Day 2: 5.7.19
Today we visited Phu My Hung, a development corporation that literally means “prosperity, beauty, and strength.” A century ago, Saigon South was thought to be a lost cause, impossible to develop because of it’s swampy nature, but after a successful design competition, this company set out with a mission to transform the low value wasteland to a prosperous city and they have been quite successful thus far. Phu My Hung prides itself in how they are able to offer their residents a pleasant lifestyle, with open green space, plenty of sky, short commutes to work, and convenient access to shopping. All of which are highly desirable because outside of the development, the population density increases and the buildings are more of an abstract mix of old and new.
Initially, one might not notice that they are inside Site A, also known as New City Center and the first of five zones to be completed, because it’s not like entering a gated community. However, after one goes deeper into the heart of the development, subtle yet significant changes become apparent. There’s more space in between buildings, more parks full of local nature, and despite the fact that Phu My Hung works with individual designers from various countries such as Malaysia and the US to create the different types of residential buildings throughout the zone, the development retains a coherent, modern vibe. I found this to be particularly interesting because I would have expected the civil engineers behind each project to have visions that were heavily influenced by their own cultures but I was impressed to find that none of the buildings clashed with each other.
Another aspect that makes Phu My Hung unique is their attention to detail when it comes to the environment. When designing the city, the masterplanners made the decision to preserve the land along the water, and this has prevented the river from being polluted by the waste that would have been produced by riverside construction. Not to mention that there are over fifty parks, which not only serve as beautiful picnic spots but also improve the air quality of the city.
Currently, the population of the five residential districts of New City Center is composed of roughly 42% foreigners and 58% Vietnamese, including some from other provinces. The diversified demographic benefits the local economy by increasing the rent market and providing a reliable source of income to the Vietnamese who lease the apartments. It makes one wonder what the implications would be if the demographics changed, such as whether there’s a point of so much foreign influence that would bring major profit but risk compromising the Vietnamese culture…
P.S. We ate lunch at Tokyo Deli and the cuisine continues to blow me away!