Written by Tim Doling. Top photo by Kevin Lee.
In an exclusive excerpt from his latest book, Exploring Saigon-Chợ Lớn: Vanishing Heritage of Hồ Chí Minh City, historian Tim Doling discusses the city's threatened heritage architecture and what the city has lost so far.
Ho Chi Minh City has undergone fast economic growth in latest years, which has had a major impact on the built heritage of the city, although beneficial to the life of many. In specific, the destruction of historic buildings has achieved an alarming rate over the past five years — hardly a day passes now without rashing to the floor a precious ancient villa, apartment block or government building.
A land use master plan for 2025, presented by the Japanese company Nikken Sekkei Civil Engineering Ltd in 2007 and endorsed by the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City in March 2008, decided that “the historic core of the city in Districts 1 and 3 should be protected.”
However, in latest years, with many high-end development projects in District 2 south of the river taking longer than expected to advance, permission has been provided to construct a span of new high-rise office, retail and residential projects in the low-rise city centre, leading to the destruction of many current buildings..
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