As a class, we worked on the theme of urban renovation for everyday life in the city of Ho Chi Minh. The class has been divided in different groups that worked on different city districts (Quan), in order to cover all the area of the largest city of Vietnam. My group chose to work on district 4, a dense urban area of 183.000 people, divided from the rest of the city by the Saigon River.
This quan is interesting because it’s divided in small areas which, despite of the general density, don’t cooperate with each other to create an urban pattern. As example the western area is probably the most dense of the whole city, and it is inhabited by very poor people without any service or urban structure. On the other side, the eastern part hosts the harbour and the new high rise buildings with offices and many services, but without residences. We spent some months on the study of the district and its people, whose lifestyles are very different from ours. The city is developing very fast according to western lifestyle but the poorest people are still attached to their culture and simple life.
We choose to work on the theme of movement and choreography of the people inside the island, to understand their needs and their everyday lives. We had not an assigned project, but we were free to choose our project area in the island and what to create according to the needs of the Vietnamese living there.
The class made a trip to Vietnam to collect information, interviews and pictures to understand the very typical day of a Vietnamese person in order to make an urban project that can create a better city for them.