Experts propose river-themed city scape for metropolis HCMC

Many official delegates as well as architecture experts proposed plans to revive HCMC river-based culture at the “Public cultural space in HCMC” seminar held on December 3.
A river-based cultural space proposed for District 8 urban zoning (Photo: SGGP)
A river-based cultural space proposed for District 8 urban zoning (Photo: SGGP)

The seminar was a collaborative effort of the Propaganda and Training Board under HCMC Party Committee, HCMC Council of Theory and Criticism on Literature and Arts, and the HCMC Association of Architects.

Member of HCMC Party Standing Committee, Head of the Propaganda and Training Board, Chairman of the HCMC Council of Theory and Criticism on Literature and Arts Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue was present at the seminar.

Chairman of HCMC Association of Architects Nguyen Truong Luu in the opening statement said that rivers and canals are a long-lost identity of HCMC which should now be the focus of urban planning, an opinion endorsed by many official delegates.

Existing bodies of water in HCMC like Saigon River or Thi Nghe Canal have been an integral part of the city’s structure and development, which makes them ideal spaces to promote cultural public activities, said renowned architect Pham Phu Cuong.

“Reviving the ‘river-bound lifestyle’ that helped the city prosper decades ago would be a meaningful method to promote urban intangible heritage”, he stated.

The above motion was also agreed upon by the former Chairman of Vietnam Association of Architects Nguyen Tan Van.

Delegates at the seminar stressed that an urban public cultural space associated with intangible heritages needs to strike a balance between modernity and tradition, while hilghlighting the true value of the heritage.

Additionally, the idea to make reformed theater (cai luong) a focal point in HCMC public cultural space was suggested by a lecturer at the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

“This art form is a delicacy of Southern folk performances, and it should be a key player in terms of culture and arts as well as economics for the city development”, he stated.

Architect Nguyen Anh Tuan from HCMC Department of Planning and Architecture affirmed that city scapes along rivers and canals has potential to become the backbone of urban cultural activities thanks to people’s deeply rooted attachment to the river-bound lifestyle.

On the other hand, although authority’s attempts to reduce water pollution has not been fully maintained, it is still possible and a necessary step in implementing river style public space, he noted.

Onto the specifics, District 3 has put forward a motion to open walking streets on  Nguyen Thuong Hien Street and Ho Con Rua (Turtle Lake Fountain) area.  According to the motion, folk music performances will be organized in the Turtle Lake Fountain area every Saturday.

Concluding the seminar, Mr. Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue said the many proposals at the seminar were considered practical and authorities would do further research to make them a reality.

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