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Land governance of suburban areas of Vietnam


  • de Wit, J.W.


After the Doi Moi (‘renovation’) reforms in Vietnam from 1986, land ownership rules were adjusted, effectively terminating former land collectivisation efforts. While land ownership remained fully under the control of the state, a 1993 land law conferred 20-year leaseholds to most farmers. They could now utilize farm land individually, and sell, swap and mortgage the land in a situation similar to private ownership. These leaseholds are now expiring and a new 2013 land law is in the making. This paper was initially written for UNDP Vietnam which supports Vietnam to help formulate a strong new land law, and brings out the complexities of land governance in the suburban areas of fast expanding Vietnamese cities. It first considers the present and changing land use of suburban areas and the key stakeholders involved here – powerful State Owned Enterprises, farmers, bureaucrats and communist party leaders. Planning practices are then assessed – and seen to be both rigid and complex, with different departments at various levels working at cross purposes under conditions of conflicting rules, laws and weak capacities. This is one reason for the dominance of informal arrangements and widespread corruption, where powerful actors benefit hugely and illegally from conditions of opacity and informal networks. Overall outcomes are that cities expand in a haphazard (‘leapfrog’) and inefficient manner, with insufficient attention for timely and adequate infrastructure, the environment and for people’s welfare as in social amenities and parks. As a result of lopsided incentive systems, it is the state which foregoes huge incomes and faces more costly investments, while many suburban farmers are affected through (arbitrary) land acquisition and inadequate compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • de Wit, J.W., 2013. "Land governance of suburban areas of Vietnam," ISS Working Papers - General Series 561, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:40476

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wagstaff, Adam, 2007. "The economic consequences of health shocks: Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 82-100, January.
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    Vietnam; environment; land governance; planning; suburban land; urban housing;

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