The upside of financial collapse by mattsteinglass
March 6, 2009, 6:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The upside of financial collapse is that there are quite a number of horrible construction projects in Hanoi that now are not going to be built. News arrived this morning that a 64-story hotel was not going to be built on top of the Youth Park in the south of the city. Wonderful news! Also, no one is going to pour sulfuric acid into the water system, and no babies will be fed to lions this year; good news, all, but the question is why it was necessary to imply that one might do something as idiotic as any of these things in order to arrive at the good-sense decision not to do them after all.

Unfortunately the long-range prospects may not be so good for this marvellous place:


Sasha and Katerina in the fields near the Red River

Sasha and Katerina in the fields near the Red River

In Hanoi, you can still walk from the urban area along the east side of West Lake about 1 kilometer westwards and find yourself in flower and tomato fields, separated by dirt paths and tilled by oxen. If Hanoi were to preserve this landscape in close proximity to its residential areas, it would be hailed as one of the most farsighted cities in the world, with a development plan comparable in its sophistication to Amsterdam’s. But that’s not too likely. Actually, the Japanese JICA aid agency drew up a development plan a few years ago that did entail such a level of sophistication and thematic coherency; but more recently that plan has been superseded by ones drawn up by South Korean construction agencies like POSCO which would like to turn Hanoi’s Red River banks into a zone of uniform colossal concrete and steel towers, the better to


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