How the green, grassy median strips in Hanoi became a divisive political saga

By Giang Huy   June 30, 2017 | 12:00 pm GMT+7

Urban landscaping, aesthetics and budget management have turned into a not so pretty mess.

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The Thang Long Avenue runs around 30 kilometers (18 miles) through four districts of Hanoi. There are green lawns on the large median strips between the lanes.

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Last year intense public debates pointed to the huge costs required to mow the lawns and take care of the plants regularly, estimated at VND53 billion ($2.4 million) per year. Under the pressure, the city decided to abandon the green strips, starting July last year.

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Without regulated mowing and trimming, the lawns and the plants have grown into gardens along the street. And now many members of the public are unhappy, demanding that the city pay more attention to urban landscpaing. It's basically a classic case of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

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The city has revealed that it usually spends VND700 billion taking care of plants and lawns across the city.

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The "gardens" are growing strongly.

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Some residents even take advantage of the lack of care and attention. They claim parts of the median strips and grow their own fruit and vegetables.

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Want some pomelo?

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Or banana?