Falling trees threaten a way of life in Saigon

By Quynh Tran, Nhung Nguyen   August 11, 2017 | 05:15 pm GMT+7
Can trees be a part of urban life? The answer is yes, at least in Saigon.

In this crowded city, even trees have no space to stand alone.

Since trees were first introduced to the city during the French colonial era, locals have learned to evolve around them in life, business and even religion.

The trees have also blended into the motorbike culture by lending a branch or trunk to streetside stalls.

Over time, their fates intertwine, and with the recent tree cull, the lives thriving under them is also vanishing.

They also pose certain risks to those living beneath them every time it pours in the city. Last year, the transport department reported an increase in deadly tree uprootings and falling branches. The most recent accident happened when a 10-meter branch fell onto the roofs and billboards of two shops in downtown Saigon last month.

Experts blame it on urban development, with houses suffocating the trees and underground projects taking up their soil and water.

In this photo series, VnExpress International documented the way people and the city's trees co-exist, and ultimantely, the special bond between them.