Ngo, Kien (2020) A study of the self‐built housing in Hanoi city, Vietnam after the economic reform in 1986. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research project explores the self­‐built housing in Hanoi city in Vietnam after the economic reform in 1986. Existing studies suggests that end users’ needs played significant roles in producing more affordable and sustainable housing, particularly in developing countries. However, although the importance of connection between family needs and housing design has been recognised in academic research, housing projects in Vietnam developed as mass production were generally based on housing policies, urban planning regulations and market system relating to “supply” and “demand”. On the other hand, due to the historical, political and economic reasons, more than 80% of contemporary housing production in Vietnam was considered as self-­built houses, according to the data published by UN Habitant in 2014. The main aim of this study, therefore, is to provide an in-­depth analysis of self‐built urban housing in Hanoi city that were designed and constructed with close involvement of the house owners after 1986. The intention of the study is to investigate how individuals make decisions and work innovatively to design and construct their own houses within the context of a contemporary globalised city in Vietnam.

Specifically, the study aimed to understand how people build and use their house to meet their individual needs within three different urban areas in the context of the Hanoi city. There three areas are newly developed urban area, work-­unit area and urban village areas. Eighteen cases of self-­built housing in three different urban areas were investigated, together with face-­to-­face interviews with households were carried out in order to find out peoples’ individual choices regarding their living conditions. This research project explored the built environment of Hanoi cities including historical development of the urban areas, housing policies and self-built housing design before and after the economic reform in 1986. The study highlighted the role of households in decision-­‐making process and analysed how households made decisions regarding their daily needs, ritual activities, living styles and beliefs.

The outcome of this research support for the argument that socio-­cultural values are crucial factors in housing process. In the context of different kinds of urban typologies in Hanoi city, individuals made decisions on the design and build of their own houses not only based on building traditions but also incorporated new materials and contemporary techniques and facilities. Traditional principles regarding hierarchical relationships of spaces, such as ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’, ‘safe’ and dangerous’ spaces, have been followed. Orientations of the houses have been decided by their locations in relation to the streets. On the other hand, new design concepts such as ‘private’ and ‘communal’ spaces also had impact on the housing design. The case studies in all three urban areas in Hanoi have demonstrated similar characteristics in terms of the spatial arrangements despite of the differences on sizes and number of rooms.

Finally, the study argues that governmental support and planning guidance are crucial to provide infrastructure to the local communities and also play significant roles in enhancing the quality of living conditions in all three urban areas in Hanoi city.

FINAL THESIS - Ngo.pdf - Accepted Version
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