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Saigon Designates 6 Areas With Architectural Heritage to Be Conserved

Is six enough?

Tuổi Trẻ reports that the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture recently announced new architectural management regulations that identified six areas of historic and cultural significance that must be conserved.

The six are: Bến Thành Market, Hồ Con Rùa and the old villas in District 3, Bình Tây Market in District 6, the Nguyễn Trãi-Phù Đổng Thiên Vương-Lương Nhữ Học-Hải Thượng Lãn Ông area in District 5, and the university village area in Thủ Đức City. 

This identification is meant to provide city planners with guidance when it comes to approving new developments.

For example, the streets and shophouses around Bến Thành are included, meaning that dismantling these structures is prohibited, while any new buildings must comply with regulations and modifications of existing buildings cannot alter the original design. New builds must also ensure that their design is harmonious with the surrounding architecture style.

Over the last decade, many heritage buildings across Saigon have been torn down to make way for development, including numerous French-era villas and rows of shophouses.

While the listing of the six above areas is meant to ensure historic conservation, architects told Tuổi Trẻ that this list is too small.

Cao Thành Nghiệp, for example, said that Independence Palace, Tao Đàn Park, and the Zoo and Botanical Gardens should also be included, while downtown streets like Đồng Khởi should be protected from further high-rise development. 

In addition to identifying areas for conservation, the planning department also named Nguyễn Huệ, Đồng Khởi, Bùi Viện and Nguyễn Văn Bình streets as pedestrian-only areas, while the development of underground roads and commercial spaces will be allowed below Lê Lợi, Nguyễn Huệ, Tôn Đức Thắng, Bến Bạch Đằng Park and Mê Linh Park.

[Photo: Rows of old shophouses on Hải Thượng Lãn Ông Boulevard in District 5, one of the six areas deemed worthy of conservation.]

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