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After Thủ Đức, Củ Chi Might Become Saigon's Next 'City Within a City'

Two years ago, three districts in Saigon were merged to become Thủ Đức City, Saigon’s first municipal city. Experts and city officials are deliberating a decision to give Củ Chi District a similar upgrade.

At an academic seminar on exploring the potential for development and investment of Củ Chi District, a number of experts agreed that Củ Chi should bypass the urban district designation and be upgraded to municipal city. Currently, it’s recognized as a “huyện,” commonly used for rural or suburban districts instead of “quận.”

Phạm Phương Thảo, a former president of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council, said at the event that by becoming a city, Củ Chi can retain its agricultural operations. She singled out the district’s 54 kilometers of riverside land as a geographic advantage, as well as its elevated topography, which helps drainage and prevents land subsidence.

Last year, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc emphasized the need to develop Hóc Môn and Củ Chi districts of Saigon and shared his vision to turn the districts into eco-cities, a green urban belt on the western side of Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyễn Quyết Thắng, the secretary of the Củ Chi Party Committee, explained to Tuoi Tre that while he had plans in place for when the district becomes a municipal city, there are challenges that the rural region is facing, with a lack of infrastructure the most pressing problem. Thắng said that there are a number of industrial zones in Củ Chi, but roads connecting them with the national supply chain are poor.

Moreover, while agriculture exists in Củ Chi, operations are small- or medium-scaled and employ old-fashioned technologies, so are not competitive when compared to other agricultural powerhouses in the country. Still, Thắng explained that Củ Chi City will not abandon agriculture, and instead might pivot to high-tech farms and farms with elements of ecotourism. Part of the land earmarked for agriculture will be converted to make room for high-tech industries.

Apart from the Củ Chi Tunnels, he admitted that the district does not currently have enough attractions to entice tourists, so he expressed interest in establishing a public lake spanning up to 100 hectares and surrounded by parks, as well as public spaces for cultural activities and night entertainment. Several speakers at the event mentioned the possibility of amusement parks like Disneyland to attract tourists.

Part of the plan for Củ Chi City also entails the potential for premium nursing homes catering to older adults wishing to enjoy a certain standard of medical and palliative care.

[Photo via Tri Thuc Cuoc Song]

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