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Re-Framing Resilient Urbanism. A Smart Alternative to Generic New Towns Development in South-East Asia: The Case of Hanoi (Vietnam)
Published: 09 June 2015 by MDPI in 8th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) session True Smart & Green Urban Planning and Governance
Abstract: Resilient Urbanism is a broad concept that seeks to explore a wide spectrum of topics related to what makes resilience in urban contexts unique: spatial challenges, social and economic equity, climate change, density, mobility, governance, and other characteristics related to the unpredictable and ever-changing urban environment. It proposes a vision of Urban Planning and Urban Design as responsive - and therefore implicitly 'smart'- to the volatile contexts of contemporary cities and regions through a variety of scales and time frames. However, in order to make our cities truly intelligent, we need to re-frame the theoretical notion of 'resilience' in terms of concretely 'smart' planning and design actions for specific context. As Jane Jacobs argued back in the 1960's, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently confirmed (The Black Swan, 2007), the traditional top-down model of Urban Planning is essentially broken, noticeably vulnerable and unable of learning from its mistakes. The case of generic New Towns development in South-East Asia painfully illustrates such fragility. By presenting the case of Nam An Khanh - a typical example of a purely profit-driven New Town development in Hanoi (Vietnam)- this paper discusses the hypothesis that a more incremental and more flexible planning strategy is necessary as an alternative system for resilient urban development, in order to deal with the volatile nature of the economic and social resurrection of Vietnam. This involves a strategy that fosters socio-spatial integration and local economic growth and enables real users to be active stakeholders in this process, by engaging them in co-development of their city. It involves a different kind of Urban Design and Urban Planning, which is less about designing or planning the product, but more about designing the most resilient possible process, a design for self-organization within an official planning framework.
Keywords: resilient urbanism, design for self organization, new town development, smart governance, Asian cities