Mega-urban development and transformation processes in Vietnam

Type Book
Title Mega-urban development and transformation processes in Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Publisher Lit-Verlag
Resettlement programmes and (forced) relocation have over the last years become an important element within
Vietnam’s urban upgrading initiatives. These programmes include relocation made necessary by new
infrastructure projects as well as the removal of slum-like dwellings with sub-standard living and housing
conditions, often along rivers or canals. Resettlement projects can, hence, be understood as simultaneously being
manifestations and drivers of urban “modernisation” and socio-economic transformation on a wider scale.
However, the short- and long-term effects, comprising of opportunities as well as constraints, for the affected
population are not well understood scientifically and underemphasized in the political arena.
Against this background, relocation dynamics and resulting response mechanisms of affected households are
explored using, in particular, the example of Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta. Based on empirical fieldwork in
2009 and 2010, the paper argues that the degree of direct financial implications as well as indirect livelihood
changes determine whether a household is able to gain a long-term livelihood upgrade from the resettlement or
whether it fails and experiences a downward movement in livelihood conditions and vulnerability. The latter can
result, for example, in the need to move out of the designated resettlement cluster and back into other areas with
substandard living circumstances. The main factors regulating these development pathways were, in detail, found
to be the configuration of compensation schemes and land title holdings, duration and timing of the resettlement
process, livelihood changes particularly related to income generation, access to information, regulative and
procedural knowledge and socio-political relations. The paper calls for increased attention towards the dynamic
mid- and long-term implications of resettlement on the micro-economic and socio-cultural sphere in order to
supplement the current emphasis on physical infrastructure upgrading, thereby, fostering the socio-economic
sustainability of resettlement projects.

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