Vietnam: Livable Cities Project

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HealthBridge Vietnam (HBV) focuses on making urban neighbourhoods more livable and conducive to healthy lifestyles. Its three main areas of work are:

Access to Parks and Public Spaces – The number of safe, accessible and fun public spaces in Vietnamese cities has been steadily decreasing, while the public is increasingly demanding that governments create and maintain public spaces. However, without a clear strategic vision, many city governments lack the resources and capacity to develop public spaces to meet these demands. HBV’s activities include research and pilot projects, as well as working with local groups and officials in the cities of Hanoi, Hoi An and Hue to develop clear strategies for developing and maintaining public spaces.

Access to Healthy Transportation – Motorcycle use has rapidly become the main mode of transportation in Vietnam and is now the most common way to take primary school children to and from school. HBV, with local partners in Hanoi, is working to develop safe routes with the goal that more children will be walking to school on a regular basis. In addition, HBV is working with the Hoi An City government to develop an active transportation master plan that will support and encourage local residents to walk and cycle throughout the city. Finally, HBV is working with the Ho Chi Minh City government and partners on a project to increase pedestrian safety in the city.

Preserving Local Public Markets – As a result of increasing modernization, the number of local public markets in Hanoi has been steadily decreasing. They are being replaced by supermarkets, shopping malls and commercial centres, resulting in decreased access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the city, especially for the urban poor. HBV’s activities including raising awareness among decision-makers about the important role that fresh markets play in the health and economy of the city. Research, campaigns and workshops are being organized to create the support necessary to protect and preserve the local public markets.

Key successes to date include:

  • The HoiAn Parks Master Plan 2015-2020, which will see 79 new playspaces for children by 2020 and ensure that every child can walk to a playground close to home;
  • In 2013 the Hanoi government announced they would stop replacing markets with commercial centres. We estimate that approximately 2700 vendors’ livelihoods were saved and the approximately 279,000 people who shop at these markets continue to be able to buy healthy fresh food close to home;
  • A pilot of the ASRTS in Hanoi resulted in a 650 percent increase in the number of students walking to school in the morning.


Further Details

Final Narrative Report July 2017

Final Narrative Report July 2016

Final Narrative Report July 2015

Final Narrative Report July 2014

Campaigning for Neighbourhood Parks and Playgrounds in Hanoi
HealthBridge, 2016
Summary – English

Saving Local Public Markets in Hanoi
HealthBridge, 2016
Summary – English

Urban Governance in Neighbourhood parks and Playgrounds of Hanoi
HealthBridge, 2015
Summary – English | Vietnamese

Hanoi at a Cross-Roads: Streets for People or Cars?
An introduction to a practical framework to support healthy public transit, which can be adopted for Hanoi: the 3D approach
Summary – English | Vietnamese

Hanoi - Fresh markets, a way of life and public health under threat, HealthBridge. Presented as Key-Note lecture at Public Forum “Public Markets in the Corporate City” in Hanoi March 2011. Published in Vietnamese
Urban Planning Journal (Tap Chi Xay Dung) 2011
Summary – English | Vietnamese
Full Document – English

Urban development trends in Hanoi & impact on ways of life, public health and happiness. Livability from a Health Perspective, HealthBridge. Presented at Conference: Hanoi Millennium – City Past and Future Organized by UN-Habitat and Global Research Center Hawaii, 12-13 October 2010, Hanoi. Published in Vietnamese Urban Planning Journal (Tap Chi Xay Dung) 2010 - English


Expected Results

Expected results include increased numbers of:

  • Pedestrian improvements;
  • Safe routes to school;
  • Children walking to school;
  • Policies on parks and public spaces at the city level;
  • Parks, and improved quality of parks;
  • Children playing in parks;
  • Girls playing in parks, and
  • A decreased number of fresh markets being redeveloped.