WorkshopHo Chi Minh City, 23 October 2014 - In order to provide technical support to improve knowledge and share experience in urban planning among Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces and cities in the Southern Key Economic Zone (SKEZ), United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) together with World Bank and Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City organised a three-day Regional Planning and Linkages for Southern Key Economic Zone workshop in HCM City which brought together the Central Economic Commission, relevant ministries and departments, city and provincial leaders, international organisations, research centres and universities.

Rapid urbanisation together with a high urban growth rate not only generates urban economic growth which bolsters the national economy, but also creates additional challenges in delivering accessible housing and urban services, and leads to natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. In addition, urban sprawl, the loss of agricultural land, and the impact of climate change exacerbate urban development problems. In that context, regional planning and linkages are effective approaches and the key to ensuring optimal spatial allocation of social-economic activities, and equal development between regions.

Workshop1The workshop reviewed and suggested solutions for regional spacial planning to address the challenges of urban development in regional context. Dr. Nguyen Quang, Habitat Prgogamme Manager said “Strategic regional planning is a new approach focusing on local initiatives and coordination among provinces to mobilise valuable resources for regional development. This approach asks for creative local governance with a mechanism for integrated management and collaboration in all sectors of a region, ensuring effective links between economic development planning and infrastructure investment ”.

The workshop shared international experiences in integrating land use and transportation planning and land value capture in regional development plan to promote sustainable economic development. Dr. Madhu Raghunath, World Bank’s Senior Urban Special said “The integration of land use and transport planning is very critical to make a region more livable. For the Southern Economic Region, better land-use planning will also help strengthen regional integration, maximise the efficiency of investments and especially reduce the spatial footprints of regional growth”.

Each city needs a knowledgeable, wise and strongly committed leader who can inspire people for city development. Dr. Pablo Vaggione, author of famous publication “Urban Planning for City Leaders” with his presentations on role of leaders to promote partnership and financial resource for urban development as well as mechanism to mobilise stakeholders in regional planning and linkages have received special attentions from participants.Workshop2

Associate Professor/ Dr. Phan Thanh Binh, Director of Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City said “The workshop has proved a great opportunity for leaders and officials in SKEZ to improve knowledge and strengthen overall capacity about urban and regional planning, integrate land use planning with public transportation, local governance, partnerships and financial resources for urban development. I hope that after this workshop, we can have recommendations on policies and regional linkages frame work for effective and sustainable development”.