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Ha Noi residential areas face shortage of playgrounds

Update: May, 07/2015 - 14:32
Part of the play ground in Van Chuong Apartment Building in Dong Da District were occupied for parking and business. — Photos

HA NOI — There are few parks and playgrounds in Ha Noi as people use the space for other purposes, Chairman of Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association Tran Ngoc Chinh said.

At a conference held on the issue yesterday in Ha Noi, Chinh said it was a pity that residents, particularly children, did not have space to play, entertain or chat with neighbours in residential areas, as these spaces were being used for parking, business or other purposes.

Old buildings in the capital city, built in 1970s, such as Kim Lien, Trung Tu, Giang Vo and Nguyen Cong Tru buildings, had yards sandwiched between apartment buildings, he said.

These yards were usually large and full of flowers and shady trees, as the idea was to provide space to children to play, young people to exercise and the elderly to have tea and chat, Chinh said.

"That public space is now reduced, destroyed or replaced by houses, walls, stores and food stalls, besides parking areas," he said.

He said inadequate management caused the reduction in public space and shortage of playgrounds for children.

For instance, about 17,000 residents in Trung Phung Ward, Dong Da District, share a playground of just 30sq.m.

Playgrounds in residential areas were reportedly downgraded and termed unhygienic, as it became unsafe for people, particularly children, to do recreational activities there, he said.

A researcher in a non-governmental organisation HealthBridge, Nguyen Thi Hien said there were 67 parks, flower gardens and sport grounds with a total area of more than 365ha in the inner areas of Ha Noi, accounting for 1.92 per cent of the citys total land area.

Each resident in the citys inner area now has an average 2.08 sq.m of park/ flower garden, expected to increase to 2.43 sq.m by 2030, Hien said, citing the citys planning for trees, parks, flower gardens and lakes in Ha Noi by 2030, towards 2050.

She said parks and flower gardens in residential areas were not planned, designed, invested and managed well.

The yard sandwiched between blocks in Thanh Cong Apartment Building were used as a market place in stead of a recreation area for residents.

The city faced a shortage of land funds, she said, adding public facilities had to compete with each other or compete with private projects, in which the public land-use right was auctioned to the private sector.

Director of Architecture Institute- Viet Nam Association of Architects La Thi Kim Ngan said for a long time, the city concentrated on developing houses, without paying adequate attention to public facilities such as playgrounds or flower gardens.

"The major causes are ill-managed population growth, economic difficulties and poor urban management," she said.

The shortage of public space forces children to hunch in front of computer screens to play games, ignoring outdoor social activities, and gives adults less chance for social communication and recreational activities. — VNS

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