Japanese expert tells HCMC to build satellite towns along metro routes

By Gia Minh   May 12, 2023 | 09:32 pm PT
Japanese expert tells HCMC to build satellite towns along metro routes
A metro train of HCMC's Metro Line No.1 on a test run in Thu Duc City, April 26, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
HCMC needs to identify lands for building satellite towns to exploit the connectivity brought by its metro routes, a Japanese expert has told its leaders.

Shin Kimura of the Urban Renaissance Agency, a semipublic Independent Administrative Institution, and is an agency responsible for Japanese housing, said at a meeting with city officials Friday that transit-oriented development (TOD) is a solution for urban refurbishment that would also help raise funds for infrastructure development.

In urban planning, TOD maximizes the residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport.

In Japan, the model has been applied along many metro routes and proved to be very efficient in urban development, Kimura said.

Many metro stations are now modern urban areas comprising commercial centers, squares, parks, and parking lots to make commuting convenient and provide utilities to the public, he said.

He cited the example of Tokyo, where demand for housing is huge.

The city decided to develop suburbs and connect them through metro services to ensure inner-city areas do not become too congested, he said.

The government had to build a plan to ensure residential areas along the metro lines have adequate infrastructure so that property values there are not much lower than in the main city, he said.

With their value increasing, the city could attract investments there, he said.

HCMC deputy chairman Bui Xuan Cuong said the city has already sought the government’s permission to trial the TOD model along metro lines.

Nguyen Quoc Hien, deputy head of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways, said the city had considered the model since day one when planning its metro routes.

"However, the city does not have the authority to decide how to use lands around the metros."

City authorities are waiting for the National Assembly to grant that autonomy.

The city now has to depend on the government and the NA for making decisions related to major infrastructure projects.

The city plans to build a total of eight metro routes spanning 220 kilometers.

None of them have been built yet, with the first one expected to be completed this year.

Work on the 19.7-km line between Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City started in 2012, and long delays pushed the cost up to VND43.7 trillion (US$1.86 billion).

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