Local Economy

Last updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Planning Must Be One Step Ahead

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Planning in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, still poses many limitations and weaknesses. The Hanoi overall plan to 2025 was issued then came the Hanoi overall construction planning to 2030, with a vision to 2050. But, transport planning changed both above. Recently adopted capital region planning has altered the overall planning. Planning for flooding safety corridors in the Red River and the Thai Binh River has also been adjusted. It is clear that newer plans have changed older ones, resulting in overlapping, distortion and loss of methodology. This is the sharing by Dr Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Urban Planning Association, in an interview given to Vietnam Business Forum. Anh Phuong reports.

What do you think about planning in Hanoi now?
Vietnam already has national planning and regional planning among others. It also has some special planning such as old residence planning, landfill planning and cemetery planning. Only 10 countries in the world have laws on capital and Hanoi also has this law. Apparently, the Government of Vietnam and Hanoi authorities attach great importance to Hanoi planning based on “Green - Culture - Civilisation - Modernity” criteria, aiming to make it a dynamic, effective, competitive city.

In principle, a master plan should be made one step ahead before making sectoral planning such as traffic, electricity and bridge plans. But in fact, we are now doing the opposite, with making traffic planning first. For example, we should have built wastewater treatment facilities in Dong Anh and Bac Thang Long in advance to attract investment capital for sustainable economic development.

Planning is good but actual implementation gives rise to a lot of problems. Particularly, definitions of responsibility and accountability are unclear. No entities are subject to final responsibility.

What does a bad planning produce?
In effect, Hanoi planning still has numerous big loopholes. For example, land-use planning and traffic planning are inconsistent. School planning does not match cultural work - monument planning.

A clear-cut consequence of bad traffic planning is daily traffic congestions across Hanoi.

According to experts, a standard urban planning must spare 25 per cent of land for traffic but our rate is now only 9 per cent. Land funds for static traffic must be 3 - 4 per cent but our rate is just 0.3 per cent. Insufficient faculties result in difficult planning. Eight elevated urban railways have been planned by 2030.

Nevertheless, the first of its kind, Cat Linh - Ha Dong, is behind schedule for years due to weak financial capabilities of contractors.

Another pressing shortcoming is the massive construction of unplanned apartment blocks, resulting in populous overcrowding and social security and infrastructure overloading.

What are the solutions?
In my opinion, not only academics but also regulators should agree that construction planning is an integrated science. Planning must be predictive of socioeconomic development conditions, must be inheriting and must go one step ahead.

For Hanoi, there is no other way than we have to build satellite towns and extend administrative boundaries to regions with similar conditions. At present, satellite towns to Hanoi have only 0.4 million inhabitants. If we build five satellite towns as approved planning, they will provide living spaces for 1.4 million people. Only then, will traffic congestion nightmare be over.

Thank you very much!

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