Recognizing the role and importance of social consultancy and evaluation, Institute for Urban Studies and Infrastructure Development (Institute), an affiliated member organization of Vietnam Federation of Civil Engineering Association has paid much attention on it and has achieved remarkable results.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luu Duc Hai - Director of Institute for Urban Studies and Infrastructure Development (photo collection)
Social consultancy and evaluation is an activity that provide knowledge, expertise, experience, information and materials along with analysis, evaluation and recommendations for individuals or organizations; is the activity of making comments, assessments, consultancy and suggestions on the proper of the issue with a set of prescribed goals and conditions or practice. It determines the science, practicality, feasibility of the project or a specific issue. This activity is carried out on the basis of science, practice, independence, objectivity and none profit.
According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luu Duc Hai, Director of Institute, during the early period of establishment of Institute (1999-2010), inadequate and inconsistent regulations on the field of construction - urban - infrastructure resulting in scientific research works and social consultancy and evaluation activities implemented by Institute also did not cover a wide range of fields, such as urban transport, urban flooding, solid waste, greenery in the city... Under the situation, Institute completed a number of projects, namely: against enclose of construction investment contracts which using State capital, the use of land resources for rural settlement, Urban land policy in Vietnam, Study and assess the water supply and drainage situation in the Southern key economic zone in 2010 and propose the development plan for 2020.
In the period of 2011-2019, the legal documents were relatively completed and increase consistent. There were some new and supplemented and amended regulations, such as amended Construction Law, brand new Urban Planning Law. However, documents on technical infrastructure system have not been upgraded as needed.
This was also the period when local awareness of urbanization raised and urbanization process was increasing in a better manner. This required Institute’s works on scientific research and social consultancy and evaluation simultaneously improved, meeting the requirements of central and local State management agencies and concerned agencies...
Urbanization in Vietnam has flourished, growing and developing in quantity, urbanization rate and quality of life in urban areas. If in 1990 our country had around 500 towns with the urbanization rate of 17-18% of the population living in urban areas, by 2018 the number was over 800 and 37- 38% respectively. The year 1990 was also the year the first National Urban Conference was organized.
To date, urban planning goes one step ahead as the spirit of the Construction Law and the Urban Planning Law. Most of our cities have been planned and approved, serving as a basis for urban development program complying to general planning, sub-zone planning and detailed planning which used for formulating construction investment projects.
Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces and 5 municipalities (collectively referred to as 63 provinces). Each province is divided into provincial cities, town and rural districts. Provincial city and town is divided into ward and commune, while rural district is divided into townships and communes.
The transformation from rural district to urban areas or from small urban centers to larger cities must be followed the approved plannings and programs. Urbanization is a key subject stated in the Resolutions of the Party Committees at all levels. A set of criteria and standards of land, transportation, water supply and drainage, greenery, houses... to be achieved in the future must be approved according to the plan.
Dr. Hai added that in past few years, the plan adjustment has taken place in some localities under two specific forms: Firstly, adjusting according to the spirit of the Urban Planning Law, approved plans with period of five years or more may adjust their general plans to better suit practical development and in future; Secondly, adjusting to meet the necessary requirements of higher-level urban areas.
Today, urban area is an important driving force for socio-economic development, contributes to 60-70% of GDP, higher percentage of non-agricultural workers, structural transformation from agriculture to manufacturing and services. Under regulations, agricultural land was planned to be urban or a part of the future urban area will be managed like urban land when the plan is approved.
Managing urban development according to the approved plan is an important task of functional agencies (photo collection)
The development of new urban areas on the Godforsaken place to create housing funds which supply is greater than demand is one of the typical types of boondoggle. Financial and land resources waste results in wastefulness of not only investors but also public investment sources and urban residents.
The waste even occurs in rehabilitated urban areas because investors tend to plan excess number of apartments allowed, space, urban landscape architecture, overloaded technical infrastructure systems (electricity, water, transportation, drainage, solid waste, trees...), thereby leading to increase public investment to address the overload.
The lack of 'social impact assessment' reports might trigger the formation of interests group during the process of urban construction implementation.
Dr. Hai listed a series of Institute’s consultant and scientific research projects has been sucessfully done during the past years and several ongoing: Theoretical and practical overview of investment policy, management and development of public service space in Vietnamese cities in the period of industrialization and modernization (2010); Survey on urban development of inner city in some major cities and proposing solutions to address existing problems (2011-2012); Development orientation and architectural management of Hanoi lake system in response to climate change in accordance with urban development requirements until 2030 and vision to 2050 (2014-2015); Innovating land management system, forming real estate market; Studying changes in traditional architecture of indigenous ethnic groups in the Central Highlands (2013-2014); Studying and proposing solutions to management and exploitation of urban technical infrastructure within the red line boundaries suitable to the conditions of Hanoi and Studying social housing development models for leasing (2016-2018); Research orientations and planning solutions to build new suburban and rural communes (2019-2020)...
In order to become a strong Institute, firstly, the Institute's activities must closely follow three major pillars: Construction - Urban - Infrastructure. The harmonious combination among the 3 backbones has created a sustainable and strong development of the organization. Secondly, the Institute's workforce involves in different groups including: Scientists (participating in scientific research) - Consultants (participating in consulting works) - Journalists (participating in the social consultancy and evaluation). They work closely in each project. The great cooperation of those 3 groups of scholars has also created a sustainable development of the Institute.
Through projects and works performed, Institute’ officers pointed out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of each project and gained experience for future projects. The voice of the 3 groups of intellectuals has shown that they do not only research and gain experience but also see mistakes or left behind risk to propose direction as well as tasks and solutions for the issue.