecture of the Old Quarter, while the second, which spans 59 hectares, would be allowed to develop in a supervised manner," he said.
The regulation also permits buildings in some areas of the Old Quarter to increase in height above the current maximum of 12 metres.
Vice Chairman of the committee Vu Hong Khanh does not agree to this change, saying the move would increase the number of people in the already crowded neighbourhood.
With more than 850 people per hectare, the Old Quarter is the most densely populated area in the city. The committee's Old Quarter population expansion scheme aims to reduce the population density to the more reasonable level of 500 people per hectare.
The area next to the Old Quarter, which includes Phuc Xa and Chuong Duong communes, Van Xun Park and Ly Nam De Street, would be used for the construction of schools and parking lots if necessary.
Tuan said the Old Quarter currently faces four big challenges: poor living conditions, downgraded facilities, chaotic urban scenery and traffic problems.
Moreover, many valuable historical and cultural buildings have been seriously worn down, and the area lacks green trees and parking lots. While the area's 36 streets are each named after traditional crafts that those streets specialised in, these crafts have long since fallen into oblivion.
The committee also required the Department of Planning and Architecture to map out the Old Quarter and its infrastructure, including neighbouring areas.
Figures from the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture showed that while there were about 1,080 historical buildings in the Old Quarter, only 550 had been preserved. The rest have been partially destroyed or completely re-built. — VNS