Ho Chi Minh/ Transformation of the city

Recognition of the city


With time pass, the government started finding the colonial history a mark to hide away from the history of the city. In order to wipe out the trace, the scheme of renaming the streets and landmarks started which ended up causing trouble for locals and the government itself. Usually, the new names were given to honor the heroes of the Vietnam War. From there, the communist government slowly deviated from the ideology or vision proposed by revolutionists in the late Vietnam War.


“ The street signs along the main avenue from the airport said “Nguyen Van Trop” where before they had said “Cach Mang”…Nguyen Van Troi, a twenty-four-year-old electrician, had tried to set off a bomb under a car carrying Robert McNamara…Nguyen Van troi had died before a firing squad in Saigon’s Chi Hoa Prison in 1964 shouting “Long Live Ho Chi Minh”.”

(Neil, 1992, p.63)


“Until 1954 it bore the name Catinat. Ngo Dinh Diem, Washington’s first strongman, then gave it a perfectly good Vietnamese name, Tu Do, which means “freedom”. The name could not be allowed to stand after 1975; it was too evocative of the American era, of Diem, who had killed thousands of ex-Viet Minh, Communists and non-Communists alike…”

(Neil, 1992, p.71)


Changing in Form


The transformation also occurred in small scale and local by Vietnamese but not the government. With the living of the new population, changing from Americans and other foreigners back to the locals, the form of the city also started changing with new functions placed in. Degradation of previous markets and centers was observed with emergence of new social nodes. The changes could be understood by the development of social composition, culture and disorder.



“During the war, everyone had known the location of the grand emporium of American civilization, the main PX in Cholon, the Chinese section of the city…Thang and I finally discovered it by peering over the gate of an abandoned compound. The Vietnamese had turned the site into dump for the scrap they sell to dealers from Southeast Asian neighbors …”

(Neil, 1992, p.64)



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