Improving the quality of urban planning, modernizing Hanoi city, and ensuring urban economic sustainability

Dinh Tien Dung
Politburo Member, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, Head of the Hanoi National Assembly Delegation
Thursday, April 13, 2023 08:40

Communist Review - Urban planning, management, and modernization have always been identified by the Hanoi Party Committee as a strategic task, not only contributing to preserving cultural and historical values ​​of thousands of years, but also creating a driving force to build Hanoi into a more wealthy, beautiful, civilized and modern capital. This is also one of the five major orientations and key tasks of the Hanoi Party Committee for the 2020 - 2025 term.

Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, Politburo Member, Prime Minister, and Mr. Dinh Tien Dung, Politburo Member, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee inspected the construction of the urban railway project from Nhon Depot to Hanoi station _Photo: Documentary

Overview of urban planning in Hanoi Capital

Over 1,000 years of history of construction and development, Thang Long - Hanoi has always been the cultural center of the country with a rich culture and diverse, invaluable heritage treasures. Culture, civilization, and history are not only core values ​​of Hanoi but also endogenous resources with great development potential.

Arousing the will, promoting the thousand-year tradition of civilization, heroism, and strengthening the solidarity of the entire people to develop Hanoi rapidly and sustainably are the goals and tasks set out by the 17th Congress of Hanoi Party Committee.

On May 5, 2022, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong signed and promulgated Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW, of the Politburo on “Orientations and tasks for the development of the Hanoi Capital towards 2030, with a vision to 2045”. It aims to create a breakthrough in mobilizing overall strength, effectively exploiting the potential and advantages of the Capital, maximizing national and international resources, building and developing Hanoi into a national political-administrative hub, the heart of the whole country, a major center in terms of economy, culture, education and training, science, technology, and international integration, a smart, modern, green, clean, beautiful, secured city; ensuring a rapid and sustainable growth to accelerate the development of the Red River Delta, the Northern key economic regions and the whole country.

The resolution clearly stated: “Developing Hanoi into a cultural, civilized and modern city is a vital task in the strategy of national construction and defense with the spirit of "Hanoi devoting itself to the whole country and vice-versa”. This is also the responsibility and obligation of the entire Party, people, army, and political system as well as the top task of the Party Committee, local government, and residents living in Hanoi capital.

This is the main foundation for planning, managing, and modernizing Hanoi under the principle of balancing between conservation and development, maximizing the potentials, strengths, cultural and historical values and identity of the Capital, maintaining and promoting the brand of “a thousand-year-old Capital”, "a City for Peace", "a Creative City"...

On July 26, 2011, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 1259/QD-TTg on "Approval of the Hanoi Capital construction master plan by 2030, with a vision to 2050" with the orientation of building Hanoi into an interconnected urban area, including central urban areas (historical urban core, expanded area, urban region in the north bank of the Red River, urban region in the East of the belt road No4, and corridors along the Red river, green belt of Nhue river and green wedges), 5 satellite towns connected by urban ring roads combining road axis, which are linked with regional and national traffic network. The central city is demarcated from satellite towns by a green corridor (accounting for 70% of the city's natural land area). This is a crucial tool to develop Hanoi's Capital sustainably, build a synchronous and modern infrastructure system, balance between culture, heritage preservation, and economic growth, environmental protection, and national defense through regional, national, and international interconnection; develop Hanoi into a dynamic, and highly competitive urban area locally and internationally that provides good living and working conditions, and a favorable investment environment.

To concretize the comprehensive construction planning of the Capital by 2030 with a vision to 2050 approved by the Prime Minister in Decision No. No. 768/QD-TTg, on May 6, 2016, the City Party Committee and the City People's Committee directed the implementation of urban planning. To date, the planning has been approved and mostly promulgated; the coverage rate of detailed planning reached 97.73%, the zoning planning reached 100%, and 35/35 zoning projects have been completed, serving as a basis for the implementation of detailed planning and urban construction projects for socio-economic development.

To achieve the set goals, during this term, the Hanoi Party Committee issued 10 programs to implement the Resolution of the 17th Congress of the City Party for the 2020 – 2025 term (in which, in terms of urban planning, there are: Program No. 03-CTr/TU on March 17, 2021, on "Urban embellishment and economic development of Hanoi city from 2021 to 2025"; Program No. 05-CTr/TU on March 17, 2021, on "Promoting urban planning and management; increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of resource management and use, and protecting the environment; proactively preventing and combating natural disasters, and responding to climate change in Hanoi city in the period 2021 - 2025”); At the same time, on March 2, 2022, the Standing Board of the Hanoi Party Committee issued Directive No. 14-CT/TU on "Strengthening the leadership in urban planning and management of Hanoi city".

