Ho Chi Minh City adds major developments to urban plans

By Nguyen Tam   July 24, 2019 | 09:52 pm PT
Ho Chi Minh City adds major developments to urban plans
Aerial view of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City's commercial center. Photo by Shutterstock/Sam's Studio.
Saigon will renovate its inner districts, build commercial centers around metro stations, and develop infrastructure in all directions in the next six years. 

These proposals were recently approved by the government for incorporation in the city’s 2025 master plans. The municipal Department of Zoning and Architecture said on Wednesday it will advise the People’s Committee to identify a consultant for the purpose. 

Specifically, underground areas near metro stations will be developed into commercial centers. The first metro line is expected to be operational in 2021. The 20-kilometer (12-mile) route will run from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien through Districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc and neighboring Binh Duong Province.  

The plans also envisage developments alongside the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway in the east of the city (Districts 2, 9, Thu Duc), building new urban areas along the Hanoi Highway, and further developing high-tech zones, in particular the Software Park at the National University of Ho Chi Minh City.

Technical infrastructure will be improved to bolster water drainage in the south (Districts 7, Nha Be), a place with a lot of available land for urban development and many rivers and streams, according to the department. 

The city seeks to develop urban areas in the northwest (Districts 12, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi) with appropriate infrastructure, and improve technical infrastructure in the southwest (Districts Binh Chanh, Tan Phu, Binh Tan). 

It is also looking at opportunities to develop ecotourism along the Saigon River and Can Gio beach, the department said. 

Ly Khanh Tam Thao, acting head of the department's urban technical infrastructure division, said there are many shortcomings in urban planning, including a lack of parking lots and public spaces, traffic congestion and poor housing policies leading to imbalances in population distribution.  

Other factors such as climate change, rising sea levels, flooding, and uncontrolled urbanization are putting a major strain on the city’s infrastructure, he added. 

The newly-approved changes to urban plans are expected to help resolve these infrastructure problems, turning the city into a smart urban area by 2020. 

In 2017 the southern metropolis, the country’s largest city, began implementing a plan to transform itself into a smart city by 2020. 

The goal of this ambitious plan is to use scientific advances to resolve the problems the city faces, including rapid population growth, unsustainable economic growth, inadequate forecasting, planning and management, poor healthcare, education and transport, pollution, and inefficient public administration.

The city is also studying the use of artificial intelligence to help with this goal. 

As an economic hub with a population of more than 10 million, HCMC has everything needed to set up a center for studying and applying AI, the city's Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan had said at a scientific conference last March.

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