11 Pages

Vietnamese field/work: the case of Hanoi’s water urbanism

ByKelly Shannon

This chapter discusses fieldwork through the development of interpretative mapping and

projective cartographies in order to (re)read and (re)write potentials in the existing water

and urbanization logics of the millennium-old capital city of Hanoi, Vietnam. Fieldwork is

understood as a sort of critical realism (critical in the process of selection of what to

map), as well as the initiation of ‘design research’. A diachronic perspective frames

Hanoi’s urbanization from the feudal, through to its colonial, Soviet and present-day doi

moi development impositions and tendencies. Although Vietnam’s doi moi is popularly

likened to the Soviet Union’s Perestroika (meaning ‘restructuring’), it is actually a reform

programme of renovation. According to William Duiker, in the years following the end of

the Second Indochina War, Hanoi became one of the most orthodox practitioners of the

Stalinist approach to nation-building, with its emphasis on socialist industrialization. Even

after the Party leaders decided to embark on the road to reform at the Sixth National

Congress in December 1986, the new programme was not nearly as much a departure

from past practice as was the case in China or even in the Soviet Union. It is equally clear

that, for some members of the senior leadership, the ultimate goal of building a fully

socialist society has by no means been abandoned (Duiker 1995: 159).