Thanks to the leadership of the Politburo, the Government, and the involvement of the whole country, after more than 10 years of implementing the comprehensive construction planning of Hanoi by 2030 with a vision to 2050, urbanization and social resources mobilization have been accelerated, thus creating a new urban physiognomy for Hanoi city. Special attention has been paid to the planning, development of space, and construction of technical infrastructure, especially ring roads, road axis, and highway bridges as well as to improving public transport and social infrastructure. Urban management and environmental protection have been strengthened, infrastructure has been gradually improved and modernized, and housing quality for urban residents has been improved.

However, it is obvious that the urban planning, construction, and management of Hanoi still face limitations and challenges. The management and coordination have not been clearly regulated to promote the role of Hanoi as the center and driving force for the growth of the Red River Delta, the northern key economic zone of the region, and Vietnam; The urbanization rate is still lower than the target set out (49.3% compared to the target of 58% - 60%), the population size has exceeded prediction, causing difficulties for population management in central and expanded urban areas. Urban planning and management, land management, construction, traffic security, and environmental preservation still have shortcomings; transport infrastructure has not kept pace with urbanization; urban infrastructure is still not synchronous; urban areas have not been developed evenly. These limitations have been mentioned by the Politburo in Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW, dated May 5, 2022, on “The direction and task of developing Hanoi Capital by 2030, with a vision to 2045", it is required to take measures to develop the capital sustainably in conformity with the Resolution of the Politburo.

Solutions for effective urban planning and modernization in Hanoi, and sustainable economic development

In order to build Hanoi into a "Cultural - Civilized - Modernized" City as targeted by Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW, Hanoi needs to effectively conduct 10 programs set by the Resolution of the 17th  tenure City Party Committee as well as the programs and directives of the central government and the city, especially Resolution No. 06-NQ/TW, dated January 24, 2022, of the Politburo on “Urban planning, construction, management and development in Vietnam by 2030, with a vision to 2045 ", Program No. 03-CTr/TU, dated March 17, 2021, of the Hanoi Party Committee on "Urban embellishment, development and economy of Hanoi city from 2021 to 2025"; Program No. 05-CTr/TU, dated March 17, 2021, of the Hanoi Party Committee on “Promoting urban planning and management; increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of resource management and use, and protecting the environment; proactively preventing and combating natural disasters, and respond to climate change in Hanoi city in the period 2021 - 2025”; Directive No. 14-CT/TU on "Strengthening the leadership in urban planning and management of Hanoi city" to inherit and promote achieved results, overcome limitations and weaknesses, and accelerate urban planning and economic development to balance urban development in Hanoi and the whole country.

Regarding urban planning and management

The first solution consists of perfecting institutions and policies to facilitate the process of urbanization, planning, construction, management, and sustainable development. Especially, it is needed to amend Law on the Capital with an attempt to strengthen decentralization, give more power to Hanoi city in dealing with inter-sectoral and inter-regional issues, make breakthrough policies, and radically decentralize to solve problems related to the economy, society, urban planning, and development,... The implementation of socio-economic development plans in Hanoi should be accelerated.

Secondly, due consideration should be given to improving the quality of planning and management, construction, and investment, creating an engine for the growth of localities located in the Capital region, the Red River Delta, and nationwide, strengthening the management of urban residents; implementing key projects, especially the Hanoi Capital Planning for the period of 2021 - 2030, with a vision to 2050; adjusting comprehensively the Hanoi Capital Construction Master Plan to 2030, with a vision to 2050 in association with the Urban Development Program of Hanoi City to 2030, with a vision to 2050.

Thirdly, attention should be given to developing and upgrading Hanoi's socio-economic infrastructure system in a comprehensive, modern, and effective manner. Prioritize the modernization, rapid and synchronous development of socio-economic infrastructure; build elite and unique landscape architecture of Hanoi. Develop interconnected routes connecting with satellite cities and regions (construction, renovation, and upgrading of road axis and ring roads such as national highways No 1A, No 6, belt road No 1, No 2, No 2.5, No 3, No 3.5, No 4, No 5, and so forth; Build urban railway lines, bridges across the Red River,...). In particular, Hanoi will invest in the construction of Ring Road No 4 in the Hanoi Capital region, considering this a key and priority task that helps City handle current problems, thus speeding up the development of central cities and satellite towns; Expand development space for Hanoi, encourage residents to move from the inner city, reorganize traffic system from afar to reduce traffic pressure on the current road system, promote regional linkages and synchronous socio-economic development in the region.

