The Evolving Urban Form: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)


Vietnam may be the next China. With a nominally communist government, Vietnam has liberalized its markets and is prospering from an increased reliance on exports. Vietnam's gross domestic product per capita is still only about $3000, but has been among the faster growing economies over the past 10 years. Vietnam is well positioned to capture any growth that might be diverted from China’s east coast urban areas as labor costs there rise and concerns increase about the influence of that country’s powerful state-owned corporations.

Political power in Vietnam may lie in Hanoi, but the economic heart of Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is the core of Viet Nam's largest urban area, which is headed toward a population of 9 million, including exurban areas beyond the municipal boundaries.

For planning purposes, the area has been divided into five subregions. The urban development trends in the Ho Chi Minh City area are similar to those of high income world urban areas. The core is experiencing little or no population growth, while peripheral areas are growing much more strongly (Photo: Core and Saigon River).

Core and Saigon River

Suburbanizing Ho Chi Minh City: Historical data for the districts of Ho Chi Minh City are difficult to obtain. However, the last five years provide a representative view of urban development trends, especially when combined with population projections through 2025 as reported in transportation planning documentation from the Ho Chi Minh City master plan.

The inner core area has a population of approximately 1.4 million, with little growth expected, and is expected to decline in population by 2025. At the same time, the inner core is particularly dense, with more than 100,000 residents per square mile or 40,000 residents per square kilometer. This is approximately 1.5 times as dense as Manhattan or the ville de Paris. By 2025, the inner core will decline further to a population of 1.3 million. One unusual distinguishing characteristic of the core is very thin buildings, the result of taxation based upon building width (Photo: Tax induced thin buildings)

Tax induced thin buildings

Growth is stronger, but still limited in the outer core area (adjacent to the core, but differentiated because of its lower density). Over the past five years, the outer core grew from approximately 2.2 million to 2.5 million, which is strong growth in most high income world urban areas but not as notable for a rapidly growing urban area in the developing world. This growth is expected to moderate even further by 2025, when the population is expected to reach only 2.6 million. The population density in the outer core area is 60,000 per square mile or 23,000 per square kilometer.

In contrast, almost all  the growth is expected outside the core, with both less formal development and very attractive housing (Photo: New suburban housing).

New suburban housing

The urban fringe areas, or the second ring of development beyond the inner core grew from 1.5 million in 2004 to 2.0 million in 2009, a 31% growth rate. By 2025, the urban fringe is projected in transportation planning documentation to grow to 3.0 million. The population density of the urban fringe is 14,500 per square mile or 5,500 per square kilometer, nearly as dense as the city (municipality) of San Francisco.

The suburban areas within the municipality of Ho Chi Minh City grew from 1.0 million in 2004 to 1.3 million in 2009, again approximately a 30% growth rate. By 2025, the suburban areas are expected to experience the greatest growth, adding 1.6 million population, rising to 2.9 million residents.

Comparable data for the exurban areas outside the Ho Chi Minh City municipality are not as readily available. However, it is projected that from 2007 to 2025 the population in these areas will rise from 2.6 million to 4.1 million.

Overall, the municipality grew from 6.1 million population in 2004 7.2 million in 2009, for an 18% growth rate. Including the municipality and the exurbs, it is expected that there will be an increase from 9.1 million population in 2007 to 13.9 million in 2025. At least 95% of this growth is expected to be outside two core areas (Figure 1).

Employment growth is also projected to be dominated by areas outside the two core areas. Between 2007 and 2025, it is expected that 80% of the new employment will be in peripheral areas.

Building a Metro: Ho Chi Minh City may have the highest personal transportation market share outside North America. The personal vehicle (motorcycle and car) share of travel is 92%, leaving just 8% for transit (one estimate indicates an even lower 5%). Most of this travel by motorcycle, which sometimes carry three or more people.  As Ho Chi Minh City becomes more prosperous, the share of travel by automobile will likely increase. Automobile ownership is rising at 20 percent annually, more than twice the rate for motorcycle ownership.

The government would like to change this pattern and has embarked on building a Metro in hopes of increasing transit's market share to between 40% and 50% by 2025. This huge capital investment will be largely limited to feed and serve the core areas that will account for virtually none of the population increase and little of the new employment.

There is no precedent for an increase in transit usage remotely of the magnitude that is sought in Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, consultants for the Asian Development Bank were so concerned that they provided an alternative projection for the system, indicating a 2025 transit market share of 22%, instead of the official goal of 40% to 50%. The consultants indicated:

As noted earlier, the above demand models were adjusted to reflect the Government “policy” objective of achieving 40-50% PT mode share by 2025. This will entail a massive shift in travel behaviour and introduction of some very strong transport and policy initiatives. Clearly there is a risk that this may not happen as quickly or to the extent targeted. Therefore forecasts were developed for a “trend” scenario – still based on major PT transport improvements and strong policy initiatives, but with parameter values based on the consultants’ experience of what has been achieved in other cities.

