Editor’s note: A reader shares her suggestions in a forum launched by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper to welcome contributions on how to improve quality of life in Ho Chi Minh City.
Le Ngoc Hanh, a native of Binh Duong Province, approximately 30 kilometers from the city, hopes to make it less stuffy and thus improve quality of life.
Over the past several years, during the morning rush hour, I have seen shuttle buses carrying staffers and workers between Ho Chi Minh City and industrial parks in Binh Duong.
A number of young people now choose to work in the southern economic hub while commuting to work in Binh Duong and Dong Nai Province.
Ho Chi Minh City is choking on the increasingly swelling influx of commuters.
During peak and off-peak hours all year round, city streets are jammed with people and traffic thick with pollutants. Hospitals are brimming with patients while many schools have been grappling to cope as a massive migration boom has pushed the number of students enrolled to a record in recent years.
I’m not a Ho Chi Minh City resident, but I’m under the impression that the city has already been overwhelmed.
I sometimes travel back and forth between Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City. Though I’m generally excited before I depart, I always want to escape the hustle and bustle of the hub and the “obsessive” feeling I have whenever I see large bundles of electricity wires overhead.
Ho Chi Minh City has been a bustling melting pot for domestic migrants. Many of these people have been scraping out a living by cramming into slums in the overcrowded, expensive metropolis, which is in stark contrast to the sparsely populated cities nearby.
Take my hometown, Thu Dau Mot City, located in Binh Duong, for instance. Streets here are wide and seldom congested.
Many seats on modern buses are not taken, while a large number of apartments in high-rises remain unoccupied. Windy lake banks and parking areas stretch as far as the eye can see, surrounded by lush green areas.
To build or make repairs to a house on its old foundation requires relocating its furnishings and residents for a while. In this instance, the city, with a population of nearly 10 million, is in dire need of substantial improvements to its quality of life.
The municipal administration must have discussed master plans regarding its facelift for several years now, but the toughest problem remains how to relocate its residents properly.
I think it’s about time both permanent and temporary city residents reshuffled their lives. If possible, they should take the trouble to travel a little further from their dream city and settle in Binh Duong and Dong Nai if they land jobs there. This will help Ho Chi Minh City relieve its burden.
That would also help create the congruity and balance between the metropolis and neighboring provinces so that Ho Chi Minh City and many other cities will soon become better places to live.
Reshuffling and moving can make it quite difficult for you to adjust to the new environment, but that’s how you can help mitigate the daunting problems facing Ho Chi Minh City and make it more rewarding. Such a movement may also change your life for the better, who knows?
Boosting development of Ho Chi Minh City and adjacent provinces
To tap into Ho Chi Minh City’s stature as the southern center, with adjacent provinces and cities being labeled peripheral areas, it’s advisable that the administrative borders regarding investment be blurred. Only then can industry in Ho Chi Minh City grow and thrive on existing industrial and processing parks. The grey matter value would be augmented, and the development of new industries would be diverted to such neighboring provinces as Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
When it comes to investment attraction, provinces in the proximity of Ho Chi Minh City enjoy a competitive edge regarding initial infrastructure, low land prices (as the real estate market has yet to develop), and cheap labor costs (the workforce has yet to demand high pay).
Ho Chi Minh City also boasts considerable strengths in its prominent stature as an economic hub with high import and export revenues, and hi-end services such as finance, banking, software technology, telecommunications, maritime and education.
Regional development cooperation which places the city at the core will better harness the competitive edge of both the metropolis and its neighbors.
Once the adjacent provinces and cities enjoy robust growth and are considered worth living in, Ho Chi Minh City, being the focal point, will definitely be a great place to live.
(Tran Thanh Liem)
This is a part of a series on ideas to make Ho Chi Minh City a better place to live in.