A political economy of urbanisation and climate risk in Vietnam

This report uses a problem-driven political economy approach to analyse how the leadership of three mid-sized cities in Vietnam, Can Tho, Quy Nhon and Da Nang, are trying to pursue their urban growth ambitions under conditions of increasing awareness of climate change risks. For nearly two decades, urban growth has been both an indicator and target for social development and economic progress in Vietnam. Under the banner of modernisation and industrialisation, the Ministry of Construction created a fine-grained regulatory structure that uses the classification of urban areas to encourage spatially balanced growth. In recent years, however, those regulatory structures have been used by some provincial authorities not only as standards for urban classification, but also as means targeting urban growth. The realisation of these urban growth ambitions has been facilitated by a shifting political economy in which a liberalised urban development sector fuses with the institutions of socialist planning, aligned with the interest of political and business elites.