“Low Income” Housing Typology in Vietnam




In Vietnam, one of the fastest turning developing states, its first and biggest mega-urban part – Ho Chi Minh City ( HCMC ) – has been most affected by the quickly transitional procedure. The vulnerable urban development has been enduring due to the neglect to cultural suitableness, populating environment and quality, particularly in the ‘low-cost’ lodging sector. Furthermore, the economic crisis, which has been traveling on in recent old ages, has led to a strong demand peculiarly for a sustainable scheme to develop urban lodging for ‘low-income’ dwellers. Despite the monolithic demand of the market, the first low-cost flats introduced in Vietnam have been offering truly hapless life quality. Therefore, these bad merchandises create a common apprehension that ‘low-cost’ agencies ‘low-quality’ . This topical issue has been discussed widely for old ages ; so far there have been merely some general schemes put frontward without any elaborate counsel or solutions and equal illustrations of real-life application. This paper offers an low-cost climate-adaptive design for paradigm flat in HCMC which aims to offer practical solutions within the architecture facet to undertake the above mentioned issue. The proposal consists of accommodating common lodging architecture to modern urban compact flats to make new comfy and convenient life infinites while still exudating Vietnamese traditional place feeling.


“Viet Nam is one of the most vulnerable states in the universe to climate alteration despite being one of the least responsible for nursery gas emanations. This is peculiarly distressing, as Viet Nam has enjoyed one of the best development records in recent old ages of any state in the world.”( Oxfam 2008, 3 )

Meanwhile, HCMC has been identified globally as one of the 10 metropoliss most likely to be badly affected by clime alteration. It has been ranked 5th by population exposed to the effects of clime alteration by 2070 ( IPCC 2007 ) . Furthermore, HCMC was recognized as the 28th most populated metropolis in the universe with over 8 million people by 2013 and could make to 12 million by 2025 ( Moens 2013 ) , clearly reflecting the high force per unit area on lodging sector. Over the past decennary, the building industry has been developing quickly in size alternatively of quality, particularly in footings of ‘low-cost’ lodging due to the low economic returns of such undertakings. Unlike the new residential developments for in-between and high-income categories, the recent few ‘low-income’ lodging undertakings are largely erected spontaneously with hapless proficient substructure and conveyance connexions, ensuing in unstable life conditions for the dwellers and environmental jobs for the metropolis ( Waibel 2007 ) . This will be even more serious as Vietnam urban countries still need over 3 million more of ‘low-cost’ lodging, including about 200.000 merely for HCMC ( MOC 2013 ) . For the last five old ages, this emergent issue has been discussed locally. It was discovered that a Numberss of solution demand to be addressed and sustainable architecture design is one of the cardinal component.

The construct of sustainable architecture is comparatively new in Vietnam ; nevertheless, taking a expression back to Vietnam’s common lodging under the facet of architecture covering with hash natural conditions by environmentally friendly manner, it can be considered as a theoretical account for climate-adaptive architecture design. Vietnamese ascendants, who were born and raised in warm and humid clime, had a batch of experience in constructing traditional houses in order to accommodate to the natural and economic conditions, particularly Vietnamese civilization ( Waibel 2012 ) . Unfortunately, the advantages of common lodging are lost during rapid urban processing and being replaced by glass modern architecture without consideration of the local environment and the micro-climate of both inside and outside the edifices.

