Today we started off the day by going to UEF in the morning. We listened to a talk there about urban planning and development in Ho Chi Minh City. The talk mentioned the large infrastructure rebuild that took place after the end of the Vietnam War. After the war, more people moved into the city and the infrastructure was in a very poor state due to the war. The French originally designed Ho Chi Minh City for 400,000 people, but now the population is approaching 10 million. In order to accommodate more people the city has expanded. One of the companies that is responsible for this expansion is the company that we visited today. It is called Phu My Hung Corp. and it has worked to develop the area south of Ho Chi Minh City. Phu My Hung worked together with other companies from both America and Japan to come up with a master plan for the development of what was mostly marshland south of the city. A unique aspect of Phu My Hung is its attention to the environment. Compared to downtown Ho Chi Minh City where there is lots of pollution, the Phu My Hung development was very clean. The company follows strict environmental guidelines that keep the area from feeling over developed and polluted. Some examples of the guidelines are that a green area ratio must be met, construction and population density must be kept below a certain level, and parks are incorporated into the city. A man made lake was also built that handles the rain water runoff.
An impressive skill of Phu My Hung in my opinion was how they were able to build on marshland. In the past 25 years they have increased their building capabilities from 6 story buildings to 30 stories. They are able to build in the marshland by using more pilings when building the foundations for their projects. Another part of the visit that surprised me was that the area that Phu My Hung developed was 38% foreigners and 62% Vietnamese. I expected it to have more Vietnamese people. However it makes sense now as foreigners with more money would be able to afford living in the development, while most Vietnamese citizens would not be able to afford housing there. My overall feeling on the Phu My Hung development was that it was super nice, but almost too good to be true. Some things about it made me think that it wasn’t as perfect as they made it out to be. One example was all the security. It was mentioned that the development has hired private security companies and has over 3000 cameras installed in it. This made me feel a little uneasy about the place. I also felt that the development seems to ignore the needs of the average Vietnamese citizen, while catering to the wealthy elite.