October 19, 2018

Hanoi is a unique city with a long cultural history. As being influenced by the global development trend, Hanoi is now expanding and developing quite rapidly, which leads to a conflict regarding the preservation of the “old” and “new” culture. One major problem is the activities, which are happening on the pavements.

Being considered as a “frontage” city, many activities of citizens happen on the pavements, which later result in “comic” stories such as the stories about abrogating street vendors, forbidding tricycle, unexpected municipal waste dump or lack of parking space and appropriation of pavements for businesses…. Those are unending stories that Hanoians are now witnessing.

So should street vendors be referred to as cultural beauties or the opposite, should we keep the vendors or abrogate them? How can we restore the pavements to its original functions?

The purpose of the small office event: “Pavement stories: culture or null-ture”, the second event of the series “My city”, is to serve as a sphere for discussion about conflicts in life style and culture of the city regarding the “pavements”. The event took place at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Hanoi’s office on 6th July 2013, with the participation of around 50 young people.

The event invited Mr. Pham Xuan Nguyen – Chairman of Hanoi Literature Association, to come and discuss with participants about the mentioned issues. As an expert in the field of culture and Hanoi’s history, Mr. Pham Xuan Nguyen shared with the participants his concern about the issues that Hanoi is now facing such as the issue of vendors and appropriation of pavements for private businesses. He emphasized that the word “culture” seems to be misused in many cases when we deem an action/activity to be “culture”.

The Sign-in band also participated in the event as invited guests. They contributed several songs about Hanoi and also took part in the talk as they shared their experience when being a street band.

At the end, Mr. Ngo Duc Hung – a staff member of TechniVN company, owner of Aloxeom project, shared with all the participants about his company’s project, where motor-bike taxis will be organized in the form of a taxi company. This is a newly implemented project, with the objective of helping solve the traffic issue of Hanoi.

After the event, many participants expressed their excitement of acting for the city, starting from small things.

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