(Hanoi) From 5th to 7th December 2013, UN-Habitat along with Hanoi’s People Committee, Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association (VUPDA) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) organised an international course "Urban Planning for City Leaders" in Hanoi.
Among the 50 participants, many included representatives of Ministries, leaders of Hanoi city, high-ranking officials and relevant departments, representatives of MoC's related divisions, agencies and institutes, representatives of associations, universities and other development partners.
Vietnam’s rapid urbanisation and population growth, although boost the national economy, but also put additional challenges in delivering accessible housing, urban services and preventing environmental degradation. Hanoi, as the capital city, faces challenges of urban poverty, loss of agricultural land and competiveness from local and global firms, congestion and pollution as a result of urban sprawl.
For that reason, over the three days course, leaders were taught the importance and value of urban planning, following the guidelines of 'Urban Planning of City Leaders', an initiative of UN-Habitat.
Mr. Nguyen Quang, Habitat Programme Manager commented: “the training is delivered in scientific ways to equip and train participants with knowledge of urban planning instruments as well as strategies and leadership skills to address challenges related to sustainable urban development.. When leaders have their suitable tools, and knowledge on this field, their decisions will be more realistic toward sustainable development".
Mr. Pablo Vaggione, the principal author of the book Urban Planning for City Leaders, commented that public transportation remained as the primary challenge for Hanoi. “There are two important components in constructing public transportation” he said, “the first being the alignment of values and policies with transport policies and the second being that the different transportation systems must be interconnected regardless of technological advancement.”
Among the other solutions to traffic congestion, the course included different sections such as creation of public spaces that allow social and political participation from the community, addressing the informality in urban development and allocation of slums, opportunities in urban planning well as fostering partnerships and foreign investments for the city.
"With the collaboration between UN-Habitat, VUPDA and KOICA, the course hopes to increase awareness and ownership of political leaders and decisions makers to create a sustainable urban planning towards, as a vision of 2030, a harmonised Hanoi between socio-economic development and environmental protection", Mr. Tran Ngoc Chinh, President of VUPDA said.