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HCM City studies innovation urban area development

An international workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 12 to discuss the development of an “innovation urban area” in the southern metropolis.

The innovation urban area will be at the core of the city’s industrial revolution 4.0, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen told the workshop titled "An Innovation District in HCM City: Towards a Strategic Roadmap".

Governance of the innovation hub would be done online and be transparent and without red tape, he said, adding it would strongly develop smart transport and environmental protection.

The idea for the hub had been mooted by the city’s Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nha, who had suggested basing it around the High-tech Park in District 9, the National University in Thu Duc District and the proposed Thu Thiem Urban and Financial Centre in District 2.

Nguyen Do Dung, an urban planning consultant for Singapore-based CPG, told the workshop there are five principles for a successful innovation hub: knowing the local economy to choose their most competitive industries; choosing the right location; setting up a strong execution agency; engaging stakeholders and creating an eco-system; and allowing for flexibility.

Le Van Thanh from the HCM City’s Institute for Development Studies said the innovation urban area would have the most advanced technology and research and be highly liveable.

He also said since the innovation urban hub would provide high-tech services, its social and technical infrastructure should be of international standard.

Many key infrastructure works are planned for the city’s eastern districts like Belt Road 3, the Cat Lai Bridge linking HCM City with Nhon Trach District in Dong Nai province, widening of National Road No 13, a rail link with Long Thanh International Airport, extension of a metro line from Ben Thanh Market to Thu Thiem, and monorail No 2 linking districts 7, 2 and Binh Thanh.

Some of them have already been completed or work is underway.

Prof Phan VanTruong, an expert on the urban economy and master planning, hailed the idea of building an innovation urban area.

“We must think that HCM City will spearhead the nation’s economic development, and the eastern districts have a solid foundation to develop.

“We must build a fully new urban area where priority is given to walking, buses and metro and no longer motorcycles and cars.”

Another similar workshop will be organised in May to gather opinions from Vietnamese and international experts on the model to be adopted and detailed plans for the hub.