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Solomon Islanders rising up Jacob’s Ladder of opportunity

Evan Wasuka's picture

Geographically, the capital of Solomon Islands, Honiara, is a hilly city, a maze of ridges and valleys.

In front of me, concrete steps descend 30 meters down the face of a ridge, winding their way down in a gravity-defying manner; nothing else stands on the slope, it’s simply too steep.

The steps are part of a system of footpaths that link communities of thousands of people below to the main public road above.

Over the past 60 years as Honiara has developed, so too have informal settlements. These are often located at the bottom of steep valleys without basic services such as roads, water and electricity.

Các đô thị hiệu quả đóng vai trò then chốt giúp Việt Nam chuyển đổi sang nền kinh tế thu nhập cao

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English

Quá trình đô thị hóa nhanh chóng là một điểm nhấn quan trọng trong quá trình phát triển của Việt Nam trong những thập kỷ qua. Năm 1986 dân số đô thị của Việt Nam chỉ là dưới13 triệu người; hiện nay con số đó đã là 30 triệu. Các thành phố đã trở thành trụ cột phát triển mạnh mẽ, tăng trưởng kinh tế của khu vực đô thị cao gấp hai lần mức bình quân của cả nước, đóng góp trên một nửa tổng sản phẩm quốc nội (GDP).
Các khu vực đô thị ngày càng đóng vai trò quan trọng trong tăng trưởng, và điều đó không có gì đáng ngạc nhiên. Một thực tế được thừa nhận trên phạm vi toàn cầu là nếu quản lý tốt, quá trình đô thị hoá sẽ góp phần làm tăng năng suất lao động và tăng trưởng kinh tế nhờ hiệu ứng tập trung, chẳng hạn như thị trường lao động sẽ có quy mô lớn hơn và hoạt động hiệu quả hơn, chi phí giao dịch thấp hơn và tri thức được lan tỏa dễ dàng hơn. Tuy nhiên, khi quan sát cụ thể hơn, có thể thấy đô thị hóa ở Việt Nam hiện nay cần những thay đổi lớn về tư duy để đảm bảo rằng quá trình này sẽ đóng góp toàn diện vào mục tiêu trở thành nước thu nhập cao.
Việt Nam cần sắp xếp lại quá trình đô thị hóa để xây dựng những thành phố hiệu quả hơn – những thành phố có mật độ dân số vừa đủ, kết nối tốt trong nội bộ và trong vùng, cũng như được quản lý tốt. Bên cạnh đó, để phù hợp với ưu tiên mạnh mẽ của Việt Nam trong đảm bảo công bằng xã hội, các thành phố cũng cần đảm bảo rằng mọi người dân đều được hưởng lợi từ quá trình phát triển, không một nhóm người hoặc khu vực nào bị bỏ lại phía sau. 

Efficient cities are crucial to Vietnam’s transformation into a high-income society

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt

A striking feature of Vietnam’s remarkable progress over the last few decades is the rapid pace of urbanization. In 1986, there were fewer than 13 million urban residents. Today there are 30 million. Cities have become strong growth poles, with urban areas growing twice as fast as the national average rate, and contributing over half of the country’s gross domestic product.  
The increasing importance of Vietnam’s urban areas in driving growth is not surprising. It is widely acknowledged globally that urbanization, if managed well, can lead to higher productivity and growth, through positive agglomeration effects such as larger, more efficient labor markets, lower transaction costs and easier knowledge spillovers. However, a closer look suggests that the current urbanization process in Vietnam needs a major rethink to ensure that it contributes fully to the goal of achieving a high-income country.
Vietnam needs to reshape its urbanization process to create more efficient cities – cities that have sufficient population densities, are well connected internally and regionally, and well managed. In addition, in line with Vietnam’s strong preference for social equity, cities will need to ensure inclusion of all residents, with no groups or area “left behind.”   

How Ho Chi Minh City got a facelift: sustainable development solutions are changing a city

Madhu Raghunath's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt

When I visited Vietnam for the first time three years ago, I imagined a Ho Chi Minh City out of Hollywood movies, with panoramic buildings of French architecture, tree-lined, long boulevards and the melting pot of Indochine cuisine.

After I began working in the city as an urban professional in 2012, I quickly learned to see it as much more: a vibrant, young, hip and energetic city with a vision and determination to become a leading metropolis in East Asia, not just in Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the region.

And it has taken all the right steps just to do that, combining infrastructure development with social services to make sure the city is more livable and growth more sustainable. As the World Cities Day approaches, I thought it would be useful to share the city’s experience with the world. 

Myanmar: Thoughts Aboard the Yangon Circular Railway Train

Kanthan Shankar's picture

The Yangon Circular Railway is the local commuter rail network in Yangon, Myanmar. In this recording, World Bank Country Manager Kanthan Shankar boards the train on a three-hour ride around the city. "You see a panorama of life unfolding before you and you feel a part of the picture," he says, reflecting on the daily lives of the people in Yangon, "There's a huge opportunity for commerce and private sector growth. Yangon and Myanmar is lucky that it has basic infrastructure in place. It's a matter of rehabilitating these and aiming for a smoother ride to pave the way for commerce,"

Watch Kanthan's video blog:

How to provide clean water in rural areas: an example from Vietnam

Hoang Thi Hoa's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt

Two kids wash their hands with clean water. Their home in Thai Binh Province, Vietnam got access to clean water in 2011. Watch video: Providing clean water in rural areas: an example from Vietnam

Despite Vietnam’s significant economic growth in recent years, there continues to be a gap between urban and rural areas when it comes to access to clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities. Many poor households in rural areas still do not have access to clean water or to a toilet. During one of our earlier field visits for the Red River Delta Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RRDRWASS) project which began almost 10 years ago, I was struck by what a lady from a community told me. She questioned why people in urban areas have access to good water supply and sanitation services while those in rural areas do not. She said that compared to urban residents, perhaps people in rural areas were happy with a lower level of service and that the demand for better services was simply not there.

At first I thought that she might be right but I later came to realise that this is not the case. There is demand for improved services in rural areas, and more importantly, people have a fundamental right to have access to those services.

So what are the reasons for the gap?