However, virtually tripling transit's market share to 22% seems little less doubtful than increasing it to 40% to 50%. The consultant provided no examples to indicate that such an increase had "been achieved in other cities."

Personal Mobility in Ho Chi Minh City: One of the challenges for a pedestrians in Ho Chi Minh City – like Hanoi – is dodging the swarm of motorcycles in crossing streets. Even with the Metro, more and more will buy motorcycles and cars. Traffic congestion is likely to worsen. This is principally because, even in congested urban areas, door to door travel tends to be more rapid by personal modes than by transit.

Fortunately, the authorities are allowing the urbanization to expand, which will limit the growth of traffic congestion. They would do well to follow the advice of urban planners like Shlomo Angel (of New York University and Princeton University), who recommends building a grid of arterials streets to accommodate the growth on lower cost peripheral lands.   Strategies such as these provide Ho Chi Minh City the potential to suburbanize gracefully, maintain its high level of personal mobility and contribute substantially to its continued economic progress.

Wendell Cox is a Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris and the author of “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life

Top photo: Typical transport in Ho Chi Minh City

All photos by author

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

You have given more than

You have given more than visitors expectancy. This post is very helpful, edifying and in addition cool thoughts on the topic.
mio m3

voyance couple

voyance couple

Thank you for such a well written article. It’s full of insightful information and entertaining descriptions. Your point of view is the best among many.

good post

This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck. ,
home warranty companies reviews

Thanks For sharing this

Thanks For sharing this Superb article.I use this Article to show my assignment in is useful For me Great Work.
what helps neuropathy pain in feet

best post

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
first american home buyers protection corporation
home warranty company reviews

homeowners warranty

Great Southern Coins is the premiere silver maple leaf coins dealer. Shop with confidence and assurance that all silver and gold coins are backed with a US guarantee shipped direct to your door quickly. Visit them online to add to your collection or start one today.
homeowners warranty

Thank you for the good

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
However, how could we communicate?

I can see that you are an

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
hsk study guide

website traffic

I will drive unlimited real USA traffic 59000 to website for 2 months for $5 Click here>>>

This is my first time i

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work
obsession story method

It is imperative that we

It is imperative that we read blog post very carefully. I am already done it and find that this post is really amazing.

Thanks For sharing this

Thanks For sharing this Superb article.I use this Article to show my assignment in is useful For me Great Work.
mirada al interior

Best work you have done,

Best work you have done, this online website is really cool with great facts.
how do you make a man desire you

Awesome and interesting

Awesome and interesting article. Great things you've always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post.
Die besten Bewertungen

Thank you again for all the

Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards,

This is very nice post

I want to it articles thank for your time of this nice read!!! I definitely enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your blog a must read blog!!!!
laboratory microscope

qualification they make

Hi there! Do you identify qualification they make a few plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? Im wearisome to get my blog to rank for approximately besieged keywords but Im not as fantastically good domino effect. Qualification you identify of some please share. Thanks!

I'm glad I found this web

I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, im always look for people to check out my web site.
text your ex back leaked

I'm glad I found this web

I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, im always look for people to check out my web site. ondersteuning HR

You should write about the

You should write about the clearness on the blog. You can list it's intriguing. Your blog impression may build up your acquaintances.

Sea Horizon EC has full and

Sea Horizon EC has full and unique facilities, which includes a guard house, clubhouse, children's playground, swimming pool, Aerobic/Yoga room, piano room, pool room, indoor gym, hydrotherapy beds, hydrotherapy baths, reading room, function room, onsen, jacuzzi.
Sea Horizon EC

Very interesting article. It

Very interesting article. It touches many urgent problems of our society. We can not be indifferent to these challenges. This article gives the light in which we can observe the life. This is something that worth doing.
clubmz reviews
clubmz e-spy

Toilet training, or potty

Toilet training, or potty training, is the process of training a young child to use the toilet for urination and defecation
rfp response template

Several buses are available

Several buses are available near Bartley Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road along with shopping centers and restaurants.
Former Tai Keng Court Taking Taking part in a survey is a simple and fun way to make money from home. With the increasing economic demands it is reassuring to know that you can get paid ...

foods and exercises you can

foods and exercises you can try All-Belly Pregnancy Program: How To Eat And Exercise When Expecting To Stay Fit, Have A Strong, Healthy Baby, And Be One "Hot Mama"! This site is a leading resource for information about the Ryan Watson and Flavia Del Monte All Belly Pregnancy PDF book, diet manual, and exercises for pregnant women that help you carry your pregnancy weight with ease, prepare you for giving birth and beyond, and help you keep your baby healthy and happy inside the womb.

