Hanoi’s housing under Doi Moi raise problems in inequality

After Doi Moi,  privatisation and the termination of state monopoly in housing production and provision have significantly changed the housing situation of many residents, which somehow increased the inequality between residents of the city.

On social point of view, housing policy under Doi Moi is providing the richer people with bigger freedom, enabled them to invest in improving their homes. People who can afford to buy housing were benefited. Despite a substantial group of residents having been able to improve their housing situation since transition, many households face an uncertain housing future. Low-income households, whose members are often self-employed working in the low-pay service sector, have little or no possibility of improving their housing situation. Although some can afford to make modest changes to their homes, most have found themselves stuck in a run-down housing that requires more substantial changes than they can afford. People working in the private sector, who were excluded in the old housing system, are now further neglected in the new policy, with little hope of establishing their own dwelling many have to settle for long-term living with their parents.

Meanwhile, on architectural point of view, residents living in the same building were also experiencing inequality on  the potential to improve their home.The possibilities of extending apartments are unevenly distributed according to their spatial location. Ground floor residents have immediate access to public land in front of and behind their apartments on which they can build large extensions. Apartments at the end of blocks on the ground floor can also extend sideways. Although those located higher up can make smaller extensions which hang in mid-air, or larger ones that build on top of existing extensions lower down, their possibilities are more limited. Additionally, in the new market-oriented economy, a ground floor location increases the opportunities of using extra space for income-generating activities, such as a tea or grocery shop, or for services such as the parking of motorbikes or a barber shop. The conversion of street fronts into retail space by tube house residents has intensified the polarisation of income structures.

Changing housing policy in Vietnam: Emerging inequalities in a residential area of Hanoi (2008 ), Katherine V. Gough

 

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