The Hanoi People’s Council once again discussed upgrading derelict apartments in its fourth session last week.
Upgrade action: Hanoi plans to fix all derelict buildings by 2010
Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Quoc Trieu said the problem of degraded apartment blocks must be solved to raise residents’ living standards, and all relevant authorities must get involved in the process.
“This is a huge social issue involving the lives of many people, and we must solve it,” Trieu confirmed.
Trieu admitted this would not be an easy task, as it would require large investment capital from the city’s limited budget. Residents would also be unlikely to invest, as most are elderly retirees or State employees with low incomes.
“We must devise a special policy to upgrade living quarters as a social issue, not a commercial venture,” Trieu said, adding that the city’s budget could help investors by providing an infrastructure.
He said it was important to make people understand the city’s policy and encourage them to contribute to the project.
Many participants said that the living quarters need a complete overhaul, with repairs or upgrades required for infrastructure, plumbing, drainage and parking areas.
Participant Vu Huy Hung said the city should find large, competent investors to handle the project. Hung also suggested that the city should not waste money on repairs, and instead entirely replace the buildings.
The city’s Programme 12 aims to upgrade and rebuild old living quarters on Nguyen Cong Tru and Quynh Mai (Hai Ba Trung district), Giang Vo and Thanh Cong (Ba Dinh district), Van Chuong (Dong Da district) and Thanh Xuan (Thanh Xuan district).
The capital has also allowed different economic sectors to offer plans for replacing all of these buildings.
So far, only state-owned companies have submitted proposals, but they receive capital investment from the city’s limited budget, so many projects have been delayed.
Under the new regulation, private or state-owned companies may bid to replace old living quarters. For buildings that are in the urgent need of attention, investors will be accepted after submitting a plan for the removal and resettlement of the quarter’s residents, meaning the plan must also be approved by the local Land and Housing Service and agreed to by the apartment’s owners.
One of the most difficult obstacles for these projects is determining the amount of compensation for owners on the ground level, who have used their apartments for business and therefore earned more money. However, under the new regulation, the ground level will now be reserved for public service offices and investors.
The Hanoi Housing Department suggested that investors’ projects should be approved if at least 80 per cent of the residents agree with the proposed compensation scheme. However, all of the residents must be guaranteed better living conditions through the project.
According to Hanoi’s Land and Housing Service, all deteriorated housing in the city must be replaced or upgraded before 2010, but the city would need at least $150 million to achieve this goal.
A recent department survey stated that the majority of four - to six-storey apartment blocks in Hanoi were also in serious states of disrepair. Many of these blocks were built in the 1960s on Kim Lien, Trung Tu, Thanh Xuan and Tan Mai streets. The survey stated that five per cent of the buildings must be destroyed as soon as possible, while 62 per cent are in need of upgrades.
Hanoi has 67 residential areas, of which 42, with a total area of 53,500 square metres, are on the list for urgent improvement. The reasons for the deterioration include illegal changes to the designs (expanding) and sinking caused by weak foundations.