Today was a shorter day than yesterday, with a lecture in the morning about urban planning and development, a Vietnamese language class after, lunch at a sushi restaurant, and a site visit to Phu My Hung in the afternoon. Phu My Hung is an urban development corporation that strives to “develop a city south of the city” as one employee of the company put it. The Phu My Hung corporation is in charge of developing a specified plot of land into a residential area that includes housing, parks, a mall, schools, and a power plant based on a master plan created by an American from California. Phu My Hung is home to currently 32,000 people that live in 16,000 houses of varying types. About 62% of the residents are Vietnamese while 38% are foreigners, with the majority coming from Korea. Phu My Hung is required to follow certain broad environmental guidelines, although these do not prevent environmental externalities such as run-off into the river. This corporation is also clearly committed to making the “city” they are building best for the future residents. Phu My Hung stresses human-oriented development, meaning that they build the community based on the Vietnamese lifestyle. For example, they created lots of room for pedestrians to walk, as many Vietnamese walk wherever they need to go, and they created separate lanes on the highway recently built for motorcyclists, as the most popular form of transportation in Vietnam is scootering.
Phu My Hung was a perfect example of the rapid expansion and development of Ho Chi Minh city currently occurring. With a master plan that looks to build this great residential “city” outside of Ho Chi Minh, it is clear that the city is rapidly developing and is in need of suburban housing to support the growth. Furthermore, an interesting thing I noticed while driving through Phu My Hung was the mass amount of western stores, such as Volvo, Kia, Starbucks, and more. These stores are reminders that Vietnam is now an influence in the world economy and is quickly developing.