Asian Development Bank Vietnam Project
Numerous towns in the Greater Mekong Sub-region have severe capacity problems on their existing infrastructure and public services, which cannot cope with the increasing demands of the growing population and new developments. The capacity constraints in providing adequate potable water supply, sanitation, drainage and flood control, and solid waste management services have led to severe environmental problems. In addition, the lack of integrated land use planning, urban design and conservation skills, as well as enforcement regimes, further undermined the sustainable growth of these places.
The project in Sa Pa, Vietnam, was part of Asian Development Bank Second Greater Mekong Sub-region Corridor Towns Development Project (CTDP), which aimed at developing and/or upgrading public services in the small and medium towns along the corridor and strengthen their capacities to achieve future growth.
Sa Pa is a quiet mountain town close to the border between northern Vietnam and China. Set 1,500 metres up in the Hoàng Liên Son range of mountains, part of the eastern extremity of the Himalayas, the township is spoiled by unparalleled landscape and home to a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples and very distinctive habitats. However, despite being ranked as one of the top ten rice terrace destinations in the world, and close to its provincial capital of Lao Cai, Sa Pa’s growth is far from ideal.
Working along with an international multi-disciplinary team, Wei Yang & Partners proposed an overall strategy for public realm upgrades in Sa Pa’s Town Centre. The strategy was aimed not only to preserve the town’s historic fabric and transform its physical form, but more importantly, to reshape Sa Pa’s social and economic landscape and create a thriving and truly sustainable community.
The purpose of the project was to maximise Sa Pa’s potentials as a regional hub and tourist destination, and bring the best possible benefits to the community. The focus was to address existing environmental problems as an indispensable basis on which to: secure a sustainable environment; provide better living conditions which are socially inclusive; and provide a secure investment platform for the both investors and the community. Priorities were given to ensure the improvement of facilities and infrastructure meet tourists’ demands while still maintaining a unique national identity.