Learning Objectives


1. To discover the relationship between cultural influences and the architectural development in South Vietnam

2. To have a deeper understanding of urban planning issues and the interplay of the matrices of determinants involving physical attributes, commercial feasibility, social fabrics as well as political factors in particular relating to Generation Z (Those born between the early 1990s and the early 2000s).

3. To be aware of the impact of rapid urbanization on the environment and the need for sustainable development in the urban planning process.

4. To gain an insight of Singapore’s strengths in urban planning and sustainable environmental management skill-sets

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 4 Reflections (May 25) — Si Yuan, Stacey, Davina & Niklaus

The Amazing things we learnt and observed today
Forest Trails in the Can Gio Biosphere
The boat that we sat to go to a villager who participated in this project
 Ms Charm interviewing the villager 
A picture of our group after planting seedlings in the fields

EQ 1: I want to know the living conditions of the villagers living in the biosphere and what made the villagers attracted to stay within the biosphere

The living conditions of the villagers in the biosphere is not up to par with todays's urban city. They might have television, but it is still a CRT from what we observed in Mr Long's house. The construction of the house is built using wooden planks as pillars and roof and their boats are built with similar materials. Although authorities are subsidizing the cost of building a new home close to his current location, the cost is still pretty high (est. 185 million dong) and is made worst by the small income that the people at biosphere earns. They simplify do not have enough money to live a very comfortable life. Living in the biosphere also post many additional problems like the lack of electricity that is only confined to the electricity gathered from solar panels. The water supply has to be brought through boats carrying water tanks and the villagers living there have to pay a high price of 60000 dong for each cubic meter of water. Also the villagers have to make long journeys daily just to send their children to schools daily. All of these are some of the problems that causes poorer living conditions in Can Gio biosphere as compared to living in an urbanized city.
EQ 2: I would like to see how UNESCO presented and proposed their ideas the villagers and convincing them to participate in the project
At first, there were not many people who wanted to participate into this project. But after the local authorities increased the pay they would receive when they participate in this project, many people jumped on this opportunity. This was how UNESCO managed to convince people to participate in the project. 
However, I think they could get more locals to willingly participate if they improved their living conditions. They currently have to built their own houses and it is troublesome for them to go to the city. 

EQ 3:  I wish to know if any of the villagers have any ideas to improve the biosphere or to improve their living conditions

They hope that the government can subsides the water prices or the government can release the rights to filtration of water. As well as increase the pay for each hector of land as the price of petrol is very expensive as well as the fee for schooling. The reasons i think why the government is not subsiding the villagers' water prices or increasing wages is because vietnam itself does not have enough water so villagers will be more frugal with the use of water. What the government should be subsiding is the children's school fees as it takes up much of the wages the villagers receive.

EQ 4:  I would like to know how villages get their daily necessity from such rural areas

The people might be staying in rural places but what they earn is barely enough to spend. I found out that they lear how to use their time very wisely when they are in the city sending their kids off to school. They then use that period of time to visit the market to buy their daily necessity. They earn around 3-4 million dongs per month and almost 70% of it is spent on the daily necessity and the kids education. They have to pay for their water supplies every single day and that will cost them 3 USD per cubic metre.

In conclusion, there definitely can be an difference in solving sustainability issues as there have been contracts made with the villagers to prevent deforestations in the area that the villager is taking care of. Flouting these contracts can result in a huge fine to suspension from living around that environment. All of these ensures that the trees will not be cut down. Also the villagers living around that area grow many crops that can contribute to the food supply in the whole of vietnam. For example a total of 1.7 to 1.8 tons of shrimp can be harvested per year and this is only per household. Multiply that by the 152 household present in the Biosphere, huge amounts of crops can be harvested. They also use environmentally friendly solar panels to have electricity. Although it solves sustainability issues, but ultimately the villagers living there may have to suffer to achieve such outcome. 

What we learnt from the forest trails in Can Gio Biosphere
  The Can Gio Biosphere is covers 1/3 of the land area of Ho Chi Min City. There are a total of 5 districts in Can Gio Biosphere and has is 71 thousand hectare. Of those 70 thousands are inhabitant. Within the year, there are 2 seasons, the rainy season and the dry season which occurs from May to October and November to April respectively. Temperature around that area range from 22 to 33 degrees Celsius. with an average of 27 degrees Celsius. 
  During the 1964 Vietnam and USA war, the effects of 4 million litres of poisonous herbicides being poured on the forest of Can Gio Biosphere causes the whole area to be destroyed with all the mangroves being killed and rendering the whole forest into a wasteland, but help was on its way. The barren land was recovered by local dedicated local people by importing mangrove seedlings from other far away provinces to Can Gio Biosphere. The whole journey took a total of 10 days and it wasn't a completely problem free journey. Insects destroyed the trees up to 50% of the trees during the 10 day journey to the Can Gio Biosphere, but they cut the weaker trees and used stronger trees to plant the mangroves. So over a span of 30 years, Can Gio Biosphere regained its mangrove surroundings again 

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