Breathe: Redefining a zone of informal settelments for Ho Chi Minh city
Delft University of Technology
Ho-Chi-Minh-City, Vietnam experiences a massive transformation due to rapid and massif urbanization. This growth has a large impact on the living quality of the city, enlarges its vulnerability for flooding and means a loss of the water-related lifestyle.
The “Breath” project proposes to enhance the culture to live by and with the water by redefining the zone of informal settlements next to the canal which is hardly visible anymore. The pilot location is in Doi-Te canal flanked by a high density of informal settlements. The project elaborates on four design strategies on different scales from small interventions to the district scale. The first strategy [collect] involves the poor people to capture floating waste of the river by installing a small-design-intervention that cooperates with the tidal difference on the balcony of their homes. The second strategy [purify], transforms a vacant aquaculture land into a purification park to filter the water from a tributary before it reaches the main canal. The two sides of the canal are connected according to the third strategy [connect], by designing experiential routes and adding moments to cross the river by boats that allow residents, tourists and informal communities to meet and interact. In the fourth strategy [adapt] the project examines the possibility of adding a sponge park, which can store a lot of water during the monsoon season to safeguard the city from flooding. Moreover, a water barrier enhancing the construction of the houses is installed to protect the urban area from the tidal flood. The four strategies require the involvement of the informal community. They need to become the caretakers of the canal zone and the water managers of the city. By doing so, the area will gain attractiveness for all people living in the city of Ho-Chi-Minh. The project revives the existing landscape and transforms the space into a living system which does not only create a better environment but also offers a better quality of life for all people in Ho-Chi-Minh.