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Sep 13, 2023 / 17:37

Hanoi develops without losing characters

Hanoi makes people optimistic about its right way of developing in a slow but sustainable manner.

During my eight years living here, the more I knew Hanoi, the more I felt that the city was wonderful.

Martin Rama, Lead Economist for Vietnam, World Bank 

I traveled to some countries. For Vietnam, I'm totally optimistic that there will be a rich country in a generation. I cannot say that for many countries. In such context, I was also relatively well impressed that the character of Hanoi, in these 25 years is still the same. Whenever I come from the airport to my home. The streets are not changing, the tree-lined streets, the lakes, and people on the sidewalks, etc. This has given me hope that the city may develop without losing its character.

I live on a quiet street in Hanoi and every morning, there are people who come with flowers and fruit. That doesn't change.

Of course, these are very dangerous times in development time when people are trying to prosper. And they may destroy things that should not be destroyed or make decisions that may not help like, oh, we need clean sidewalks. I know people live in this. So, I see this is a very important time.

I think a country like Vietnam has priorities for public monies, education health infrastructure, one has to find ways to involve the private sector in Heritage Preservation and to do it in a way that combines what is good for Hanoi. What is good about development? We all want more comfortable lives. We all want more comfortable houses, and we want elevators. But you can do that in a way that keeps the atmosphere.

For that reason, I suggest three ways for cities like Hanoi to achieve this target. One is to create consciousness, and awareness of what needs to be protected, and what should not be lost. The second is specific policies, there have to be policies that say, this is protected. street trees, there should be wide sidewalks, vendors should be able to use the sidewalks all these are public policies. And the third thing is the development of the private sector. When Heritage Preservation is well done, the private sector can gain from it. And there are very good examples. So, these are the three kinds of aspirations that have the awareness policies and business model that works.

Martin Rama, Lead Economist for Vietnam, World Bank

 Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Khanh Vu Khoa