When Communities Transform Old Socialist Housing into Adequate Housing
Written by: Boram Kimhur
Published on: 26.07.2020
Invited by URBANET for an opinion article in “URBANET Focus Weeks: Urban Development in Vietnam”, Boram Kimhur wrote about socialist-era apartment buildings in Vietnam cities, so-called KTT. In the opinion article, she proposed a community-led upgrading of KTT and discussed why it would be a better solution than demolition and reconstruction.
The poor living environment in old apartment blocks is one of the major housing challenges in Vietnam. These blocks are called Khu tập thể (KTT), which literally translates to “collective districts”. KTT were built during the communist period, mostly in the 1960s-80s, as a socialist housing model. The buildings and utilities have since deteriorated. Individual units have become overcrowded as well. On the other hand, KTT provide affordable housing. They house lively communities that take care of each other and their neighbourhoods. The community-based approach can be a feasible and instant solution for transforming KTT into adequate housing. Tenants’ community organisations could help upgrade them and make the cities inclusive.
© Boram Kimhur, informally extended units of KTT blocks, Hanoi, 2015
Image 2: © Boram Kimhur, open space between building blocks, Kim Lien KTT, Hanoi, 2013