Day 2: Urban Planning with Phu My Hung

From the moment we got off the bus at UEF, I immediately knew today was going to be a calmer day. After a hectic and high-energy welcome the day before, everyone was much calmer on day two. We started the day with a lecture on urban planning and the development of Ho Chi Ming City. We learned briefly about prewar history, but we mostly learned about Vietnam’s economic and architectural recovery from the Vietnam War. Despite some issues with GDP and public debt, Vietnam is successfully repairing and rebuilding Ho Chi Minh City and well as the rest of the country.

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After the lecture and a second Vietnamese language class, we had lunch at a sushi restaurant that was built inside a planned community designed by the Phu My Hung Corporation. There have been many projects since the war ended in 1975, but one of the largest and most successful modern projects is this large planned city in the south of Ho Chi Minh City. The master plan of this city, built to house 100,000 people, was made in the 90s by a combination of three international firms from Boston, Tokyo, and San Francisco. It was made with enivronmental protection in mind and it puts emphasis on green space, walkability, and clean air. The city consists of a 14-lane highway and 5 districts filled with housing, parks, restaurants, schools, and many other amenities. The city houses 32,000 people as of now, but it is on its way to 100,000.

From what I have read, heard, and seen, the housing in Phu My Hung is quite upscale and often very expensive. About 38% of the people living there are foreigners from countries like Korea, China, and the USA. During the presentation this morning, the professor talked about how although many areas of Ho Chi Minh City like that of Phu My Hung are very well-developed, there are still many areas that struggle with poverty. On the way to Phu My Hung, we drove through many neighborhoods where the ground was covered in trash and the buildings and pavement were in disrepair. Although Vietnam’s economy is growing and the country is rebuilding, there is still need for more growth and development.

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