Land Politics and Livelihoods on the Margins of Hanoi, 1920-2010
228 pages, 6 x 9
9 maps, 8 photos, 1 table
Release Date:01 Jul 2014
Release Date:15 Dec 2013
Release Date:15 Dec 2013

Land Politics and Livelihoods on the Margins of Hanoi, 1920-2010

UBC Press

In the late 1990s, planning authorities in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi pushed the imaginary line between city and country several kilometres westward, engulfing dozens of rural settlements. As state policies forced rapid urbanization, villagers whose families had farmed the land for generations saw rice fields levelled, irrigation canals filled, and large avenues flanked by residential towers, big-box stores, and office buildings spring up. Danielle Labbé considers a century of change to the settlement of Hoa Muc – a community that underwent a rapid transition from rural village to urban neighbourhood. Through extensive research in the community, Labbé studies not only the changing lives of villagers, but also the state regulations and territorialization projects that drove these changes on the outskirts of Hanoi, and the early urban changes in the decades that preceded the reforms and continue to influence the area’s urbanization. Despite the new buildings, the end of farming activities, and the arrival of a large new population, the former villagers still consider Hoa Muc their homeland. The compelling story of this single village is both a portrait of a population that has endured despite drastic upheavals and a new analytical window onto Vietnam’s ongoing urban transition.

This book will be of interest to students or scholars studying the history of Vietnam, or urban planning and urbanization.

This study of a natural village within Hanoi will appeal to students of urbanization in Southeast Asia in many academic disciplines. Using the concept of peri-urbanization as a subset of the broader concept of urban-regional change, this detailed inquiry illuminates the fascinating changes that have unfolded in Hoa Muc over time, with important implications for further study and future policy making. Yue-man Yeung, Emeritus Professor of Geography, Chinese University of Hong Kong
A thorough and valuable analysis of shifting relationships between state and civil society in periurban Vietnam. Michael Waibel, Geography, University of Hamburg
Danielle Labbé is a professor of urban planning at the Université de Montréal.


1   The Early Urban Transition (1920-40)

2   Uneven Socialist Revolutions (1940-65)

3   Eating by Points and Coupons Is Not Enough (1965-80)

4   The New Urban Territorial Order (1980-2010)

5   Land for Fresh Ghosts, Land for Dry Ghosts




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