We naturally seek out precedents when weighing up the pro’s and con’s of any change in direction and the urban development of our built environments is no different. As Australia’s population boom continues, and our options to construct new residential builds become more and more limited to going skywards in the form of medium and high density apartment living, it is more important than ever that we learn from global examples.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of worlds fastest growing urban centres. With its population set to hit the 10 million mark by 2026, huge neighbourhoods are under construction. Swathes of heritage areas of the former Saigon have been replaced with soaring apartment blocks. Entire communities are being created. Mini cities within the larger urban fabric that contain residential, commercial, office and green spaces ensuring residents have access to public amenities and public goods that help increase the real estate value and overall lifestyle.
Phu My Hung is arguably Ho Chi Minh’s most successful example of urban redevelopment on a large scale.
The intention is a good one. Creating new neighbourhoods that house the masses but are still aligned to creating the feeling of a community. Places that will maintain a sense of civic pride within the larger city sprawl. The marketing plans for these developments are aligned to families units of many shapes and sizes with a healthy provision of facilities to cater for cross generational flourishing and socially relevant amenities such as meeting places, various scales of apartment options and a retail scope that ensures residents have everything they need on their doorsteps.
So why so many towers that dominate the skyline of Ho Chi Minh City empty and in a state of semi-decay?
In many instances, the procurement of available land for large scale development involves heavy re-settlement of existing residents. With a large portion of new developments that receive initial government funding and private investment to begin construction, the breakdown of funding further in the construction phase due to an inability to reach an agreement with existing residents who are more a more aware of their own land value, causes a rift that ultimately halts construction altogether. Feasability of the redevelopment of such large areas of urban land is subsequently very poor and many projects that begin have inadequate funds to be completed.
Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline dominated by high-rise developments of which many remain incomplete and uninhabitable.
Australia, by comparison, is in a fortunate position. At this turning point in the development of our major cities and their urban planning, the small scale, design-focused multi residential model is proving to be the ideal investment in terms of real estate value as well as future planning to sustain of our way of life. Whilst developing smaller areas of urban land is still a possibility, ensuring this is done is a way that is sensitive to socio economic progress is vital to rolling out increased new residential builds to sustain our growing population.
Melbourne’s Jewell Station is a small scale, design focused residential development aligned to Australia’s rapidly increasing in urban density.
Words by Tiffany Jade