Talk: Reassembling Transportation Infrastructure in HCMC

September 21, 2017 | 09:53 am GMT+7
Opening: 07:30 pm, Fri 22 Sep 2017

Examine the World Bank's BRT and other metro projects.

(From the organizer)

Urban development in Ho Chi Minh City is simultaneously a highly bureaucratic and flexible process, a paradox born out of the city’s development at the nexus of state and market practice—what is now referred to as late socialism. Decentralized government agencies and foreign investors who bring capital and infrastructural expertise to the city negotiate a wide range of city making possibilities. The result is an urban landscape made piecemeal, with each urban development project built, more often than not, in defiance of city plans.

While Ho Chi Minh City produces comprehensive infrastructure plans according to modern rational planning principles, each project is subsequently disassembled and disarticulated in order to deal with Vietnam’s decentralized governing regime and meet the demands of foreign investors, each of whom compete with one another and bring their specific and contrasting historical logics of development. Thus, infrastructure projects are not only diverse in type (ilogicads, power plants, transportation systems, water management, etc.) but are also conditioned by source and type of investment as well as by the contingent and conditional connections they forge with government agencies. This diversity creates an array of infrastructure projects, each standing upon their own set of “infrastructures of infrastructure” made up of the different logics of development, various and conflicting legal and regulatory frameworks, historical developments, and principles of planning and growth.

This talk shows how these differences condition the material outcomes of completed projects in the city by examining the World Bank’s Green Transportation Bus Rapid Transit System and its eventual disarticulation through competition with other foreign investment projects, most notably rail and metro projects that are currently under construction in the city.

About the speaker:

Hun Kim is an urban studies scholar whose work focuses on the production of space and the political economy of Asian cities. His recent work examines inter-Asian and late-socialist connections of urban development in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, commonly known as Saigon.

Hun holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning with a designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Yusof Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore where he researched urban infrastructure development in Saigon. Hun will be joining the faculty at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada as an assistant professor of geography in the spring semester of 2018.

Entry: VND100,000/$4.4 (VND 80,000/$3.5 for students)

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