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Hanoi's History - Part 2

TheHuc brige4. Geography

4.1. Location, topography

Hanoi is located in northern region of Vietnam, situated in the Vietnam's Red River delta, nearly 90 km (56 mi) away from the coastal area. Hanoi contains three basic kinds of terrain, which are the delta area, the midland area and mountainous zone. In general, the terrain is gradually lower from the north to the south and from the west to the east, with the average height ranging from 5 to 20 meters above the sea level. The hills and mountainous zones are located in the northern and western part of the city. The highest peak is at Ba Vi with 1281 m, located west of the city proper.

4.2. Climate

Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa) with plentiful precipitation. The city experiences the typical climate of northern Vietnam, with four distinct seasons. Summer, from May to August, is characterized by hot and humid weather with abundant rainfall.[18] From September to November comprise the fall season, characterized by a decrease in temperature and precipitation. Winter, from December to January, is dry and cool by national standards. The city is usually cloudy and foggy in winter, averaging only 1.5 hours of sunshine per day in February and March.

Hanoi averages 1,612 millimetres (63.5 in) of rainfall per year, the majority falling from May to October. There are an average of 114 days with rain.

The average annual temperature is 23.6 °C (74 °F), with a mean relative humidity of 79%. The highest recorded temperature was 42.8 °C (109 °F) in May 1926, while the lowest recorded temperature was 2.7 °C (37 °F) in January 1955.

5. Administrative divisions

Hà Nội is divided into 12 urban districts, 1 district-leveled town and 17 rural districts. When Hà Tây was merged into Hanoi in 2008, Hà Đông was transformed into an urban district while Sơn Tây degraded to a district-leveled town. They are further subdivided into 22 commune-level towns (or townlets), 399 communes, and 145 wards

6. Demographics

Hanoi's population is constantly growing (about 3.5% per year), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam, and also the country's political centre. This population growth also puts a lot of pressure on the infrastructure, some of which is antiquated and dates back to the early 20th century.

The number of Hanoians who have settled down for more than three generations is likely to be very small when compared to the overall population of the city. Even in the Old Quarter, where commerce started hundreds of years ago and consisted mostly of family businesses, many of the street-front stores nowadays are owned by merchants and retailers from other provinces. The original owner family may have either rented out the store and moved into the adjoining house or moved out of the neighbourhood altogether. The pace of change has especially escalated after the abandonment of central-planning economic policies and relaxing of the district-based household registrar system.[citation needed]

Hanoi's telephone numbers have been increased to 8 digits to cope with demand (October 2008). Subscribers' telephone numbers have been changed in a haphazard way; however, mobile phones and SIM cards are readily available in Vietnam, with pre-paid mobile phone credit available in all areas of Hanoi.

7. Economy

Hanoi has the highest Human Development Index among the cities in Vietnam.[citation needed] According to a recent ranking by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hanoi will be the fastest growing city in the world in terms of GDP growth from 2008 to 2025. In the year 2013, Hanoi contributed 12.6% to GDP, exported 7.5% of total exports, contributed 17% to the national budget and attracted 22% investment capital of Vietnam. The city's nominal GDP at current prices reached 451,213 billion VND (21.48 billion USD) in 2013, which made per capita GDP stand at 63.3 million VND (3,000 USD). Industrial production in the city has experienced a rapid boom since the 1990s, with average annual growth of 19.1 percent from 1991–95, 15.9 percent from 1996–2000, and 20.9 percent during 2001–2003. In addition to eight existing industrial parks, Hanoi is building five new large-scale industrial parks and 16 small- and medium-sized industrial clusters. The non-state economic sector is expanding fast, with more than 48,000 businesses currently operating under the Enterprise Law (as of 3/2007).

sword lakeTrade is another strong sector of the city. In 2003, Hanoi had 2,000 businesses engaged in foreign trade, having established ties with 161 countries and territories. The city's export value grew by an average 11.6 percent each year from 1996–2000 and 9.1 percent during 2001–2003.[citation needed] The economic structure also underwent important shifts, with tourism, finance, and banking now playing an increasingly important role. Hanoi's traditional business districts are Hoàn Kiếm, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa; and newly developing Cầu Giấy and Nam Từ Liêm in the west.

Similar to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi enjoys a rapidly developing real estate market. The current most notable new urban areas are central Trung Hòa Nhân Chính, Mỹ Đình, the luxurious zones of The Manor, Ciputra, Royal City in the Nguyễn Trãi Street (Thanh Xuân District) and Times City in the Hai Bà Trưng District.

Agriculture, previously a pillar in Hanoi's economy, has striven to reform itself, introducing new high-yield plant varieties and livestock, and applying modern farming techniques.

