Q: How much has Hanoi changed since the liberation of the capital city 60 years ago?
A: With a thousand-year history, Hanoi has recorded a range of significant socio-economic achievements−especially after its Liberation Day. From a city with small scale consumptions of goods and few production facilities, the capital has become a centre for politics, economics, culture, education, science and technology, and international exchanges.
As one of the nation’s economic engines with population accounting for only 7.84% of the country, Hanoi contributes 10.06% of GDP, 19.73% of State revenue, 9% of exports, 13.5% of industrial production value, 23.5% of investment capital, and 23.5% of total social capital of the country, giving it an important role in national industrialisation and modernisation.
Along with preservation and promotion of historic-cultural values, the capital has witnessed many changes particularly following the implementation of Resolution No. 15 of the 12th National Assembly on the city’s administrative boundary adjustment in 2008. Many new urban areas have been established, in addition to upgrading many commercial centres, major cultural facilities, and modern technical infrastructure. The city has transformed into a typical urban centre in the region.
An old Hanoi
Q: What parameters is Hanoi is striving to reach to become a more liveable city?
A: A master plan for Hanoi in 2030 with a vision to 2050 was approved by the Prime Minister, with the goal of building a green, cultural, and modern Hanoi. A liveable city must firstly have a good urban infrastructure system. The second factor that should be taken into account is focusing on improving social order and providing leisure and culture for local people.
Q: Could you clarify more about these criteria?
A: To meet the infrastructure requirements, Hanoi has focused on mobilising resources, strengthening investment in upgrading urban infrastructure, and addressing urgent problems such as traffic congestion, flooding, and environmental pollution. At the same time, the city has established leisure and entertainment areas to meet the needs of locals. Currently, the city is focusing on improving the investment environment and promoting administrative reform in order to attract resources for urban infrastructure development. That Hanoi ranked fifth among 63 provinces and cities across the nation in an administration reform index 2013 – the second consecutive year among the top list − is a testament to the efforts by the city.
The second element – the cultural and spiritual factor − has been evident in the theme of Hanoi 2014 – the Year for Social Order and Urban Civilisation, focusing on improving discipline and promoting Hanoi’s traditional culture, particularly Hanoians’ civilised and elegant characteristic.
Q: Hanoi has evolved very quickly, yet many people worry that traditional cultural values from a thousand years of history could fade away. What do you think about this?
A modern capital city
A: There are two objectives that have always been the focus during the city’s development process: conservation and promoting traditional cultural values, in combination with innovation for further development. Preservation of the traditional values of a thousand years of history in Hanoi in the context of today’s development requirements has forced urban management authorities to seek appropriate solutions to resolve conflicts to ensure sustainable development.
In fact, along with the urbanisation and development process, Hanoi has been faced with many challenges including pressures of an increased population; labour and employment issues; overloads to urban infrastructure, transportation, health services, and education; pollution; and destruction of cultural heritage.
Recently, the city has focused on upgrading urban infrastructure. Along with that is the preservation and promotion of its cultural values. However, conservation efforts depend very much on mobilisation of resources, from both the State budget and the community, particularly in the current context of economic difficulties. For that reason, we are looking forward to continue to receive high consensus from the society and attract more resources for construction of a prosperous, civilised and elegant capital city.