Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hanoi removes 1800 households from Old Quarter

The untidy pavement of a street in the Old Quarter.

To encourage the people to move to Viet Hung, the local government will allow them to buy apartments on installment plans with soft interest rates or to lease apartments at low prices. Hoan Kiem district asked the city to build high-rise buildings on 11 hectares of land in Viet Hung to serve these people.

Families that voluntarily move from the Old Quarter can sell their rooms to the remaining families living in the same house.

For the Old Quarter, after 1800 households are moved, the city will reallocate land to ensure per capita area up to its plan.

At present, the population density in the Old Quarter is over 84,000 per one square kilometer. The Old Quarter has nearly 900 buildings and other structures of cultural, historical and religious significance, including 245 houses built many centuries ago, as well as the relatively undamaged remains of Thang Long, the imperial city of long ago.

The Ancient City Management Board says much has been done to safeguard the old quarter in recent years, but damage is still occurring.

More than 15,000 households inhabit the area in question, 63 percent of them in very old houses and 12 percent in condemned buildings, and the infrastructure of the area is way too primitive for an expanding population.

To solve the overpopulation problem, the city plans to move many of these households to Viet Hung new residential area. The management board is keen on the idea as the residents will be able to live in safe, unpolluted conditions and the old city's preservation will be a simpler task.

However, many residents are angry and afraid about having to move to a new place as they have a strong attachment to the area where their families have lived for generations.

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