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Hanoi Youth Public Spaces


Providing public spaces where youth can flourish is a tall order for the Vietnamese capital. This rapidly urbanizing Asian city combines some of the world’s highest densities with very limited formally-planned public spaces. Bringing together Canadian and Vietnamese researchers and HealthBridge, this study tackles the issue of youths and public space in Hanoi with the hope of contributing to the positive engagement of young Hanoians with the city where they live. In this research, we provide a picture of the evolution of public spaces in the region (in terms of overall spatial distribution, available areas, quality, and usage) and an understanding of the driving forces behind these changes.


Hanoi, Vietnam



April 2013 to March 2016

Further Details

Public space provision is very challenging in Hanoi. The Vietnamese capital is characterized by some of the worlds’ highest human densities (up to 404 persons/ha), and very scarce formal public spaces: only 0.3% of the city’s territory and less than 1m² per capita.

Compared to other Asian cities with similar high-density urban fabrics, Hanoi is also one of the poorest cities in terms of square meters of green space per habitant: 11.2 m²/capita, compared to an Asian average of 39 m².  According to the 2011 Asian Green City Index, Hanoi is the only city, out of the 22 surveyed, that ranks ‘well below average’ in terms of land use and building.

Recommendations from the research include:

  • Integrate small, hard-surfaced areas in public gardens and on the shores of bodies of water that can accommodate active uses.
  • Create more tree-shaded areas and installing more benches in public gardens and on the city’s lakeshores.
  • Accessibility: remove entrance fees, creating more entry points located near the street, and making sure that there is at least one park located at a reasonable walking distance from each of the city’s residential areas.
  • Physical setting: when designing or redesigning parks, aim for a balance between the provision of flat, open, and hard surfaces to support unstructured sports activities, and quieter zones that are safe for even the most vulnerable users.
  • Users: encourage the diversity of users, rather than developyouth-only parks.
  • Detailed design guidelines: formulate a specific document to spell out design standards for each type of public space (parks, public gardens, and lakeshores) in order to maximize use, accessibility, security and conviviality of these places.
  • Establish policy measures requiring that formal permission from competent authorities be delivered before any physical or functional alteration to an existing lakeshore, park, or public garden takes place.

Visit Hanoi Youth Public Spaces website for full research program details.

Hanoi Youth Public Spaces Final Report