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Youth negotiations: Navigating public space access and urban planning transformations in Hanoi, Vietnam

Accéder à l’espace public et manœuvrer dans la planification urbaine. La négociation de l’espace par les jeunes à Hanoï (Vietnam)
Madeleine Hykes and Sarah Turner
p. 149-170

Abstracts

Since the mid-1990s, municipal authorities in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, have encouraged rapid urban development and expansion with little public input or feedback. Private gated communities, high-rise apartment blocks, and vast shopping malls are proliferating alongside new transportation infrastructure. While these transformations create new opportunities for some, others face increasing marginalisation and inequality. This paper draws conceptually on debates concerning youth in public spaces, youth and post-socialist cities, and everyday politics and on fieldwork in Hanoi to analyse the impacts that urban morphological changes are having on Hanoi’s heterogeneous youth cohort, and their responses. We find youth centrally concerned by rising pollution and diminishing green spaces and increasingly searching for new ‘pseudo-public’ spaces for leisure activities. Many are also suspicious of investment sources for new infrastructure and frustrated by a lack of access to accurate information. Yet, despite limited opportunities to voice concerns regarding the state’s bold development plans for the country’s capital, youth do not remain passive. While differentiating by socioeconomic class, we suggest that youth navigate current transformations and policies through a range of resourceful tactics. They are also vocal and innovative regarding future urban scenarios that they wish to see implemented.

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Outline

Introduction
Conceptualising debates regarding youth in public space and post-socialist cities, and everyday politics
Youth, public space, and post-socialist cities
Everyday politics and youth
Hanoi’s rapidly changing urban-form
Youth negotiations in and visions for Hanoi
Accessing “Public Spaces” in a rapidly privatising city
Youth opinions regarding specific state initiatives
Inadequate access to information
Future plans
Youth negotiations and everyday politics
Concluding thoughts : Heterogeneous concerns, common frustration

Text / first lines

Introduction

Youth in Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi are not unfamiliar with rapid urban change in their city —they have spent much of their life growing up amidst it. In August 2008, the Prime Minister abruptly announced that Hanoi’s boundaries would triple in size, effectively doubling the city’s population overnight to 6.2 million (Prime Minister of Hanoi 2008). Officials working for both the central Vietnamese state and its capital city’s municipality are determined to fashion Hanoi into a mega-city, with promises that it will be sustainable, prosperous, civilised, and modern (Coe 2015). Underpinning this vision is the 2011 “Hanoi Capital Construction Master Plan to 2030 and Vision to 2050” (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2011). Designed with input from US and South Korean consultants, this plan details how Hanoi will expand into an assemblage of urban core and satellite cities to accommodate a projected population of ten million by 2030 (current population circa 7.7 million).

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References

Bibliographical reference

Madeleine Hykes and Sarah Turner, Youth negotiations: Navigating public space access and urban planning transformations in Hanoi, VietnamCivilisations, 69 | 2020, 149-170.

Electronic reference

Madeleine Hykes and Sarah Turner, Youth negotiations: Navigating public space access and urban planning transformations in Hanoi, VietnamCivilisations [Online], 69 | 2020, Online since 01 January 2024, connection on 29 January 2022. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/civilisations/5778; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/civilisations.5778

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About the authors

Madeleine Hykes

Madeleine Hykes is a recent graduate from the Honours Geography (Urban Studies) program at McGill University, Canada. She has completed fieldwork in Hanoi, Vietnam as a student researcher and then as a research assistant since 2017. Her research interests include urban accessibility, civic design, and the politics of large-scale transportation projects. She is currently an AmeriCorps VISTA and the Love Your Block program coordinator in Hartford, Connecticut, USA [Department of Geography, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke St. West, Montréal, QC, H3A 0B9 Canada | mgreenehykes[at]gmail.com]

Sarah Turner

Sarah Turner is professor of geography at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She has completed research in urban and rural Vietnam since 1999, and before that in Malaysia and Indonesia. Her urban research focuses on how informal economy workers maintain livelihoods, often while having to resist state policies that curtail their options. She has co-authored (with Bonnin & Michaud) Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands (2015). [Department of Geography, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke St. West, Montréal, QC, H3A 0B9 Canada | sarah.turner[at]mcgill.ca]

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