Housing and Urbanization: A Socio-Spatial Analysis of Resettlement Projects in Hồ Chí Minh City

SIT Graduate Institute, Paper 1284, 4-1-2012

Michael J. Stumpf

“As Hồ Chí Minh City continues to undergo rapid urbanization, especially with the creation of a multitude of new urban zone developments on the periphery of the inner districts, the resettling of people has become common. Families who live within areas that are selected for urban upgrading or, as in other cases for the construction of new miniature cities, must face the realities of relocation. Many issues arise in the complicated process of resettling the displaced, due to complex land-use laws, bureaucratic dissonance, and lack of investment in actual resettlement housing. The authorities of Hồ Chí Minh City have faced palpable challenges in facilitating the many processes of resettlement, from persuading developers to invest in resettlement housing to establishing suitable compensation packages. Confusing legal labyrinths, delays in plan approval, and miscommunications between agencies, results in tangible affects on the highly vulnerable displaced families. Additionally, a serious disconnect arises between planners’ envisioned solution for resettlement housing and the real needs of the resettled, who are usually low-income workers. When the precise needs of displaced families and their prior sources of economic livelihood are disregarded, the general result is unsuitable design and the disordering of previously established socio-spatial networks. Additionally the displaced tend to be sent to occupy less advantageous space, as a result of gentrification, and are spatially repositioned in more excluded, disconnected marginal zones. Past and present resettlement procedures have faltered due especially to a lack of socio-spatial planning, which has resulted in undesirable threats to equitable metropolisation and rising potentials for urban fragmentation.”