Hanoi: A study of informally developed housing and its role in the political arena of a post-reform communist city

Stephanie Geertman, Boram Kimhur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


n Viet Nam, the single-party state remains in control of all land through ownership and maintains the right to withdraw land- use rights from citizens. Citizens have few rights over how land is used, according to the laws as they are written. However, the presence of the large informal land and housing sector in Hanoi brings to light the fact that, in spite of a constrained political environment, citizens find space for independent action. The key to understanding how this function is by looking at the everyday practices used by ordinary citizens. This chapter gives an account of how citizens have largely relied on non-confrontational tactics to secure land and housing, in ways that are able to change state directions and policies. The choice of non-confrontational tactics in an authoritarian country is not surprising. What sheds light on how civil society can emerge within the Vietnamese political system is the response by the Vietnamese state to accommodate the everyday practices of ordinary citizens. While these practices do not oppose the state directly, they are perceived as apolitical by both the state and the citizens. Furthermore, this chapter argues that there is much to be learned about the everyday spatial politics in Hanoi, as these modes of political engagement are becoming increasingly important in today’s urban world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook on Informal Urbanization
EditorsRoberto Rocco, Jan van Ballegooijen
Place of PublicationLondon, New York
PublisherRoutledge - Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-317-29233-3, 978-1-315-64554-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-18388-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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