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Expert proposes expanding HCMC to neighboring province

Given the rapid population growth and tough challenges facing urban development in HCMC, a planning expert has suggested expanding the city to encroach on neighboring Long An Province.

Traffic congestion is an unresolvable issue in HCMC
Traffic congestion is an unresolvable issue in HCMC

Speaking at a workshop on the urban management of HCMC today, October 11, Architect Tran Ngoc Chinh, president of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association, floated two expansion plans for the country’s biggest commercial hub.

Both plans aim to merge additional areas of neighboring Long An Province into the city, using the Vam Co Dong River as a natural boundary which means Can Giuoc and Can Duoc districts and part of Ben Luc District will be part of the expanded city.

However, the extra area in the first option covers only some 48,000-50,000 hectares, while that in option two spans up to 90,000-95,000 hectares. As such, the entire area of HCMC would increase by between 500 and 950 square kilometers from the current 2,096 square kilometers.

According to Chinh’s proposal, the city will take on a multipolar development model upon expansion: the central area will be all the inner districts within a radius of 15 kilometers, and there will be four development poles in the eastern, southern, western-southwestern (the expanded stretch of land) and western-northern directions.

Also commenting on the city’s expansion, Nguyen Trong Hoa, former director of the HCMC Institute for Development Studies, said that the city’s urban development should follow the “oil spill” approach, with development based on easier access to road transportation.

He warned that if municipal authorities are not quick in changing their mindset in terms of management and regional development planning, the situation will result in major shortcomings in the future. At that point, the fix will be costly, and some regions in the city will not be able to overcome the obstacles.

In his view, authorities should not assume that injecting more money into urban development will cause their entire region to develop. He stressed that the current urban management lacks a systematic approach and regional synchronicity.