I am going to share this

I am going to share this information with some of my selected friends, as you are providing a very nice information to everyone, this is a great place with tons of information all together.It's like also a bonding moment for all of you who contributed a lot on the event. Keep it up and congratulations.
free cell phone spy software
cell spyware

Great Post. I have not been

Great Post. I have not been visiting the Fernvale and Sengkang EC site recently. Took a visit again and there were some great comments on the site. Excellent post.
Keep up the good work.
Lush Acres

here's the link Female Mind

here's the link Female Mind Mastery: How To Get Any Girl Horny And Wanting To Sleep With You! This site is a leading resource for information about the Kirsten Price Female Mind Mastery PDF book and video training system that teaches you how to master her mind and pleasure her body, regardless of whether she is a co-worker... a friend... your ex... or even a random waitress or girl at the bar. The The Girlfriend Activation System: How To Get A Girlfriend Step-By-Step Using "Literotica". This site is a leading resource for information about the Christian Hudson Girlfriend Activation System PDF book and attraction system that teaches you how to turn a girl you like into your loyal and committed girlfriend.

pull your ex back Pull Your

pull your ex back Pull Your Ex Back Ebook: How To Get Your Ex Back Using A "Twisted" Technique That Compels Your Ex Girlfriend Or Ex Boyfriend To Want You Back. This site is a leading resource for information about the Ryan Hall Pull Your Ex Back PDF book and relationship repair system that teaches you psychological techniques on how to win your ex back that uses curiosity and the fear of loss to reignite your ex's passion for you.

This is very nice post

Thanks for it, i have been seeking for information regarding this material for ages and yours is that the best I even have discovered up to now.
Plant growth chamber ,Insect growth chamber

how to get rid of cellulite

how to get rid of cellulite fast The Cellulite Factor: Make Cellulite Disappear And Get The Sexy Body You Want. This site is a leading resource for information about the Dr Charles Cellulite Factor PDF book and cellulite treatment system that teaches you how to get rid of cellulite fast in your legs, hips, butt, and other trouble spots.

mike whitfield workout

mike whitfield workout finishers 2.0 Workout Finishers Ebook: How To Get Ripped And Torch Body Fat Using Insanely "Weird And Addicting" Metabolic Stacking Exercises...Without Giving Up Any Of Your Favorite Workouts. This site is a leading resource for information about the Mike Whitfield Workout Finishers PDF book and body transformation system that teaches you how to use metabolic finishers to torch body fat, build lean, sexy muscle, and dramatically improve conditioning without cardio. The Michael The Michael Fiore Text Your Ex Back 2.0 PDF and multimedia texting system is here! Read reviews, get download and purchase links, and learn about Michael Fiore text examples and techniques to get your ex back.

power of conversational

power of conversational hypnosis on rebelmouse The Power Of Conversational Hypnosis Ebook: 3 Crucial Factors That Almost Force People To Fall Under You Hypnotic Spell And Do Exactly What You Want. This site is a leading resource for information about the Igor Ledochowski Power Of Conversational Hypnosis PDF book and hypnotic training system that teaches you effective techniques for influencing and persuading people to give you exactly what you want during everyday conversations.

fantasy lover formula The

fantasy lover formula The Fantasy Lover Formula System: Become Your Woman's Ultimate Sexual Pleasure. This site is a leading resource for information about the Krista and Leann Fantasy Lover Formula PDF book and video seduction system that teaches you incredible techniques on giving intense sexual pleasure to your wife, girlfriend, or hottie you just met at the bar.

carb backloading Carb

carb backloading Carb Backloading Diet: What Muscle And Fitness Magazine Has Described As "Eat Like A Pig. Get Shredded. The Carb Backloading Diet Could Provide The Holy Grail Of Packing On Mass Without Adding Fat." This site is a leading resource for information about the John Kiefer Carb Backloading 1.0 PDF book and body fat control system that teaches you how to pack on incredible muscle while burning fat simultaneously, all while enjoying the foods you love...and YES that means pizza and donuts!

fifa ultimate team

fifa ultimate team millionaire autobuyer FUT Millionaire Autobuyer System: How To Earn Millions Of Coins And Snatch The Best FIFA Players In The Game...All On Autopilot. This site is a leading resource for information about the Mike Miranda FIFA Ultimate Team Millionaire Autobuyer PDF book and trading system software that teaches you how to quickly and easily turn the FIFA marketplace into your own gold coin ATM machine so you can acquire any player you want and build the ultimate dream team.

DUO Residences is also near

DUO Residences is also near to Bugis Junction as well as the buzzling city area. Entertainment for your loved ones and friends is therefore at your fingertips with the full condo facilities as well as the amenities in Bugis.
Bugis Condo

This is also a very good

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this..

The condo’s facilities

The condo’s facilities provide full family entertainment needs for your family and loved ones. Indulge in a serene and tranquil lifestyle right in the heart of Jurong East.
Jurong Gateway

Belgravia Villas is a rare

Belgravia Villas is a rare Freehold Strata Landed Cluster Housing situated in Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 in District 20. Many who move to landed homes for the exclusivity and space would have to make do without facilities. However, homeowners at Belgravia Villas will have swimming pools, a clubhouse, a playground, a piano room, indoor gym, hydrotherapy beds and baths, jacuzzi, among other facilities to be shared among 118 exclusive units. belgravia villas

Nice on again

Thanks for sharing the info vietenam, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource mens diamond jewelry