Brave New Hanoi

They are called “New Urban Areas” in local parlance. Entire cities cropping up on the outskirts of the capital. Construction sites as far as the eye can see. Dusty lonely places with buildings like towering sentinels. I couldn’t imagine ever living out there. But then again, as the saying goes: if you build it, they will come.

Young workers from the outer provinces stay in makeshift homes or camped out in the hollows of the unfinished buildings. Some apartments and office blocks are complete and nice new SUVs cruise down the widened back roads and along the main highway that cuts through the district. Others are on hiatus. Even more have become workers’ quarters. Legal and illegal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these New Urban Areas recently and finally had a chance to get down to one of them today. I was a bit rushed and these are just the initial few images, but I’m hoping to get back a few times in the following weeks. There’s a story lurking around here somewhere. I just need to make some friends and get some access and find it.

15 thoughts on “Brave New Hanoi”

  1. This site is really very attractive. No one can remain silent by seeing this type of scenery. I wish to visit there if I get a chance for that. Thanks for your attempt and presentation

  2. Great pictures! Hanoi looks nicer by your pics. Tks Aaron’s sharing.

  3. I’m loving the photos… Great color, perspective and composition.

  4. Very interesting photos! It’s totally interesting to see how globalization is panning out around the world, as you show some urban development in Vietnam. It’s one of the places where ESL teaching has really grown (replacing the old imperial language French) in part because Vietnam is so densely populated and urbanized.

    Thank you for sharing the photos, I look forward to traveling in Vietnam myself (having been to Thailand and Laos, hoping to post about travels and photos from there soon.)


  5. Yes it certainly is construction city, just now. What is incredible is that as you walk the streets,particularly in the older residential areas, the way people eat at street ‘restaurants’,perform all sorts of complex and detailed tasks,such as sign making, metal working on the pavements, you would think nothing has changed for the last 50 years.

  6. Thanks for sharing. Those are really good photography. You might want to add my blog to your blogroll since it’s also related to Asia. It’s about a town called Banting, in Malaysia, which is quickly developing into a small city itself. Feel free to add another one in my blogroll, KajangTown, which portrays the history of Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.

  7. I want to go back and see the changes… I loved Viet Nam. It reminds me there of the construction in Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore – Hong Kong even – but Viet Nam is essentially all it’s own in a lot of ways… so “same same – but different”. I really enjoyed that about Viet Nam. I’ve really enjoyed your POV. Cheers

  8. Re Story lines — I remember Timeout had a story about all the construction going on in the My Dinh area and the guy running the green tea stall opposite the opulent and colossal MANOR apartment complex said to the reporter, “that used to be my paddy field.”

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