Exploring green and blue infrastructure design in Ho Chi Minh City

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December 2018

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the largest city in Viet Nam with over 8 million inhabitants. Globally, it is one of the cities most affected by the early impacts of climate change. The city is especially vulnerable to sea level rise, increased rainfall intensity, and enhanced storm surges, all of which the city’s wastewater and drainage system needs to cope with.

A proposed ADB investment, the Ho Chi Minh City Wastewater and Drainage System Improvement Project, will provide much needed financing for the upgrade and addition of wastewater and drainage infrastructure in HCMC. As a part of its preparatory work, a workshop on “Water Sensitive Urban Design and Application for the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Len Canal” was held on 4 December.

The workshop brought together more than 50 participants, including city stakeholders from various departments and agencies, experts, and representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF). During the workshop, participants discussed the concept of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) as an important element for project planning and design, and how it could be applied in the project area.

Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, a team of experts comprised of a landscape architect and an urban hydrologist, presented the WSUD approach and benefits, such as protecting residential and commercial districts from flooding, contributing to the filtration of storm water, and providing improved potential for increased green spaces for recreation. The team also presented two WSUD proposals for locations along the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Len Canal.

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UCCRTF Secretariat

The WSUD approach to flood management in HCMC includes the creation of riverside areas that are designed to flood safely, reducing the risk to vulnerable parts of the city. The figure shows how changing the landscape on the floodplain can reduce flood risk (image courtesy of Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl).

After the presentation, participants took part in an active discussion that cut across a wide range of topics: (i) applicability of the WSUD concept in the context of HCMC, (ii) benefits to the most vulnerable areas and local residents, (iii) cost effectiveness, (iv) resettlement and land acquisition implications, (v) impacts on local economy, (vi) institutional challenges, and (vii) synergies with other development objectives of HCMC.

The workshop helped participants better understand the potential of WSUD in delivering more livable and resilient urban communities in Ho Chi Minh City.

Participants attended the “Water Sensitive Urban Design and Application for the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Len Canal” workshop in HCMC on 4 December (photo by UCCRTF Secretariat).

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ADB's Vision of Livable Cities

Cities contribute to national economic growth, but they can be polluted and overcrowded. Asia’s rapidly developing cities face inadequate basic services, environmental degradation, and increasing poverty. “Livable Cities” is ADB’s vision and approach to urban development. ADB works to support the transformation of developing cities in Asia and the Pacific into safe, sustainable urban centers.

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