Welcome to Contested Cityscapes, a site dedicated to bringing to the fore current changes to the urban fabric of small and large cities in northern Vietnam and how these changes impact the lives and livelihoods of people living in a post-Đổi Mới (economic renovation) period. A compilation of recent and ongoing research by professors, students, and researchers from Canada and Southeast Asia, Contested Cityscapes seeks to highlight how rapid urban growth, expansion, and densification affect those who grow up in, migrate to, and travel between these urban areas.
Our work to date has focused on six urban case studies. Three in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, and three in small cities and towns in the uplands of northern Vietnam.
In Hanoi, we have been working with street vendors since 2012 to better understand how they utilise urban spaces in specific ways to negotiating state restrictions on their livelihoods. We also have a new project working with xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers, focusing on their daily use and knowledge of the city’s streets. A third new project focuses on the impacts of the integration of the ‘Singapore Model’ into current planning discourse for the city.
In the northern uplands, we have three ongoing case studies: Sa Pa town and Lào Cai city in Lào Cai Province, and Cao Bằng City, in Cao Bằng Province. In Lào Cai and Cao Bằng cities our focus is on rapidly changing urban form, residents’ use and appropriation of public space, and a range of urban planning and development tensions. In Sa Pa town, we focus on the impacts of a rapid rise of tourism on local Kinh (Vietnamese majority) and ethnic minority residents.
Uplands of Vietnam