A Socialist Growth Machine? The Role of Political-entrepreneurial Partnerships in the Making of Bình Dương’s New Towns, southern Vietnam

Tran Khac Minh, Organisation et la Diffusion de l'Information Géographique (PRODIG), Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


City Making in Vietnam: Experiencing, Negotiating and Contesting Plans and Policies for ‘Modern’ Cities in a Socialist State


Since 1986, the liberalization of the Vietnamese economy has resulted in the restructuring of the public sector including the creation of numerous state-owned enterprises in which the state retains significant control through majority or significant minority ownership. New forms of these state-owned enterprises continue to be piloted, especially in the country’s provinces considered to have potential for greater industrialisation and urbanization. In this paper, I focus on Bình Dương province, located in southeast Vietnam, now emerging as a rival to Ho Chi Minh City with regards to local and overseas investment, due to its large industrial base and proliferation of new towns during the last 15 years. My aim is to decipher the role of Becamex, a large state-owned enterprise, in shaping Bình Dương province’s new town development policy. Becamex has been actively participating in redefining the economic and territorial configuration of Bình Dương province through the creation of multiple urban and industrial megaprojects. I scrutinize the particularities of Binh Duong’s new towns, notably their spatial and functional organization involving a complexity of real estate projects, and industrial and hi-tech parks. I also examine the emergence of new trans-provincial development corridors and Bình Dương’s competitive position compared to Ho Chi Minh City’s metropolitan region, in relation to the Province’s new town policy. Focusing on the roles of state-owned enterprises in Vietnam’s urban design and growth uncovers the complexity of territorial development and regional construction in Vietnam, while also starting to reveal the adaptability and reinvention of the national public sector.

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