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HCM City to increase greenery, improve public lighting

Green urban planning in Ho Chi Minh City’s inner districts should be based on a long-term vision to avoid wastage of land, reduce pollution and improve people’s living standards, a top city leader has said.

Speaking at a recent conference, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said the city’s urbanisation and population growth rates are high while there is not enough land for greenery.

A number of public parks have been planned for years but have yet to be built due to a lack of funds, he said.

The city has to put greenery projects on the back burner since it has more urgent needs like roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, he said.

Most of the lands earmarked for the planned parks are inaccessible or empty, with uninhabited houses or factories that are being moved out of the city, or along rivers and canals.

Nhan urged the city authorities to speed up work on the parks and said private sector investment needs to be attracted. “Urban planning for green space must adapt to climate change,” he said.

The official said the city would learn from international experiences shared at the conference for making greening plans for the next 10 to 25 years and become a green city by 2045.

Vo Van Hoan, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said in 1997, the Government had approved a greening plan for HCM City but it has not developed detailed plans.

“Park management in the city remains lax.” Property developers often overlook greenery norms to reduce costs, he added.

Chuah Hock Seong, a member of the Board of Director of the National Park of Singapore, spoke about his experience in developing and managing greenery in the world’s greenest country.

Singapore has a long-term strategy for greenery development involving the participation of both the Government and people. When it comes to construction of buildings, Singapore is always focused on green space to better serve its people, he said.

According to the Department of Construction, at the end of last year, the city had 369 parks covering a total area of 491.16 hectares.

Since 2000, the city has only built two new parks, the 21ha Gia Dinh in Phu Nhuan District and the 9ha 23/9 in District 1. Most of the city’s parks are in the inner city.

Some districts have no public parks at all, like 9, 2, Thu Duc, Binh Tan, Nha Be, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi and Binh Chanh.

Turning his attention to public lighting, Nhan said the city centre lacks a plan for this, especially decorative lighting, promising an energy-saving lighting scheme for the city centre and each district would be developed soon.

Hundreds of business executives and policymakers participated in the international conference on planning orientations for urban greening, parks and lighting.

Organised by the municipal People’s Committee, it also sought to assess the current status of parks and other green areas and urban lighting including decorative lighting in the city.-VNA /VNP