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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DAY 04 - Casandra, Carisa, Jaime, PeiShan

Visit to Mr Long's Place

Ferry Ride- Home of a Family

Ferry Ride - Local boat, which was home to some

Can Gio Biosphere- Plants living the desert-environment

Can Gio Biosphere- Before Planting of the Seedlings

What we have learnt about Can Gio Biosphere?
The forest occupies up to 1/3 of Ho Chi Minh, 34 000Ha, and is located at the south. The forests experiences two seasons, the dry season from December to April, and the rainy season form May to October every year. The area has an average temperature of 27 degrees celsius, highest temperature of 33 degree celsius and lowest temperature of 22 degree celsius.

The mangrove forest was used as a military base during the Vietnam war. During the war, the Americans polluted the river along the forest with more than 4 million litres of herbicides to get rid of the Vietnam soldiers there. The forest was destroyed by the war.

After the Vietnam war, the government decided to recover the destroyed forest and to conserve it. In order to recover the forest, the local people had to buy mangrove trees from other provinces. Many of the local people participated and contributed in the recovery of the forest. It took them more than 10 days to transport the mangrove that they bought from the other provinces by boat. Even though they were able to get mangrove from other provinces, they lost half of the mangrove forests that they bought, due to the pests which infested those trees. When the trees grew, the people removed the small and weak trees to prevent overcrowding, for the benefit of the bigger and stronger ones.

After 1997, the government banned trespassers from damaging the forest. People were not allowed to affect the natural growth of the forest. The government then decided to split the forest into 24 parts for easy maintenance. Some parts of the forest were out of bounds, some were used for scientific research and residential purposes. Many household and agencies volunteered to take care of a plot of land of the forest. Local authorities subsidize a sum of money for the household to maintain a certain plot of land of the forest. Household who are maintaining the forest are suppose to protect the forest. They cannot allow trespassers to damage the forest by chopping down the trees. The household will be fined if they were to allow trespassers to chop the trees. If the household allow that to happen more than 2 times, the local authorities will consider to dismiss them.

What are the living conditions and lifestyle of Mr Long, who maintains a plot of the mangrove forest?
The household who maintain the forest live a simple lifestyle. Mr Long built a simple house for his family 10 years ago, out of wood. He uses wood to make the simple furniture in the house. In addition, Mr Long has the television as an entertainment and window to the outside world. We have observed that most of the furniture in his home is old and some are not in proper working order. In order to have clothes or have items of cloth material, Mr Long has a manual-sewing machine for them to make daily necessities such as clothes. In order to save money on water, we observed that the women in the house wash their dishes in a basin of water. This method enables them to reuse the water.

We also observed that some parts of Mr Long’s was an added to the house after the house was actually built. We infer that these add-ons are to improve the house, in terms of strengthening its structure, ensure security and beautifying the place. These improvements are such as the approximately two feet tall gate at the entrance of the house to keep their children inside the house for their safety. These add-ons are mostly recycled from another product.

Mr Long’s income is not very high. Fortunately, as his income is only sufficient to support his family and only have some savings, they do not have to pay taxes. Mr Long makes a living out of his shrimp farm and by taking care of a plot of mangrove forest. He will collect his harvest of shrimps and sell them to the markets in the city. On the other hand, the local authorities pay him for taking care of the plot of land and subsidies the family with electricity by providing solar panels. The local authorities also promise to build them a better home in future. Mr Long has the telephone and mobile phone, but cannot afford to use them on a regular basis due to his low income. He only uses them in emergencies to communicate the city.

On a daily basis, Mr Long has to sent his children to the city to attend school and for business. He stays far away from the city and hence, have to spent 1,000 dong on petrol to travel from home to the city.

What have we learnt?
From our visit to Can Gio Biosphere, we are glad that Vietnam is contributing to keeping the Earth green and clean by putting in effort, time and money to recover and conserve the mangrove forest which they lost during the Vietnam war. This trip taught us that recovering a forest is difficult. It was not easy to plant the seedling of the mangrove trees.
We have also learnt that we have to appreciate the fortunate blessings that we receive in our lives, because there are children like us out there who are not as fortunate as we are.

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