Fourthly, form some new growth poles, gradually improve the growth model of Hanoi, and create an urban cluster with cities and towns within the Capital; satellite towns, and urban areas which are built along ring roads, inter-regional routes, and urban railway lines help decrease population density as residents spread farther out to suburbs and exurbs; Consider developing a model of "Cities within the Capital" in the Northern region (including Soc Son, Me Linh and Dong Anh districts) connected with two northern neighboring cities (in Vinh Phuc and Bac Ninh provinces) to form the "Centre of 3 centers" - three driving forces for regional economic development set by the regional Planning of Hanoi (Hanoi - Vinh Phuc - Bac Ninh); The city in the western region connected to Northwest provinces (Hoa Lac urban area connected to Xuan Mai urban area) forms a sci-tech hub that provides also education and training and other high-class services.

Fifthly, turn suburban districts into urban districts; urbanize from 3 to 5 rural districts by 2025; by 2030, 1 or 2 suburban districts are expected to be turned into urban districts. Consider expanding and upgrading Noi Bai international airport and building a new international airport (it is planned to be built in the south of ​​Hanoi) to meet the traffic demand of the gateway city and develop the Capital region and northern area.

Regarding sustainable urban economic development

Based on economic trends of countries and territories in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the current global socio-economic and political situation as well as the 10-year economic strategy country for 2021-2030 and characteristics of Hanoi urban area and the overall orientation of economic development of the capital, Hanoi's economy is planned to be developed in a "fast, efficient and sustainable" manner, which is the mainstream throughout the process of urban management. To follow this principle, Hanoi's economic growth must be based on the following specific directions:

- Green growth is based on restructuring the urban economy towards safe and environmentally friendly manufacturing; improving service quality, and promoting the digital economy, circular economy, sports, tourism, and highly competitive service industries.

- Economic growth is based on the knowledge economy to take advantage of technological advances and increase innovation capacity.

- Economic growth is based on the smart urban system interconnected by the urban chain and the link between the urban economy and suburban economy.

- Balancing between growth in breadth (urbanization, expansion of land area, and urban population size) and growth in depth (improving urban quality, exploiting and using rationally and effectively input resources in urban production, business, and service activities).

- Key industries and fields prioritized by Hanoi between 2021 and 2030: IT, e-commerce, tourism, real estate business, housing construction and infrastructure, transportation, finance - banking, securities, post and telecommunications, legal consultation, education and training, science and technology, healthcare, infrastructure development, and innovative start-up ecosystem,...

To develop Hanoi sustainably as defined by Resolution No. 15-NQ/TW and promote its role as the city Capital, due consideration should be given to the following solutions:

First and foremost, speed up the completion of national and regional planning... in conformity with the 2017 Planning Law so that Hanoi could formulate and adjust its urban and rural planning stipulated by the Law on Urban Planning and the Law on Construction. Moreover, ask for the permission of the National Assembly to allow municipalities directly under the Central Government to establish only one provincial master plan to avoid overlapping and resources waste (Actually, Hanoi is making 2 urban plannings which are respectively the Capital Planning for 2021 - 2030, with a vision to 2050 stipulated by the 2017 Planning Law and the overall adjustment of the Capital Construction Master Plan by 2030, with a vision to 2050 defined by the 2009 Law on Urban Planning and the 2014 Law on Construction, amended and supplemented in 2020 like some other centrally run cities).

Second, regulations of the 2014 Law on Construction (amended and supplemented in 2020) on the planning of functional areas and rural areas, and the 2009 Law on Urban Planning on urban planning are overlapped. Therefore, it is recommended to integrate these two contents into one law which is the Law on Urban and Rural Planning; integrate the land use map made by the authorities in the natural resources and environment sector into the urban and rural planning system. Besides, during the process of amending and supplementing the Planning Law in 2017, it is necessary to ensure consistency (a unification of laws on planning may be considered). Study and develop the Law on Urban Management and Development to create an important legal framework to promote urbanization and reduce inadequacies under Resolution No. 06-NQ/TW, dated January 24 -2022, of the Politburo.

Third, develop new legal regulations, new mechanisms, and policies on investment (that improve on original policies on investment in the form of build-transfer (BT) and related regulations), harmonize legal regulations on planning, investment, land, housing, urban management, construction, bidding, etc., in order to create a suitable legal framework for the effective implementation of technical and socio-economic infrastructure projects, promoting urban economic development.

Finally, provinces and cities in the Hanoi Capital region prioritize investment projects beneficial to regional linkages; accelerate key socio-economic projects, and infrastructure development projects, and ensure synchronous communication (belt road No 4, No5...) as defined by regional planning of the Hanoi Capital that has been approved by the Prime Minister./.

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 999 (October 2022)