HCMC needs strategy for greenery growth: city Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan

The Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) People’s Committee yesterday hold the conference ‘Planning Orientation and Development of Greenery, Parks, and City Lightning for the Inner Districts of HCMC in the Period of 2019 – 2025’.

HCMC Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan is delivering his speech in the conference. (Photo: SGGP)

HCMC Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan is delivering his speech in the conference. (Photo: SGGP)

In his opening speech, HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan reported that from the population of 3.6 million in 1975, HCMC is now accommodating more than 10 million. Although the economic aspect has witnessed great results (accounting for 25 percent of the GDP and 27 percent of the national state budget), this soaring population growth does not correspondent with the green development at all. 

He recommended that to achieve a sustainable growth, in the period from 2020 – 2030, HCMC should try to maintain its leading position in economy by making up 30 percent of the contribution to the nation, while becoming the center of Vietnam in Industry 4.0 as it transforms into a smarter and greener city. HCMC should also care for the satisfaction of citizens and businesses, he added.

When analyzing the current status of HCMC, Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan admitted that greenery planning in the city is below standard. Compared to the ideal rate of 6-7m2 green space per urban resident, the one in HCMC is only 0.5m2 per person. In addition, the total surface area of greenery merely reaches 8 percent of the requirements of a modern developed city. 

According to the HCMC Department of Construction, most parks in the city are too old and run-down. The maintenance tasks at the moment are temporary and inconsistent. Public space such as community ground, lightning systems, playgrounds, or public toilets cannot meet the demands of residents.

To make it worse, public park surface rate at present is much below common standards. In particular, compared to the ideal rate of 2m2 to 15m2 of trees per person, in 2018, the average rate of HCMC was only 0.49m2 per person in 491ha of public park. In the 13 inner and 6 outer districts of the city, the rates were 0.67m2 and 0.72m2 per person ( in 273ha and 172ha) respectively while in the 5 suburban districts, it was only 0.3m2 per person (in 46ha). 

Regarding planning tasks, according to Mr. Nhan, while Singapore, for example, possesses the rate of 0.8ha per 1,000 residents, HCMC proposed the rate of 0.7ha per 1,000 citizens. Sadly, in reality, the city can only reach 0.05ha per 1,000 people.

Mr. Nhan suggested that to address this issue, despite encountering various obstacles, HCMC has to revolutionarily change.

He hoped that experts from Singapore are able to share their own experience to help the city improve weaknesses in urban parks, where residents commonly gather for community, entertainment, and healthcare activities.

The Party Chief also affirmed that for many years, HCMC has not strictly monitored the greenery target in the area, leading to an abnormally low quantity of trees in the city. Therefore, he asked the municipal authorities prepare a careful plan on greenery development in the next 10 years, with reference to Singapore.

Representing HCMC, Mr. Nhan welcomed all sharing from experts as to artistic lightning in the city. HCMC has already cooperated with France on this aspect, and certain buildings are now operating artistic lightning. At the moment, the city wishes to obtain more experience to prepare for the downtown lightning project as well as the one in each district. This is supposed to transform HCMC into a more charming and energy-saving area.

Discussing this matter, a foreign speaker stated that lightning is one part of a smart city since this is the combination between information technology and urban lightning theories.

Architect Frédéric Auclair from France presented some smart solutions and plans which focus on human beings and reduce energy consumption or light pollution.

Prof. Dr. Joerg Baumeister from Griffith University of Australia introduced the eight urban lightning rules to suggest that HCMC should cut down on light to lessen pollution and overhead cost.

Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan shared that artistic lightning has been installed in the People’s Committee Building, the HCMC Central Post Office, and many museums. However, in the future, the city needs a specific plan for urban lightning before calling upon investment in artistic lightning for other constructions, museums, statues, and city landmarks.

Mr. Chuah Hock Seong, member of the Management Board of Singaporean National Park, said that Singapore is ready to share its own experience or technical specifications on tree care, and organize training sessions for HCMC residents.

Taking part in the conference were HCMC Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’ Council Pham Duc Hai, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan, and several experts on urban planning, tree planning, urban lightning from France, Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea.

By KIEU PHONG - MANH HOA – Translated by Vien Hong

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