Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Hanoi’s unique approach to illegal settlements

Hanoi, Vietnam legalizes unauthorized structures in an effort to integrate migrants and connect them to city services. (enjosmith/flickr/cc)

In many Asian cities, illegal development means dilapidated slums that lack electricity, plumbing and trash collection. Lauren Quinn reports for the Guardian Cities that a policy of legalizing unplanned construction in Hanoi has enabled Vietnam’s capital to integrate migrants and tether them to public services.

The unorthodox approach to unsanctioned development allows the city to expand minus sprawling slums. Municipal leaders adopted a relaxed attitude toward illegal construction after the city blossomed in the 1980s into a magnet for rural-to-urban migration. If a home built on a small plot meets “minimum standards,” it’s deemed legal even if the owner never obtained permits or purchased the land.

The dwelling becomes eligible for city services and the occupants have an incentive to upgrade if and when they can afford improvements. The article notes that Hanoi is seeking to curb illegal construction as Vietnam rises in economic stature.

Guardian Cities

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