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1.2m Vietnamese Move to Cities a Year: Report

Up to 1.2 million Vietnamese migrate to cities each year, according to a recent report.

At a French Development Agency conference entitled “How to Think and Develop a Sustainable City”, experts warned this rapid urban migration would threaten the stability of urban areas, reports Thanh Nien.

Do Viet Chien, deputy secretary of the Association of Cities of Vietnam, told the conference that 1-1.2 million people migrate to urban areas each year.

Over the past 30 years, Vietnam has had an urbanization rate of 3.4%, the highest in Southeast Asia. Currently 36% of the national population lives in cities, however this number is expected to rise to 40% by 2020 before climbing to 60% by 2050.

As Vietnam’s urban population continues to balloon, problems like traffic congestion, pollution and lack of funding for urban development projects pose a serious risk to city dwellers.

Beyond – or perhaps in conjunction with – these issues, a lack of “green” criteria for urban Vietnam means city governments and urban planners often struggle to develop urban areas without compromising the surrounding environment.

“Following recent environment disasters, the issue of environment protection needs to be prioritized in urban development,” Chien told the conference.

Many French experts also called upon Vietnam’s municipal authorities and urban planners to plant more trees, work to decrease pollution and focus on increasing public transportation use in cities. While their Vietnamese counterparts agree with these points, government officials also noted the looming threat posed by climate change.

“Vietnam has up to 400 urban areas that could be affected by sea-level rise and 140 others face flash flood threats,” Tran Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of the Department of Urban Development within the Ministry of Construction, told the conference. “Thus, coping with climate change should be prioritized rather than green development or energy conservation.”


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