After the economic reforms that initiated economic growth, Hanoi's appearance has also changed significantly, especially in recent years. Infrastructure is constantly being upgraded, with new roads and an improved public transportation system. Hanoi has allowed many fast-food chains into the city, such as Jollibee, Lotteria, Pizza Hut, KFC, and others. Locals in Hanoi perceive the ability to purchase "fast-food" as an indication of luxury and permanent fixtures.

Over three-quarters of the jobs in Hanoi are state-owned. 9% of jobs are provided by collectively owned organizations. 13.3% of jobs are in the private sector. The structure of employment has been changing rapidly as state-owned institutions downsize and private enterprises grow. Hanoi has in-migration controls which allow the city to accept only people who add skills Hanoi's economy. A 2006 census found that 5,600 rural produce vendors exist in Hanoi, with 90% of them coming from surrounding rural areas. These numbers indicate the much greater earning potential in urban rather than in rural spaces. The uneducated, rural, and mostly female street vendors are depicted as participants of "microbusiness" and local grassroots economic development by business reports. In July 2008, Hanoi's city government devised a policy to partially ban street vendors and side-walk based commerce on 62 streets due to concerns about public health and "modernizing" the city's image to attract foreigners. Many foreigners believe that the vendors add a traditional and nostalgic aura to the city, although street vending was much less common prior to the 1986 Đổi Mới policies. The vendors have not able to form effective resistance tactics to the ban and remain embedded in the dominant capitalist framework of modern Hanoi.

6. Development

6.1. Infrastructural development

A development master plan for Hanoi was designed by Ernest Hebrard in 1924, but was only partially implemented. The close relationship between the Soviet Union and Vietnam led to the creation of the first comprehensive plan for Hanoi with the assistance of Soviet planners between 1981 and 1984. It was never realized because it appeared to be incompatible with Hanoi's existing layout.

In recent years, two master plans have been created to guide Hanoi's development. The first was the Hanoi Master Plan 1990-2010, approved in April 1992. It was created out of collaboration between planners from Hanoi and the National Institute of Urban and Rural Planning in the Ministry of Construction. The plan's three main objectives were to create housing and a new commercial center in an area known as Nghĩa Đô, expand residential and industrial areas in the Gia Lâm District, and develop the three southern corridors linking Hanoi to Hà Đông and the Thanh Trì District. The end result of the land-use pattern was meant to resemble a five cornered star by 2010. In 1998, a revised version of the Hanoi Master plan was approved to be completed in 2020. It addressed the significant increase of population projections within Hanoi. Population densities and high rise buildings in the inner city were planned to be limited to protect the old parts of inner Hanoi. A rail transport system is planned to be built to expand public transport and link the Hanoi to surrounding areas. Projects such as airport upgrading, a golf course, and cultural villages have been approved for development by the government.

Hanoi is still faced with the problems associated with increasing urbanization. The disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor is a problem in both the capital and throughout the country. Hanoi's public infrastructure is in poor condition. The city has frequent power cuts, air and water pollution, poor road conditions, traffic congestion, and a rudimentary public transit system. Traffic congestion and air pollution are worsening as the number of motor cycles increases. Squatter settlements are expanding on the outer rim of the city as homelessness rises.

In the late 1980s, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Vietnamese government designed a project to develop rural infrastructure. The project focused on improving roads, water supply and sanitation, and educational, health and social facilities because economic development in the communes and rural areas surrounding Hanoi is dependent on the infrastructural links between the rural and urban areas, especially for the sale of rural products. The project aimed to use locally available resources and knowledge such as compressed earth construction techniques for building. It was jointly funded by the UNDP, the Vietnamese government, and resources raised by the local communities and governments. In four communes, the local communities contributed 37% of the total budget. Local labor, community support, and joint funding were decided as necessary for the long-term sustainability of the project.

6.2. Civil society development

Part of the goals of the dổi mới economic reforms was to decentralize governance for purpose of economic improvement. This led to the establishment of the first issue-oriented civic organizations in Hanoi. In the 1990s, Hanoi experienced significant poverty alleviation as a result of both the market reforms and civil society movements. Most of the civic organizations in Hanoi were established after 1995, at a rate much slower than in Ho Chi Minh City. Organizations in Hanoi are more "tradition-bound," focused on policy, education, research, professional interests, and appealing to governmental organizations to solve social problems. This marked difference from Ho Chi Minh's civic organizations, which practice more direct intervention to tackle social issues, may be attributed to the different societal identities of North and South Vietnam. Hanoi-based civic organizations use more systematic development and less of a direct intervention approach to deal with issues of rural development, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection. They rely more heavily on full-time staff than volunteers. In Hanoi, 16.7% of civic organizations accept anyone as a registered member and 73.9% claim to have their own budgets, as opposed to 90.9% in Ho Chi Minh City. A majority of the civic organizations in Hanoi find it difficult to work with governmental organizations. Many of the strained relations between non-governmental and governmental organizations results from statism, a bias against non-state organizations on the part of government entities.

(Continues)

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