“While traditional edifices can frequently non fulfill today’s comfort demands wholly, they provide, if operated right, acceptable comfort conditions with a low energy demand. Therefore modern sustainable edifices should incorporate traditional constructs and accommodate them into modern signifiers. However edifices presently constructed in Vietnam rarely enable such inactive energy salvaging potentials.” ( Waibel 2012, 15 )

Since ‘green architecture’ is rather a new construct to Vietnam, some recent edifices have been designed and labelled ‘green buildings’ despite the fact that their designs include merely of striking frontages and some verdure. In overview, sustainable architecture in Vietnam is merely a inactive short-run reaction to the topical tendency of ‘global clime change’ , alternatively of a sustainable long-run solution. To all extends, it is critical to deeply see the climatic design adaptation of new residential developments in order to guarantee a better life quality for Vietnam dwellers. This paper will concentrate on utilizing modern engineering but using selective constructs of common architecture adapted to the natural clime conditions within allowance budget peculiarly for low-cost flats. Particularly, this proposal emphasizes the usage of of course airing, sun shading, and sustainable edifice design with the kernel of Vietnamese civilization which can be seen in both private inside infinites and communal exterior infinites.


In recent old ages, clime alteration and its major effects to the urban countries have been widely concerned all around the universe, HCMC is non an exclusion. Detecting the importance of this concern, HCMC has actively organised a figure of professional research workshops and conferences where many international every bit good as national specializers and designers have worked on a broad scope of issues and solutions. These are a few recent successful conferences and workshops:

  • Vietnam Climate Adaptation Partnership. ( Vietnam – Nederlands )
  • Future Mega Cities: HCMC undertaking. ( Vietnam – Germany )
  • Key Challenges in the Procedure of Urbanization in HCMC ( Vietnam – USA )
  • Connecting Delta Cities on version to climate alteration: Rotterdam, New York, Jakarta, London, New Orleans, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and HCMC.
  • HCMC Adaptation to Climate Change ( Asian Development Bank in coaction with the HCMC Peoples Committee and DONRE )
  • International conferences on Green Housing in Vietnam.

In general, the result of these researches defines the overall wide issues faced by the current lodging development and offers certain all-around schemes chiefly in the societal, economic and urban facets of development. However, such researches happen while edifice undertakings are being carried out, therefore their utility and application are instead limited. Nonetheless there are exclusions, for case, the Handbook for Green Housing – one of chief publications of Future Mega Cities HCMC Project – is practical and extremely recommended for presently townhouse’s stakeholders. Harmonizing to Waibel, the Handbook for Green Housing is a touchable end product presenting a comprehensive set of rules and steps by agencies of an easy to understand format. It besides introduced options that use the potency of Sun and air current to restrict natural disadvantages ; and targeted the new consumers of Vietnam, the quickly rising urban in-between category population, presently in the procedure of raising new edifices or restituting their houses. ( Waibel, 2011 )

This type of practical enchiridions meets the emergent demand of the running market. While the current enchiridions are focused on town house, this paper targets low-cost flats, which are one of the two chief lodging typologies within HCMC urban development. On the other manus, the concluding proceedings of the conference on Green Housing in Vietnam between Tradition and Modernity raised many valid points to architecture community sing the losing function of traditional tropical architecture in Vietnam current and future lodging developments.

“In Vietnam, the possible to advance climate-adapted architecture and energy efficient edifice is far from being exhausted. Due to the tropical clime a peculiarly big sum of energy for chilling and dehumidification is needed here. The economic roar has allowed building to turn tremendously. For the first clip, wide center categories have emerged. They are the most of import decision-makers in the building of new residential edifices and are therefore a cardinal group for greater sustainability. In this context the ‘rediscovery ‘ of traditional tropical architecture, which is based on natural airing, represents an of import opportunity.” ( Waibel 2012, 3 )

Furthermore, taking a expression back to some old single and smaller graduated table researches, it can finish and lend to the overall image. One of the first noteworthy publications on “Housing for Low-income Groups in Ho Chi Minh City between Re-Integration and Fragmentation – Approachs to Adequate Urban Typologies and Spatial Strategies“ was published on ASIEN – The German Journal on Contemporary Asia in 2007. It has been clearly stated by Waibel – one of the cardinal international research workers in Vietnam for this field – that lodging units have to be constructed in a manner that ‘low-income’ people can afford them, to accomplish that, there is a demand for much better cooperation and schemes for the political, societal and economic feasibleness of the construct ( Waibel 2007 ) . Later on, ICEM – the International Centre for Environmental Management – conducted “TheHCMC Adaptation to Climate Change Study”which was commissioned by the Asian Development Bank ( ADB ) in coaction with the HCMC Peoples Committee.This is one of the really first officially funded surveies demoing HCMC’s attempts in the practical climate-adaptive architecture facet.

