Critical reflections on land appropriation and alternative urbanization trajectories in periurban Vietnam
Article [Author's Original]
Is part ofCities ; vol. 53, pp. 150-155.
Vietnam's land regime is currently undergoing a radical reshaping under policies of “urbanization and modernization.” Around large urban centres what could be called a “Third Land Reform” fosters massive land-takings for urban-industrial expansion. The forced appropriation of farmlands unsettles endogenous patterns of mixed-use development or “rural-urbanization” which have developed in these zones since the đổi mới, and which are characterized by the combination of small-scale cottage industries with mixed employment, and commuting into the cities for jobs and trade. The Third Land Reform is driven by an official discourse of “modernization” that deems the endogenous rural-urbanization as backward (not modern). This discourse drives and defends an aggressive programme of expropriation, to the benefit of corporate capital, to build “real” urban spaces. Foreign, planning scholars should not merely describe these processes, but point out the ideological justifications driving them, and the ways in which the things it rejects as non-viable may, in fact, have virtues that have been missed by the official view.