Chairman of Vietnam Construction Association Tran Ngoc Hung said that on average, every square kilometre of urban land in Vietnam was used by about 2,100 people, while in other Asian countries, the rate was about 10,000 people per square kilometre.
Delayed projects accompanied by unused land and unused houses caused significant wastage and low land use efficiency, he said.
He added that Vietnam gave up too much land and investment on housing projects in cities, which hindered the development of new urban areas or satellite cities.
In Hanoi alone, major central hospitals like Bach Mai, Viet Duc or Military Hospital 108 have been expanded to meet the increased demand. Many State and Government offices are based in the city centre, and big hotels are built on crowded streets.
The move of factories from inner-city districts was expected to make room for public infrastructure like parks, schools or play grounds. However, so-called high profit housing projects have typically been developed on the land where the factories used to be.
“Once new urban areas and satellite cities fail to attract people to live and work, projects there faced risks of being halted or delayed,” Hung told a recent meeting on urban land use efficiency held by the association. He cited examples of projects along Thang Long Boulevard or National Highway 32 in Hanoi, the urban area to the east of Hai Phong city.
“Increased land use efficiency in cities is an important factor to develop green and modern cities,” he said.
Dao Trung Chinh, vice head of the Land Management Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said the Government had approved land use plans but such plans were not implemented strictly.
Investors were not interested in projects in old urban areas because of modest available land, high prices, and high population density, he said.
“Vietnam still needs a better legal framework on urban development control to attract investors,” he said.
Associate Professor and Dr Tran Trong Hanh, former principal of Hanoi Architecture University said that in order to increase land use efficiency in urban areas, it was necessary to classify land for urban construction, identify optimal capacity of urban areas, and select land for urban construction.
Hanh suggested that a sustainable immigration policy could pave the way to higher land use efficiency in urban areas.
Land use planning should be in accordance with urban planning, he added.