International Development Planning Review

Into the land rush: facing the urban transition in Hanoi's western suburbs

International Development Planning Review (2011), 33, (3), 293–319.

Abstract

An urban transition of epochal proportions is underway in Vietnam. Of the many perspectives on this transformation, the least represented is that of villagers who are forced to interpret and respond to the changes taking place in the land rush around them. Leading up to the annexation of Hà Tây province in August 2008, the provincial government had approved hundreds of projects, mostly in districts bordering Hanoi and along the Láng Hòa Lạc corridor. Surrounded by project signboards promoting high-tech zones, new urban areas and resorts, villagers were confronted with previously unimaginable futures. Using a forced choice survey and face-to-face interviews, this research discovered that, while nearly all respondents agreed with the goals of development, skepticism over its claims were much higher among those closest to the urban edge. In response, they have retreated to sporadic protests over compensation and the restoration of ritual spaces as a means of maintaining community identity.

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DiGregorio, Michael