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Public spaces in Hanoi: The influence of models in a metropolizing city


Author: Pham, Thi Ngoan
Under the direction of: Helga-Jane Scarwell, Quoc Thong Nguyen and Divya Leducq
Lille University
Langue française Texte français

Keywords: Urban planning and development, Vietnam, Publicity, Public spaces, Urban life, Metropolization, Urbanization, Sustainable urbanism.


Read the thesis.


The economic opening up of the country and its corollary, the market economy, are upsetting the urban development of Ha Noi. The urban transition has begun and a frantic urbanization is underway that tends to eliminate public spaces. The notion of public space is a vast, rich and therefore complex notion. Consequently, it cannot be locked into a single definition. It is even said that there is not one public space but many public spaces. It is moreover this definition which seems to be the most relevant in this work of thesis : "The public spaces (...) designate the places accessible to the public(s), surveyed by the inhabitants, whether they live in the vicinity or not. They are streets and squares, forecourts and boulevards, gardens and parks, beaches and forest, country and mountain paths. (...)" (Paquot, 2009 : 3). Public spaces are essential spaces within a city, as they concentrate specific urban dynamics, identities and spatial forms (Levy and Lussault, 2003). Therefore, the way we look at the different public spaces in a territory forces us to take into account the metropolitan dynamics at work in the city, without forgetting that public spaces are also spaces made available to the population. This urban object has a double utility ; it is an artifact studied on a limited territory revealing then the identity of a city. It is also considered as a gateway to understanding the issues of a city in full economic and social transition. In a context of globalization, Ha Noi wishes to position itself on an international scale by affirming its status as an emerging metropolis. It is in this precise context that our subject of study on public spaces is focused. Indeed, public spaces are urban objects revealing urbanistic models, products of a political, economic, social and cultural context. They have a functional value in the daily life of the inhabitants such as the cultural, sporting, and commercial exchange. It should be said that the expansion of the city and the implementation of the Master Plan is an opportunity to develop new public spaces including in the historic center like the pedestrianization around Hoan Kiem Lake on weekends. This is why, in this thesis, we will ask ourselves in what way the analysis of Hanoian public spaces would allow us to fully apprehend the stakes of this metropolitan territory.