Ho Chi Minh city, formerly known as Saigon, has a population of 7.163 million. It is the most populous city in Vietnam, and located on Saigon River, north of Mekong River Delta. It was once under the French Colonial Rule, and was transformed into a major port city and metropolitan centre. Large scale rural-urban migration took place during the Vietnam war, with the percentage of population residing in Ho Chi Minh city increasing from 4 percent in 1950 to nearly 6 percent in 1970. After the end of Vietnam War and the reunification of the North and South, the government introduced a policy of deurbanisation to reduce the rate of increase in urban growth. Share of the national urban population declined in this period, from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 5.9 percent in 1990. Currently, there is an emphasis of the government to develop ‘agro-towns’, which has the economic function of combining agricultural production and small-scale industry. Demographers therefore project Ho Chi Minh’s regional population to increase at a much faster rate over the next two decades.
During the 1970s, Vietnamese government planners emphasized agricultural development in the rural areas to aid in providing for country’s basic food needs rather than industrial development for export. After 1986, the government turned to attracting foreign investment, in order to encourage industrial development, primarily for export purposes. Ho Chi Minh City has then been shifting from a government-controlled to a more private economy. Their low cost of labour is the main attraction for investors to invest in textile, garment, and rubber industries. These industries are mainly labour intensive industries. However, Ho Chi Minh City is facing a problem of housing shortage, and the post-war baby bloom will compound the problem of unemployment.
The Vietnamese Government has been playing an important and major role in the provision of public housing to the residents in Ho Chi Minh...