EcoPark Satellite City Project, Hanoi, Vietnam

A ‘perfect harmony of humans and nature’? The EcoPark Satellite City Project causes currently the largest land conflict in Vietnam, due to forced evictions of farmers, depending on their agricultural land to make a living


Description

The 500ha EcoPark Satellite City Project that would construct around 20,000 residential units in Van Giang district close to urban Hanoi was approved by the government in 2004 and is currently among the largest urban development projects within Northern Vietnam. It was described by the proponents as the “perfect harmony of humans and nature”; however, this perception put forward by the urban elite, drastically clashes against the needs and development visions of the 4,000 families to be evicted, as the project is located on their agricultural lands, on which they base their livelihood. Consequently, the EcoPark has led to the most severe recent conflicts over land in Vietnam [1;2;3].

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Basic Data
NameEcoPark Satellite City Project, Hanoi, Vietnam
CountryVietnam
ProvinceHung Yen Province
SiteVăn Giang District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe EcoPark Satellite City Project was approved by former Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2004 [1]. The purpose of the project is to create a large residential zone with around 20,000 residential units as well as luxury facilities such as a golf course, around 20 km Southeast of Hanoi, well-connected via urban transport. It is among the largest infrastructure projects in Northern Vietnam. Total project area amounts to 499.9ha and total investment size, required for its 9 phases of construction, was reported to amount to 8.2 billion USD [2].

The Ecopark is developed by Viet Hung Urban Development and Investment J.S.C (VIHAJICO), a joint venture of the following Vietnamese Companies: AA Construction Architecture Joint Stock Company (AA Corporation); ATA Architects Co., Ltd; Nam Thanh Do Construction Consultants J.S.C; Thanh Nam Construction and Investment J.S.C; Duy Nghia Co., Ltd; Phung Thien Trading Co., Ltd; Nam Thanh Tourism and Commerce J.S.C; Bao Tin Trading Co., Ltd. [9].

The contractor company for the first phase, the construction of the Rung Co Apartments, was Vietanmese CotecCons. First phase was completed in late 2011 [10].

No information on the sources of loans and credits could be found. Vietcombank supports customers who want to buy apartments in the EcoPark with especially low interest rates [11].

More than 4,000 families have to be evicted for the EcoPark Satellite City Project [3]. According to newspaper reports, around 1,700$ were offered for each 360m2 plot, which according to villagers is inadequate [12].
Project Area (in hectares)500
Level of Investment (in USD)8,200,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population4000 families (an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people) to be evicted
Start Date29/06/2004
Company Names or State EnterprisesViet Hung Urban Development and Investment J.S.C (VIHAJICO) (VIHAJICO) from Vietnam - construction, property development
AA Construction Architecture Joint Stock Company (AA Corporation) (AA Corporation) from Vietnam - property development
ATA Architects Co. Ltd. (ATA) from Vietnam - construction, property development
Nam Thanh Do Construction Consultants J.S.C from Vietnam - construction, property development
Thanh Nam Construction and Investment J.S.C from Vietnam - construction, property development
Duy Nghia Co., Ltd from Vietnam - property development
Phung Thien Trading Co., Ltd from Vietnam - property development
Nam Thanh Tourism and Commerce J.S.C from Vietnam - tourism, property development
Bao Tin Trading Co., Ltd. from Vietnam - construction, trading
COTECCONS Group from Vietnam - construction
Relevant government actorsVietnamese (Deptuty) Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
International and Financial InstitutionsVietcombank from Vietnam - banking, finance, investment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersUrban internet activists supported the protests; Vietnamese Fatherland Front cooperated in protests
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Fishermen
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Affected farmers were strongly supported by Vietnamese Internet activists/bloggers, who actively disseminated information, in the face of lacking public media coverage
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Refusal of compensation
Affected farmers were strongly supported by Vietnamese Internet activists/bloggers, who actively disseminated information, in the face of lacking public media coverage
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Corruption
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Criminalization of activists
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Migration/displacement
Violence against farmers but also journalists
Development of AlternativesAffected families want cancellation of the project, or at least proper compensation.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project goes on.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Vietnamese Land Law of 2013 (Land Law No.45/2013/QH13)
[click to view]

Vietnamese Land Law of 2003 (No. 13/2003/QH11)
[click to view]

Links

[1] RFA News online (09/10/2012): "Hundreds Protest Land Grab" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[2] Eco Park– The City of Green and Blue (Project Description) (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[3] Telegraph.co.uk online (09/05/2012): "Journalists beaten by Vietnamese police" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[4] RFA News online (07/03/2014): "Vietnamese Farmers Demand Tough Action Against Land-Grabbing ‘Thugs’ " (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[5] Chinapost online (22/02/2013): "Farmers in Vietnam protest land 'robbed' for satellite city" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[6] The Irrawaddy online (26/04/2012): "Vietnam Detains 20 Following Mass Land Eviction" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[7] RFA News online (24/04/2013): "A Year After Clashes, Vietnamese Land Dispute Unresolved" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[8] Vietnam Breaking News online (17/05/2014): "Ecopark celebrates regional laudation" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[9] Wikipedia on the EcoPark Project (accessed 06/09/2015) (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[10] Vietnam Breaking News online (18/10/2011): "Ecopark comes to life" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[11] Viet Nam News online (04/08/2012): "Banks resume real-estate lending" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

[12] BBC News online (25/04/2012): "Vietnam land clash: Arrests after police evict hundreds" (accessed 06/09/2015)
[click to view]

Media Links

April 2012 evictions
[click to view]

April 2012 confrontations
[click to view]

Violent evictions
[click to view]

Other Documents

Project plans Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
[click to view]

Project plan Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
[click to view]

Protests Source: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/protest-10092012173911.html
[click to view]

Protest marches Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17844198
[click to view]

Location Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
[click to view]

Protest marches Source: http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/vietnam-detains-20-following-mass-land-eviction.html
[click to view]

Overnight camps Source: http://eyedrd.org/2012/04/4000-vietnamese-police-agents-were-used-to-seize-lands-dislodging-4000-farming-families.html
[click to view]

Protests Source: http://eyedrd.org/2012/04/4000-vietnamese-police-agents-were-used-to-seize-lands-dislodging-4000-farming-families.html
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update19/06/2015
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