“The survey was conducted between February 2008 and July 2009. Of necessity it was a rapid appraisal undertaken within the context of the reproduction potency for local authoritiess, the handiness and handiness of local information and the demand for simple and practical responses which can be readily integrated with local development planning rhythms and processes.” ( ICEM 2009, 9 )

In add-on, late, there are some notable PhD thesises by Vietnamese research workers which worked on many different facet of sustainable lodging in Vietnam. So far, there are two distinguished thesises, which can be considered as the elucidation to the valuable connexion between common lodging architecture and modern-day climate-adaptive lodging design. First, Nguyen submitted his thesis on “Sustainable lodging in Vietnam: Climate antiphonal design schemes to optimise thermic comfort” in 2013. The purpose of his thesis is to develop design schemes toward comfy, energy-efficient lodging with a low budget based on surveies on Vietnam traditional lodging architecture.

“A survey on slang and traditional lodging in Vietnam will complement the socio-cultural facet of this research and a life-cycle cost optimisation will supply schemes towards low-cost – comfy lodging in Vietnam.” ( Nguyen 2013, 5 )

There are a figure of high results from this thesis, nevertheless, the rules developed can merely be applied in theoretical researches by professionals and it seems impractical for public usage. Second, besides within 2013, another noteworthy thesis was published by Le on “Housing development state of affairs and climate-adapted design solutions for Hue City” which was extremely practical and easy apprehensible for common readers. The research proposed some peculiarly pressure and pressing solutions of extenuation and version to climate alteration. It adds specialised cognition for professional interior decorators in sustainable architecture, clime responsive, and low cost lodging.

“From this research, the edifice schemes bring out sustainable life environment with the adaptative clime solutions. The schemes develop base on the local clime, local stuff, and traditional building methods and some scientific attacks. This survey will be the apparent for many solutions which use the advantage of local clime to cut down the cost of energy and back up a comfort life for inhabitants.” ( Le 2013, 1 )

Despite such positive properties, this survey has some limited points, such as the chief survey points of edifice development are located in Hue City, therefore holding somewhat different clime to HCMC. Furthermore, Hue City is merely an average-scale metropolis in cardinal Vietnam which is enormously different from HCMC in about every other facet.

By and large, there are a huge spread in the degrees of researches from designers and professionals for such a topical issue of climate-adaptive design for HCMC lodging. However, the chief failing of those surveies mentioned above is their failure to turn to the practical solution peculiarly for a well design low-cost flat adapted to the local clime of HCMC, which should besides be easy shareable with common dwellers as a paradigm for farther developments. Hence, this design proposal will non merely concentrate on modern building engineering but besides aiming on Vietnamese civilization facets.


Throughout some initial researches mentioned above on lodging for ‘low-income’ dwellers in such a mega metropolis like HCMC, it clearly shows that the success of lodging undertakings for ‘low-income’ groups is chiefly dependent on sustainable architecture, peculiarly climatic design version ( Waibel 2007, 76 ) . The cardinal inquiry demand to be figured out is:

What is the cardinal of climate-adaptive architecture design to make quality-living ‘low-cost’ flats in HCMC?

Based on old surveies of Nguyen and Le on clime antiphonal design schemes of common lodging in Vietnam, there are two low-level inquiries in order to reply the chief inquiry:

  • To what widen can the values of common architecture apply for modern flat undertakings in term of ‘low-cost’ climatic design solution?
  • Can a ‘low-cost’ flat afford to hold the sense of Vietnam civilization?


