HCMC – The Thu Thiem New Urban Area in HCMC has prepared itself for climate change by adapting its development to natural conditions, said an international property market consultant.
Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Vietnam said in a statement that Thu Thiem, across from the city’s business district along the Saigon River, has incorporated man-made canals, lakes and mangrove areas into its master plan to accommodate changing tidal levels and flooding.
This kind of foresight has become essential for many Southeast Asian cities. Amid a phenomenal pace of economic growth, the region is also one of the world’s most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
JLL Vietnam said progress in Thu Thiem is finally being seen after a period of limbo for the last decade due to compensation issues and slow infrastructure development.
“Looking back, Thu Thiem’s late start might have given it an advantage in terms of learning from other cities as it prepares to future-proof itself from climate change,” stated the consultant.
Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines are among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change, JLL reported, citing the Global Climate Risk Index by the nongovernmental organization German Watch.
“Southeast Asia has some of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic cities,” noted Jeremy Kelly, lead director JLL Global Cities Research.
She added that many cities are stretched when it comes to resources due to mass migration and greater urbanization. Compounding the problem is the fact that key cities, such as Manila, HCMC, Bangkok and Jakarta are “in low-lying areas where rising sea levels are another inescapable stressor.”
This is a region with the highest potential for growth worldwide. Vietnam’s two largest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, are among the best performing cities globally when it comes to its economic and real estate potential, ranking seventh and third, respectively, in JLL’s City Momentum Index.
HCMC was even singled out by real estate analysts as a favored location by residential investors due to its growth potential and higher yields, which exceed that of Bangkok and Singapore, according to Chinese international residence investment platform Juwai.
“Vietnam’s business-friendly policies and the securing of free trade agreements with more than 60 countries have helped create an export-driven economy that has strengthened the attractiveness and momentum of Hanoi and HCMC,” said Stephen Wyatt, managing director of JLL Vietnam.
However, climate change in this region could stifle growth prospects. The Asian Development Bank estimated that the mean cost of climate change for Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam could amount to a loss of 6.7% of their combined gross domestic product per year by 2100. This is more than twice the average loss globally.
By Thanh Thom