Vietnam is facing rapid urbanization, and its cities are expected to be host to roughly half of all its citizens by 2030. This urbanization is due to the large increase in job opportunities within cities. The rapid urbanization of Vietnamese cities is also leaving rural migrants in terrible living conditions, and their lack of access to social services is posing a big problem.
There has been a significant rise in Vietnam’s population living in urban areas over the past 50+ years.
The continuous growth of Vietnam’s urban population signals the shift from a focus on agriculture to a more industrial based economy. This is seemingly beneficial, as cities create more jobs, education opportunities, and other important social services.
There is a drastic difference in technology and talent rank, which matches up with the heavy dependence on major cities for Vietnam. Their technology rank may be high, but that is due to specifically the major cities, as the rural population lacks economic stability.
“The Urban Elite Global Cities Index is a ranking of the most global cities based on five aspects of globalization: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement.”
Despite having a population of over one million more people than Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City ranks over 100 spots lower on the Global Cities Index list. Urbanization in Vietnam has been very inefficient so far, as there is a rapid increase in urban population, but a lack of economic development to match it.
Ho Chi Minh City ranks very low in terms of economic output per person, at the equivalent to $8,660.
Along with the Global Cities Index figure, Ho Chi Minh Citys low economic output shows the lack of economic development for Vietnam, despite rapid urbanization.
The problem with urbanization in the east is that unlike the west, southeast Asian countries like Vietnam are urbanizing without significant growth.
There is a strategy for Vietnam in their urbanization process. The strategy focuses on spreading out the urban population, reducing losses of agricultural land, moving polluting factories out of cities, and improving urban services. Vietnam must harness its full potential in this wave of urbanization by developing its system of cities. It seems clear that the main issue for urbanization in Vietnam is overgrowth of population in cities. The clear solution to this is developing a plethora of cities and a system that links them all together, thus spreading out the urban population.
Speaking broadly, it seems as though the solution to Vietnam’s urbanization problems are somewhat straightforward. However, the country must modernize and reform its coordination in government and planning systems in order to carry out programs to execute these solutions.