Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The booming of Hanoi´s ancient quarters

Pattern of Hanoi´s tube houses. Picture from García Lamarca´s post.
Hanoi´s street. Picture from García Lamarca´s post.

I´m sharing an interesting post at Polis by Melissa García Lamarca:
¨Hanoi’s “36 Streets” or Ancient Quarter, an area that has existed since the city was founded in A.D. 1010. Originally the center of supply for Vietnamese rulers in the Imperial City and a residential area for “commoners,” the area emerged as an important trade and craft center in the early 13th century. This was due to its privileged location nestled between the country’s seat of power, the old citadel destroyed by French colonizers, and the Red River, whose flow provided an important connection to nearby regions.
The urban morphology and function of the Ancient Quarter has, remarkably, remained largely intact throughout Vietnam’s more recent history of French colonization and decades of war. Its "spaghetti" street pattern remains from the 15th century, when trade streets emerged that specialized in a particular craft or good, still reflected in street names today. Constant division of properties over the centuries led to the creation of the Quarter’s characteristic "tube" or "tunnel" houses, providing live-work spaces for the residents of the area.(...)
Since the late 1980s, the Ancient Quarter has undergone a massive entrepreneurial boom. A high proportion of the local population has benefited, as they have transformed their "tube" house living quarters into shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. There is a thriving pavement economy, with street hawkers — overwhelmingly women — commuting in daily from the countryside to sell vegetables and other goods. Foreign tourism is also booming.¨

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