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Red River’s riparian area - a space worth living in
Jenna Duong 16:46, 2021/03/30
Phuc Tan's slum neighborhood has recently been changed into one of the city’s interesting places, thanks to art and community projects.

The sleazy Phuc Tan ward was among the less frequented areas in the city. The recently-launched public playground and the previous public art project have made Phuc Tan a worth-visiting place.

From garbage dump to a multi-function area

Along the Red River, the residential group No. 16, Phuc Tan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, once a dumpsite, has recently changed its profile. It has been renovated into a multi-functional community space, providing a venue for children to play, for adults to do exercise with some fitness equipment and for the residents to meet and organize events of the neighborhood.

The opening ceremony of public space at group 16, Phuc Tan ward. Photo: Tien Phong Online

It is an achievement implemented by Think Playgrounds (a social group working on playground projects in the city), a member of the network “For A Worth Living Hanoi”.

Thanks to the active role of Think Playgrounds, the space was built in cooperation with local govenment and residents as well as benefactors, especially the Spanish designer Diego Cortizas of the Chula fashion brand, the author of mural painting here.

Regarding public spaces, people often think of parks, lakes, squares or pedestrian streets in downtown areas. However, urban neighborhoods and outskirts areas also need public squares, according to Le Quang Binh, the coordinator of the network “For A Worth Living Hanoi”.

These spaces are necessary for community activities to increase the connection and relationship among people. If the local administration invests in creating public spaces and then transferring them for the local community’s management, they will contribute to making Hanoi a worth living place for everyone, not only those living in downtown. 

The performance of ao dai Chula at the new multi-functional community space at group No. 16, Phuc Tan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: The Son 

Nguyen Van Tao, the deputy leader of group No. 16 said since the playground was launched, it has become the public gathering center of many local residents “Previously, people rarely came here because it was dirty, and unsafe.

Now it is so clean and nice that we enjoy visiting it every day. We also join hands to build a gate and a fence for the playground to make it a safe place for everyone,” he said.

Creating more worth-living spaces

The success of the public space in Phuc Tan's group No. 16 is one of about 200 community spaces and playgrounds that Think Playgrounds has made for the community.

Nguyen Tieu Quoc Dat, co-founder of Think Playgrounds, said that the group is welcomed and supported by the residents of different areas because those projects meet their demand.

The colouful new wall at the community space of Phuc Tan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Kinh te & Do thi

Near group No.16 is streets Phuc Tan 1 and Phuc Tan 2, where the Phuc Tan art space is located. It was completed about a year ago by the district’s authority and now managed by the residents.

These venues display a number of art works from recycled materials such as plastic bottles, barrels, wheel rims, exhaust pipes, bamboo baskets, among others, made by both Vietnamese and international artists.

It provides an appealing place to visit as well as a venue for art events. This month, a fashion show of ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) was held by designer Diego Cortiza with the participation of the women living in the area, which was the highlight of the event. The show welcomed a lot of visitors, mostly the local residents.

The new playground for kid in Phuc Tan ward, Hoan Kiem district. Photo: Kinh te & Do thi

The fact that a dark and polluted area being turned into a beautiful artistic space gives the residents not only a playground but also a pride in where they live.

These new small community spaces are expected to contribute to improving the living environment of the people, especially a social space for local residents as well as migrant workers.

Hanoi's leaders expect to develop the riparian areas of the Red River. Spaces like Phuc Tan can contribute to embellishing the landscape of the capital. A number of artists and architects have put forth the idea for an ecological park in the islets of the Red River.

In an area as large as Thong Nhat Park, it will connect the Long Bien Bridge’s zone and the city center, creating a scenic, arts and entertainment space for Hanoi and contributing to making the city more worthy to live in.

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TAG: Phuc Tan art and community projects Hanoi’s Red River’s riparian area turns to be a beautiful community spaces
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