At the Italian Design Day 2021, a group of RMIT Vietnam academics and students presented creative concepts to regenerate Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4 port area based on its unique cultures and socio-geographical values.
Drawing from UNESCO, the team positioned culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable economic, environmental, and social development, and directly addressed the National Strategy for the development of Vietnamese cultural industries from 2020, with a vision to 2030.
Among the major challenges were to develop creative ideas for the district without sacrificing its well-regarded social cohesion. According to RMIT Vietnam lecturer Dr Andrew Stiff, even though District 4 has seen new opportunities emerge due to intervention and internal investment from the city, the district’s aura largely remains one of community and close-knit families.
“District 4 is the smallest district in Ho Chi Minh City. Located between District 1 to the north and District 7 to the south, it has developed alongside Ho Chi Minh city rather than with it, in part because the entry and exit points encourage travellers to pass through rather than stop and meaningfully engage with it”, Dr Stiff said.
“Our study focuses on the port areas of District 4 and discovers opportunities to experiment with alternative urban attitudes which can lead to processes, events, and occupations whose legacy would be an inspirational symbol of a sustainable neighbourhood, cohesive city and authentic sense of place. Smart technology and creativity are employed as essential tools for the future sustainable development of a densely populated urban area,” said RMIT Vietnam associate lecturer Mr Kenneth Rabin.
Under the supervision of their lecturers, RMIT students developed their ideas about the future of District 4’s landscape. Through the lens of the city’s young population, four concepts, respectively themed around makers, sports, cultural experiences, and the city’s water heritage, were originated, inspired by the cultural-rich factors of District 4 and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.