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The Problem of Urban Civilization on Saigon’s Edge

The Problem of Urban Civilization on Saigon’s Edge

(p.193) 6. The Problem of Urban Civilization on Saigon’s Edge
Saigon's Edge
Erik Harms
University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the difficulties in achieving Ho Chi Minh City’s campaign to build an urban civilization. It argues that the campaign for urban civilization is a propaganda campaign because it does not resonate with the social practices of everyday life on the streets of Vietnam. It discusses that the quest to civilize is not only about traffic and infrastructure; it represents a concerted attempt to rework the relationship between the rural and the urban. It examines that postwar Saigon was faced with a form of urbanization quite at odds with the rational, enlightened form envisioned by socialism or by traditional urban planners. A key problem stemmed from how the actual development of Ho Chi Minh City confounded the notion that rational urbanization requires separation and ordered interaction.

Keywords:   Ho Chi Minh City, urban civilization, social practices, Vietnam, infrastructure, Saigon, urbanization, urban planners

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