Saigon slams door on gov't plan to build small apartments amid spiraling urbanization

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 15:38:54 PM GMT + 7    Print   Email   Share:

Small apartments are feared to allow more people to buy property in the already overcrowded Saigon, which would lead to population growth and more pressure on infrastructure. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

The city says it does not want to create 'elevated slums' or risk further overcrowding. 

Ho Chi Minh City has decided not to allow investors to build commercial apartments under 25 square meters (270 square feet) out of fear that fast urbanization and population growth may spiral out of control.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Construction, the city said small apartments are not part of its development plans.

Small apartments would allow more people to buy property in the already overcrowded city, which would lead to population growth and more pressure on infrastructure, it said.

To strengthen its argument, the city stated that it does not want to create “elevated slums”.

In a letter issued in April to a domestic developer, the ministry said the firm would be allowed to build 25-square-meter apartments to attract low-income earners before new national standards for apartment sizes are set.

Vietnam’s 2015 construction law abolished a previous requirement that set the minimum area for an apartment at 45 square meters, but did not stipulate a new limit.

In December 2015, a government decree on housing development for low-income earners came into force and set the minimum area at 25 square meters. Decrees often require guidance from related ministries before they are implemented.

Construction businesses and provincial authorities have been seeking permission to build commercial houses of 30-40 square meters to attract individuals, small families and low-income buyers, and they have been given the go-ahead due to the huge demand, the construction ministry said.

Vietnam currently has 2.2 million people working in industrial parks, but only 20 percent of them have their own homes, according to the ministry.

HCMC's decision appears to be its latest attempt to rescue itself from the infrastructure mess it has found itself in.

The city has already instructed its construction department not to license any more high-rise condo buildings on roads that simply cannot handle them. This follows high-rise projects on Ung Van Khiem and Nguyen Huu Canh in Binh Thanh District and Ben Van Don in District 4 that have put immense pressure on infrastructure, local media reported.

Tim Doling, a British author who has studied Vietnam’s history and tourism extensively, wrote on his Facebook page: “More warnings that continued construction of massive ugly high rises along the city's main arteries will cause infrastructure to ‘break down’, with increased risk of flooding and further heavy traffic pressure.”

Ung Van Khiem is less than 2km long but is now home to around ten condo projects, while Nguyen Huu Canh, one of the main roads connecting the eastern part of the city with the downtown, often suffers from flooding and heavy traffic jams.

Explaining the reason for these projects, the construction department said it had been given the nod to make adjustments to the city’s development plan by allowing investors to build more high-rise buildings in those areas.

The Department of Transport said “due to the need to streamline administrative procedures, it hasn't been invited to comment on residential apartment construction.” 

The city may be trying to make amends for the situation by putting high-rise condo buildings on hold and saying no to small apartments, but experts have described its solutions as "locking the stable door after the horse has already bolted."



  • By : Ha Thanh, Minh Nga/ VnExpress


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