The urbanization process has undermined people’s living environment, thus, Vietnam prioritizes projects integrated with environmental solutions in building urban infrastructure to ensure a safe environment and facilitate economic development.
Data from the Vietnam Association of Natural Resources and Environment Protection showed that Vietnam’s urbanization rate reached 40% in 2020, and it is expected to increase to 45% by 2025. Speedy urbanization process has jeopardized the living environment by generating dust, emissions, waste, among others.
Green growth is a solution for climate change in cities. Photo: Doan Thanh
“Large cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have a very high proportion of the construction industry in the gross regional domestic products (GDP). A growth of GDP of 1% would lead to a degradation of 4% of the environment, so urban planners have to take environment and climate change issues into consideration in urban development, ” said Dr. Nguyen Dinh Hoe, the association’s general secretary.
Echoing Mr. Hoe, Dr. Vu Canh Toan from the Institute of Environmental and Social Sciences said that the current climate changes have posed great challenges to the urbanization process.
“These changes are taking place in an extreme and unpredictable way, partly due to the construction of urban infrastructure,” Mr. Toan added.
Towards green growth
According to Dr. Tran Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of the Urban Development Department under the Ministry of Construction, Vietnam's major cities are concentrated mostly in the North, the South and the coastal areas. The urbanization rate in 2020 reached 40% which is assessed at a low level. Meanwhile, the urban economy accounts for about 70% of the country's GDP. Therefore, the urbanization process is necessary and consistent with the trend in the new period.
The puzzle is how to harmonize urbanization goals for socio-economic development with living environment preservation, together with finding solutions for the complicating climate change, in the way that the living environment is protected.
“Currently, the urgent issue is to immediately implement urban upgrading projects to improve quality, expand scale and developing a modernized urban profile,” Dr. Tran Thi Lan Anh said.
Besides, building urban infrastructure towards green growth is a necessary goal in the urbanization process, in order to adapt to climate change, she noted.
“Green growth is the most effective solution for urban development which is adaptable to climate change. Over the past time, Vietnam has achieved positive results when implementing the program of green growth and sustainable development. If this program is well implemented, it will help to solve issues arising in urbanization and climate change,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Dieu Trinh, deputy director of the Department of Science and Education under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.