enCity and partners win the highest prize in the competition for Ho Chi Minh City’s Master Plan

enCity and partners win the highest prize in the competition for Ho Chi Minh City’s Master Plan

With a deep understanding of urban planning and local know-how, we envision the future of Ho Chi Minh City as “Open City", making Ho Chi Minh City a capital leading market, the centre of growth for the whole Southeast region of Vietnam, as well as a world-class urban center.
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enCity and our partners, Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning (VIUP) and Ho Chi Minh City Urban Planning Institute (UPI), have just been announced as the winner of the  planning competition for the Ho Chi Minh City Master Plan. The competition was organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture to gather innovative yet feasible ideas for the city master plan 2040. With a deep understanding of urban planning and local know-how, we envision the future of Ho Chi Minh City as “Open City”, making Ho Chi Minh City a capital leading market, the centre of growth for the whole Southeast region of Vietnam, as well as a world-class urban center.

Through a comprehensive analysis of the city’s existing economic, social and environmental aspects, we conclude that despite being the most populated city in Vietnam and one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia (2095 km2, population 8.9 million), Ho Chi Minh City is at a crossroad in its development history. It faces many challenges for future development such as rapid population growth, high urban density, uncontrolled house prices, traffic congestion, and shifting FDI inflow to neighboring provinces, as well as a wide range of issues related to environment and climate change. Ho Chi Minh City needs to maintain openness, increase regional and international connections to become a world-class trade center, promote the economic scale of the region, develop the innovative economy and adapt to climate change.

We propose Ho Chi Minh City as an “Open City” with Open Connectivity, Open Landscape and Open Opportunities. Ho Chi Minh City will strengthen its role as a regional urban core, which will lead the growth and transition of the region from a labour-intensive economy to an innovation and knowledge driven economy. We envision Ho Chi Minh City will become an innovative city that is open to new ideas and opportunities, hence attracting worldwide talent. The proposal also leverages Ho Chi Minh City’s ecological and landscape features to increase residents’ quality of life and enhance the city’s ability to adapt to climate change.

The three themes surrounding Ho Chi Minh City’s openness are as follows:

First, “Open Connectivity” – Ho Chi Minh City will expand its connectivity and strengthen its role as a regional urban core, to lead growth and transition of the Southern region. We propose a new urban structure with 2 Growth Axes and 3 Production Belts, creating development infrastructure for both Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding areas, maximizing the ability to connect with neighboring provinces. “Open connection” will bring the city become the driving force for the largest economic region in the country, with a place on the world economic map, and become a development impulse.

Map of traffic connections and regional links, with 2 Growth Axes and 3 Production Belts, turning HCMC into a regional urban core for economic development (Source: enCity)

Second, “Open Landscape”– Ho Chi Minh City will unveil access to its iconic ecological and landscape areas to increase quality of life, solidify the city’s identity and enhance its ability to adapt to climate change. Ho Chi Minh City inherently has a unique open space and landscape system that should anchor the future development of the city, particularly at Can Gio Park and Saigon River. We optimize the spatial structure by using the green and blue system as an urban façade to enhance its central value. enCity’s climate change experts divide the city into 4 Adaptive Zones integrating building solutions with green infrastructure, to cope with 3 main types of flood in the city (rain, upstream discharge, sea level rise). For protection zones with high risk of flooding, enCity proposes a comprehensive flood control strategy consisting of 3 layers: Resilience, Protection, Adaptation. At the same time, we advise the authorities to implement open and transparent legal mechanisms through publicly sharing information on flood risk or flood warning maps so that everyone can access.

The climate change adaptation map with 4 Adaptive Zones combining building solutions with green infrastructure (Source: enCity-VIUP-UPI)

Third, “Open Opportunities” – Ho Chi Minh City will be an innovative city, open to new ideas and opportunities, and be a destination for all – locally, regionally, and globally. We propose a flexible land use management to plan for future opportunities; Transit Oriented Development hubs to enable local interaction and regional integration; an urban manufacturing system to localise production chain; and a landscape embracement to enhance quality of life. To facilitate the “innovative city”, we establish Innovation Hotspots with 3 layers of supporting institutions: City-level Innovation Hotspots, District-level Knowledge Centers, and Ward-level Information Hubs. By optimizing existing public infrastructure, these supporting layers will allow all citizens to access latest technological advancements and changes, ensuring equitable opportunities for all.

Flexible land use development zones for an innovative ecosystem (Source: VIUP-UPI-enCity)

A network of innovation hotspots for breakthrough development, with supporting infrastructure from city-district-ward level to give opportunities to everyone (Source: ENCITY)

 A street section of a future innovation hotspot, where a variety of activities are co-located. (Source: enCity)

Bird’s eye view of streets with pedestrian connectivity for innovation hotspots (Source: enCity)

Mr. Dzung Do Nguyen (Co-founder + CEO of enCity Urban Solutions) said: “We are urban consultants who not only feel attached to but are keen on the planning of Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, we are very pleased to share our international experiences and meaningful know-how to contribute to sustainable and prosperous development of the city. Ho Chi Minh City is opening to plentiful opportunities for new development. A plan for Ho Chi Minh City must capture this amazing energy of change and innovation and create the right foundation for it to grow. The idea of an “Open City” will exploit its strengths and potential to become a driving force for the Southwest region by promoting businesses, increasing jobs and quality of life, creating an innovative and attractive destination that attracts talents.

With more than 50 experts from nearly 10 countries who have been implementing urban planning and design projects in China, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, enCity has a deep understanding of the culture and development characteristics in Vietnam, an essential element of a successful planning. Our goal is to work with governments and leaders to create livable and human-centered cities in Asia and the world.

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We propose Ho Chi Minh City as an "Open City” with Open Connectivity, Open Landscape and Open Opportunities. Ho Chi Minh City will strengthen its role as a regional urban core, which will lead the growth and transition of the region from a labour-intensive economy to an innovation and knowledge driven economy. We envision Ho Chi Minh City will become an innovative city that is open to new ideas and opportunities, hence attracting worldwide talent. The proposal also leverages Ho Chi Minh City’s ecological and landscape features to increase residents’ quality of life and enhance the city’s ability to adapt to climate change.

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