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EcoPark Satellite City Project, Hanoi, Vietnam


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].

Since 2005, the company has tried to implement the project, but according to the villagers, the land was granted under illegal conditions that do not comply with the law, as there were neither proper consultation nor compensation processes [1;4]. Protests during 2006 have achieved a temporary suspension of the project, which however, was later on put back on the agenda [5]. During the land confiscations and evictions conducted in 2009 and 2012, around 2000 households refused to take compensation, as, according to them, they were far too low [1;4]. Corruption likely has played a central role in worsening the conditions and allocation of adequate funds to the affected families [5].

Periodic protests on site as well as in front of the government followed. When hired workers first arrived to clear the land, they clashed against the villagers, leading to several people injured [1]. Particularly during April 2012, the conflict violently escalated, when during a police’s mass effort to evict villagers and to stop protesters with violence and tear gas, people defended themselves with throwing stones, bricks and Molotov cocktails ([3;4] and videos). Before the April 2012 evictions, that involved 5.8 ha of 166 families, as part of the development of 72.6ha during Phase 2 of the satellite city [6], farmers had set up camps to guard the area. About 3,000 policemen and soldiers however arrived and went against 1,000 villagers. Several people were detained and had to remain in custody [3]. Journalists documenting the evictions were beaten by the police [3]. In the following, villagers filed complaints at the Van Giang people’s Court (May, 2012), which however were rejected and ignored, as according to the court there was a lack of evidence [4;7].

On February 10, 2014, the project developer allegedly sent armed men to prevent farmers from reclaiming their rice fields, set aside for the EcoPark. The armed men shot at several farmers, five of which were injured. Large protests followed, and further claims to fully investigate the shooting were voiced [4].

In May 2014, EcoPark ironically won the Asia Pacific Property Awards due to its “careful planning and sustainable development strategy” [8]. As of June 2015, the conflict goes on, being currently one of the most contentious land conflicts, in which small-farmers defend their land rights to make a living against an urban elite, profiting from luxury infrastructure projects.

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
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
Fisher people
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)
http://www.itpc.gov.vn/investors/how_to_invest/law/Law_on_land/mldocument_view/?set_language=en

Vietnamese Land Law of 2003 (No. 13/2003/QH11)
http://moj.gov.vn/vbpq/en/Lists/Vn%20bn%20php%20lut/View_Detail.aspx?ItemID=8269

Links

[1] RFA News online (09/10/2012): "Hundreds Protest Land Grab" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/protest-10092012173911.html

[2] Eco Park– The City of Green and Blue (Project Description) (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html

[3] Telegraph.co.uk online (09/05/2012): "Journalists beaten by Vietnamese police" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/vietnam/9253667/Journalists-beaten-by-Vietnamese-police.html?mobile=basic

[4] RFA News online (07/03/2014): "Vietnamese Farmers Demand Tough Action Against Land-Grabbing ‘Thugs’ " (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/van-giang-03072014153929.html

[5] Chinapost online (22/02/2013): "Farmers in Vietnam protest land 'robbed' for satellite city" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/asia/vietnam/2012/02/22/332367/Farmers-in.htm

[6] The Irrawaddy online (26/04/2012): "Vietnam Detains 20 Following Mass Land Eviction" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/vietnam-detains-20-following-mass-land-eviction.html

[7] RFA News online (24/04/2013): "A Year After Clashes, Vietnamese Land Dispute Unresolved" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/van-giang-04242013184638.html

[8] Vietnam Breaking News online (17/05/2014): "Ecopark celebrates regional laudation" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.vietnambreakingnews.com/2014/05/ecopark-celebrates-regional-laudation/

[9] Wikipedia on the EcoPark Project (accessed 06/09/2015) (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecopark_%28Vietnam%29

[10] Vietnam Breaking News online (18/10/2011): "Ecopark comes to life" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.vietnambreakingnews.com/2011/10/ecopark-comes-to-life/

[11] Viet Nam News online (04/08/2012): "Banks resume real-estate lending" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://vietnamnews.vn/Economy/228352/banks-resume-real-estate-lending.html

[12] BBC News online (25/04/2012): "Vietnam land clash: Arrests after police evict hundreds" (accessed 06/09/2015)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17844198

Media Links

April 2012 evictions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in0veUYNnQc

April 2012 confrontations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c2LIxcJn2Y

Violent evictions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnYsHNFxs7E

Other Documents

Project plans Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b__3864564884_738e910c73.jpg

Project plan Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b__3863781839_c66be1d71b.jpg

Protests Source: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/protest-10092012173911.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a____image.jpg

Protest marches Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17844198
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/f____59844879_014558518-2.jpg

Location Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b___location_3864564666_801ae043a2.jpg

Protest marches Source: http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/vietnam-detains-20-following-mass-land-eviction.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/g___AP-hanoi.jpg

Overnight camps Source: http://eyedrd.org/2012/04/4000-vietnamese-police-agents-were-used-to-seize-lands-dislodging-4000-farming-families.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/h__camps_vangiang3.jpg

Protests Source: http://eyedrd.org/2012/04/4000-vietnamese-police-agents-were-used-to-seize-lands-dislodging-4000-farming-families.html
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/h__portests_vanggiang9.jpg

Meta Information

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

Images

 

Project plans

Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html

Project plan

Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html

Protests

Source: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/protest-10092012173911.html

Protest marches

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17844198

Location

Source: http://vnre.reic.vn/2008/03/eco-park-city-of-future.html

Protest marches

Source: http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/vietnam-detains-20-following-mass-land-eviction.html

Overnight camps

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

Protests

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