Cá Mau, Vietnam Back from Planning to Planting
(Landscape) Urbanism Studio Spring 2013
Ca Mau (250.000 inhabitants) is a relatively modest town situated in the southernmost part of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. As elsewhere in Vietnam since the 1986 doi moi (open door policy), the area undergoes a radical process of modernization and urbanization. The development of new roads, new industries and new agriculture practices are profoundly transforming the territory and urban structure. Ambitious master plans are being prepared to organize the projected doubling of the city’s population.
At the same time, the region is facing important environmental challenges. As one of the lowest lying areas in the world, Ca Mau is exposed to risks of rising sea level, intrusion of saline water as well as deforestation and pollution resulting from the over-intensive development of aqua farming.
In response and complement to the official master plans, the (landscape) urbanism studio ‘From Planning to Planting’ explores alternative development scenarios integrating environmental issues. Climate change mitigation strategies such as mangrove restoration, alternative water management and more ecological farming processes are defined to simultaneously frame future urbanization. Three distinct and complementary development scenarios - the Water City, the Green City, and the Infrastructure City - are elaborated at the territorial, city and fabric scales. These scenarios are seen as potential avenues for a more sustainable development of this booming and sensitive region.
Bruno De Meulder
Supporting studio team
Annelies De Nijs
AHO staff during fieldwork