DIY URBANISM IN HANOI
Open public spaces such as squares, parks, and playgrounds have historically been very scarce in Vietnamese cities and especially in Hanoi (Drummond, 2000). The pressure on the few existing spaces has nevertheless increased over the last decades in the Vietnamese capital city. This is due, in part, to the country’s rapid urbanization which witnessed a rise of its urban population from 18.3% to 33.5% over the last 40 years (United Nations, 2016; GSO, 2017). In addition, during the late 1980s, Vietnam embarked on major socio-economic reforms, which left a much larger place to the market economy. Following these reforms, public spaces started to get commodified while, at the same time, new consumer spaces and privatized and paid leisure spaces emerged in cities (e.g., theme parks, video game parlour, etc.). Resulting from these various phenomena, today’s inner-city districts in Hanoi suffer from a serious shortage of free, safe, clean and well-designed open public spaces in general, and lack playgrounds for kids in particular (Boudreau et al., 2016). In parallel, the rising popularity of videogames and mobile devices impact youths and children’s leisure activities, which have become more solitary and tend to be practiced indoors.
RETHINKING THE CITY THROUGH SPECIFIC ACTIONS
For a few years now, the planning literature has characterized do-it-yourself (DIY) urbanism as a mean through which urbanites can think and act on their living environments. Stemming from groups with limited resources, DIY’s micro-interventions have been found to allow innovative and cheap solutions to problems that remain undealt with by urban administrations. By broadening the scope of citizen participation in the urban space production process, DIY initiatives further challenge the conventional planning paradigm of consensus, political management, and urban governance (Finn, 2014).
FROM THE MARGINS TO THE CORE OF URBAN
Founded in 2014 by Quốc Đạt and Chu Kim Đức, Think Playgrounds is committed to build playgrounds for the children of Vietnam. Built on very limited human and financial resources, these playgrounds are made out mostly of recycled materials and are assembled by young volunteers. Up to this date, the organization has built nearly 50 playgrounds and counting; in several different locations across the country. Their partnerships with other non-governmental organizations and their relations with key city officials allow them to move towards a broader public space design expertise and a social enterprise structure.
“From the beginning, we just start with how to build a public playground, cheap and easy for the community.”Think Playgrounds
A RESEARCH PROJECT ON A SUCCESSFUL DIY URBANISM INITIATIVE IN VIETNAM
The research aim was to document the succesful initiative of Do-It-Yourself in Vietnam that is Think Playgrounds. Through an inductive approach, the researchers aimed to identified the core caracteristics of the organisation. In order to grasp the complexity of this new phenomenon, three main topics were defined: Politics, Management and Community. They would allow to understand the core issues in the relations with the city officials, within the organisation and with the communities of intervention.
Site #2 : PLAYSTREET
Source : Maxime Boutaghou-Courtemanche
Site #1 : NGUYỄN CÔNG HOAN
Source : Gabriel Larue
Site #4 : PLAYDAY
Site #3 : YÊN SỜ
Public WC Playground
Source : Maxime Boutaghou-Courtemanche
What are Think Playgrounds’ links with municipal authorities?
What is the structure of Think Playgrounds and what are its plans?
How are the projects received and what are their impacts on the communities ?
The Research Project
Brief presentation of the methodology of research, the limits, the biography, the research team, the key collaborators and the partners.
Recommandations made for Think Playgrounds, the district / neighbourhood / city officials, the civil society and other Global South DIY urban planing groups.
Panorama, 360 view and photos of the studied sites.