Ho Chi Minh/ Reunification
On April 30, 1975, South Vietnam surrendered and North Vietnam reunified Vietnam. Saigon falls under the rule of the Communist Government and was renamed as Ho Chi Minh City to honour their deceased leader Ho Chi Minh. Moreover, Saigon was merged with nearby regions to form a larger city altogether.
Besides the sectors which are destroyed by battles in the 1968 which was several years before the surrender, the city remained fairly intact as South Vietnam did not resist as the North Vietnamese Army marches in Saigon.
The event was a major turning point on the city’s development. The economic structure of Vietnam changed from capitalism to socialism. Private ownership of industries has been eliminated which factories and plantations are no longer built by merchants themselves. The Communist Government immediately issued the second five year plan to focus development on agriculture and industry. As private ownership was eliminated, capital was not sufficient to carry out these developments. Vietnam’s economy in fact relied on economic aid from Soviet Union and China, which was only substantial instead of pushing further economic growth. Before it relied on the United States for aid or advice on many different aspects such as economic as well as city planning. As the economy of Reunified Vietnam was weak even after the five year plan, little change occur in the urban form of the city. Even till today we can see the city centre plan of Ho Chi Minh City varies little to the colonial era Saigon. The larger city formed by Saigon, Cholon and other regions suggests a larger scale of urban planning, allowing the influence of Saigon to expand to its peripheries.
Many buildings of Ho Chi Minh City changed into other uses, such as the US Embassy was transformed into the office of an Oil Company. While the Municipal Theatre was restored of its original use as a Theatre. As all companies were owned by the government, all buildings were controlled by the government and their uses altered at the will of the government.