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The Ghost Town of Thu Thiem

As we’ve written about before, there are big plans to re-develop Thu Thiem into Saigon’s new business and finance center. For the last few years, the city has demolished entire neighborhoods to clear the site, turning part of District 2 into a ghost town. While the grand re-development is at a standstill, there are those who live in its shadows, amidst the rubble and half-standing houses.

Vietnam Bridge recently published an article that does an excellent job of exposing the juxtaposition between the high-rises of District 1 and the slums that exist just across the Saigon River. Scenes that are particularly striking include xe om drivers relaxing in front of the old Thu Thiem Ferry Terminal and an evicted family living on the same land where their house once stood.

Re-development is a natural process in the urban progression of any large city and usually sparks controversy. Whether it’s a neighborhood in Saigon or a highway in New York, massive projects displace local populations. While the city offers residents compensation for their land, there is a large difference in valuations. For the residents, it’s not just about the land’s value but rather their ability to replicate their standard of living in their new home. Clearly, for some in Thu Thiem, this has not been the case.

[Vietnam Bridge // Image via VinhTT's Blog]


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