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Sustainability + Place

10 May 2022 5 min read

The rate of urbanisation in Vietnam is well-documented with 40% of its total population now resident in 870 urban areas across the country. This shows no sign of decreasing.

According to the Ministry of Construction (MoC), Vietnam’s housing demand will increase by 70 million sqm each year, equivalent to 17,500 30-floor buildings by 2030.

Yet, by the end of 2021, Vietnam recorded just over 200 green building projects.

Gaps in urbanisation

Ho Chi Minh City’s 540 million sqm of green space sounds generous but, when the city’s population density is factored in, this shrinks to 0.69 sqm per person in some places. The city’s green space per capita is expected to exceed 2.4 sqm in inner areas and 12sq.m in outlying areas by 2025. These are significant gaps and ambitious targets in the face of rapid urbanisation.

At the same time, urban development in Vietnam faces challenges of poor infrastructure planning, environmental pollution, inefficient use of natural resources and energy. Add to these the challenges from the impact of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic and Vietnam urgently needs a sustainable approach to urbanisation.

More than green landscaping

And while leading property developers in Vietnam have launched eco-themed residential projects, including Vingroup, Phuc Khang, Gamuda Land, and Sun Group, sustainable real estate development is not just about landscaping and green building certification and awards. That said, Vietnam is gaining recognition through landmark developments such as Deutsches Haus, the first building in Vietnam and one of few in South East Asia awarded with two energy efficiency certificates: LEED Platinum and DGNB Gold.

The more holistic approach to sustainable urban development includes creating places where diverse communities can flourish, communities that are accessible and inclusive and that contribute to urban vibrancy.

Creating inclusive and urban vibrancy

One example of sustainability at the forefront of Vietnam’s urban development is Saigon Sports City. Leveraging the Keppel Group’s capabilities in providing solutions for sustainable urbanisation, Saigon Sports City will be developed into a vibrant, integrated township and an iconic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.

Located on a 64-hectare site in District 2, Saigon Sports City will feature about 4,300 premium homes as well as Vietnam’s one-stop sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub when completed.

Biophilic design principles will be adopted in Saigon Sports City, including natural cross-ventilation throughout the development and generous space between buildings for natural light.

Closing gaps and achieving ambitions

Both Deutsches Haus and Saigon Sports City are pioneering collaborations between the Vietnamese Government and the respective Governments of Germany and Singapore, both countries with a strong commitment to sustainability.

Hopefully by learning best practices in sustainable urbanisation from international pioneers, Vietnam can create shared value for society and the environment in closing some of the current gaps and achieving its future ambitions.

This article was first published in Sustainable Vietnam: A Focus on Sustainability, Partnerships, and Impact on 10 May 2022.

Dominic Mason
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
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