HCM City looks to boost heritage conservation
More measures to preserve heritage and urban architectural landscapes, including historic structures, in HCM City are needed, experts have said.
According to a report in Nhân Dân (People) newspaper, many sites have degraded over the years because of the lack of conversation.
Of 172 relic sites in HCM City, two are special national monuments, 56 are national monuments (including two archaeological monuments, 30 art architectural monuments and 24 historical monuments), and 114 are city-level monuments, according to the HCM City Department of Planning and Architecture.
The city has allocated over VND500 billion (US$21.5 million) to repair and renovate 32 monuments since 2009.
Since 2016, the city has focused on the preservation of Giác Vien Pagoda, Thong Tay Hoi Communal House, History Museum, Phu Thanh Communal House, Khanh Hoi Communal House, and other sites.
Many relics are being considered for final classification before renovation. However, due to the long process of classification and the fast pace of urbanisation, about 560 out of 1,200 old villas have either been demolished or are in a state of disrepair.
Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, deputy head of District 1's Urban Management Department, said that inefficient classification of old villas built before 1975 had brought inconveniences to locals.
The chairman of District 1 People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Dung, added that the speed of urbanisation was worsening the problem.
Many tall trees along both sides of Ton Duc Thang Street, for example, were cut down to make way for the construction of the new metro line. Unless the city develops a serious policy on preserving sties along the street, historical and architectural features in the area will be affected.
Dr Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy chief architect of HCM City, said that due to experts’ limited knowledge, conservation activities have faced difficulties.
The lack of determination to preserve these sites has posed another challenge, he said, adding that new transportation and urban plans have affected some relics that have deteriorated over time.
Nguyen Minh Nhat, deputy head of the Urban Committee of the city's People’s Council, said that though the city has built a legal framework for conservation of urban architectural landscapes since 2013, no specific regulation or solution has been introduced to tackle the matter.
This is why nearly half of the old villas in HCM City have disappeared, he said.
The director of the city's Department of Planning and Architecture, Nguyen Thanh Nha, said the department would soon develop legal documents, creating a basis for conservation works.
The department will also publish information about the process of preservation and encourage locals to take part in the process.
The chairwoman of the city's People’s Council, Nguyen Thi Le, requested that specific policies on each type of conservation project should be developed soon.
HCM City should develop a heritage master plan as part of its urban development strategy to ensure conservation of its architectural heritage, experts have urged.