Those above mentioned inquiries could be answered through a series of surveies on four key Fieldss including:

  • Contemporary climate-adaptive design techniques, particularly seting attending on ‘low-cost’ solutions.
  • Climate antiphonal design technique of Vietnam common lodging architecture, farther sing civilization heritage features.
  • Current common position of low-cost flats in HCMC.
  • Good samples of low-cost lodging in other states, peculiarly developing states with the similar conditions.

The results achieved should be adapted to the context of HCMC through effectual clime antiphonal design solutions and flexible combination of assorted design parametric quantities. The consistent solutions should run into the demands for a sustainable development. The more elaborate proposal workflow will follow as:

  • Understanding the natural clime status of HCMC by utilizing both personal experiences as local dweller and computing machine truth clime analysis tools.
  • Choosing and proving suited climatic design solutions by utilizing scale theoretical accounts and modern stimulate computing machine package.
  • Detecting alone and applicable values of common lodging architecture utilizing archives and old surveies on traditional architecture.
  • Identifying the strengths and failings of the current flat design in HCMC through site visits and direct speedy interviews with bing users. ( Currently under consideration as may hold issues with finance for travel to Vietnam and back )
  • Researching the quality of presently in-use low-cost flats and choosing the noteworthy and applicable design solutions.
  • Choosing a suited up-coming low-cost flat which have good location and already had full design proposal.
  • Proposing a complete new design proposal based on old surveies.
  • Making a comparing tabular array between two proposals including a series of design elements, advantages and disadvantages of both design. Concentrating on sustainable elements such as thermic comfort, natural airing, illuming, community, maximising utilizing infinites, etc, by utilizing computing machine stimulate package such as Autodesk Ecotech 2011and Climate Consultant 5.1. Further analyze utilizing architectural 3D mold package ( Autodesk CAD, 3Ds Max, Google SketchUp ) and proving straight on physical graduated table theoretical accounts.
  • Comparing with at least two more similar undertakings.
  • Listing the cardinal attacks and fundamental of the concluding design proposal.

It is expected as a design based thesis so the research and computing machine analytical attacks should come along with the originative design facets in order to offer an aesthetic, comfy, low-cost, energy witting, quality life environment.


“If lodging conditions are unequal, it might be concluded that this is because some families are unable to demand lodging of an acceptable standard.” ( Michael 2000, 2 )

This statement points out a major job of all the mega-urban parts all over the universe, particularly developing states among which Vietnam and more peculiarly HCMC is typical. The metropolis has been enduring the rapid addition of economic and urban development without a sustainable elaborate scheme, taking to hapless life quality in about all residential developments, peculiarly in low-cost lodging sector. With the current planetary clime issues, the challenge of version to climate alteration is inevitable to urban planning and direction of the metropolis. These aggressive clime issues are critical in urban planning every bit good as edifice design, taking to the demand to better the degree of energy efficiency and version to climate. Thus, in recent old ages HCMC has shown strong finding on raising both measure and quality of ‘low-income’ lodging sector. This is reflected on a immense figure of published stuffs from international specializer corporations every bit good as single research workers undertaking this topical issue. However, so far, published researches are chiefly focused on the urban facets and town house typology, but have yet offered any practical solution and elaborate illustration for ‘low-cost’ flats. This paper aims to advance a climatic adaptative design paradigm of low-cost lodging for ‘low-income’ occupants in HCMC, in bend lending to the betterment of life quality and sustainability of development. Furthermore, it is expected that the consequences of this thesis can be easy refined and combined in to a practical enchiridion which can be applied widely non merely for constructing interior decorators but besides common dwellers. Last, the traditional lodging architecture takes a critical function in this research procedure in order to offer a modern design consistent with and representative of the Vietnamese civilization heritage.

As many other states, common lodging in Vietnam has illustrated valuable illustrations of the harmoniousness between the nature and manmade constructions. ( Nguyen 2013, 20 )