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About the project

The Vietnamese capital’s traditional food system, which relies on street markets as its main distribution outlet, will be undergoing major changes in the next years as the local government plans to modernize its commercial infrastructure. This would involve a transition towards a centralized food distribution, with supermarkets and convenience stores taking an increasingly important share of the market. Such changes bring about worries concerning a potential decline in food access for residents. In collaboration with HealthBridge, a Canadian NGO that has been doing advocacy work on this issue in Hanoi for the past 6 years, this project’s objective was to understand how street market customers could potentially be impacted by such changes.

To answer this question, we conducted surveys with street market goers and completed a first mapping of the fresh food retail environment within the core districts of Hanoi. Even though they were aware of the disadvantages and advantages of several types of food retail, many participants still believed street markets are the best option for food shopping. It seems that the proximity of street markets to their homes is the main reason for preferring them. Our spatial analysis showed that street markets are major contributors to food access within reasonable walking distance and that their closure, without any other mitigation measures, would increase the distance to the closest fresh food retail by more than 50%.

This project aimed to provide an example of only one of the studies that should have been carried before Hanoi’s government started implementing changes to the food distribution system. Therefore, we proposed measures for integrating a sustainable planning approach to food systems within Hanoi’s current administration as well as recommendations on which street markets to protect and how to best adapt and benefit from them.

Study sites

LINH LANG MARKET
Ba Đình District

 

YÊN THÁI MARKET
Hoàn Kiếm District

VĂN CHƯƠNG MARKET
Đống Đa District

 

QUỲNH MAI MARKET
Hai Bà Trưng District

Findings

 

PROJECT REPORT
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Click on the image above to download the full project report. It includes details concerning the methodology used, figures and maps showing results obtained from the pilot study, as well as recommendations based on the findings.

Originally published in January 2017,
revised in June 2017
54 pages

 

 

INTERACTIVE MAP
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A first portrait of the fresh food retail environment in central Hanoi was created through this project. The interactive version of this map can be accessed by clicking the image above. Freely editable, it is designed to serve as a tool for collaborative mapping and maintenance of the spatial dataset produced as part of this project.

Collaborators

 

CLAUDIA ATOMEI
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Project leader
Masters of Urban Planning student
University of Montreal

 

DANIELLE LABBÉ
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Academic supervisor

Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Urbanization in The Global South
Professor at the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture
University of Montreal

TRAN THI KIEU THANH HA
______
Research supervisor
Project Manager
Livable Cities Program
HealthBridge

DINH DANG HAI
______
Research supervisor
Senior Project Officer
Livable Cities Program
HealthBridge

LINH HOÀNG CHI
______
Translator and research assistant
Urban Studies student
Bryn Mawr College

HOÀNG DƯƠNG
______
Translator and research assistant
Architecture student
National University of Civil Engineering

NGÔ VĂN BÁCH
______
Translator and research assistant

Architecture student
National University of Civil Engineering

Image gallery

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Street markets in movement

Timelapse showing the flow of customers buying fresh food from a street market vendor, in a Hoàn Kiếm district alley, over the period of 7 minutes.

Experiencing the Yên Thái Market from the perspective of a pedestrian.

Informal vending taking place on the front steps or in the entrances of buildings in the Yên Thái alley, in the Hoàn Kiếm district.

Timelapse showing the flow of customers passing through a street market, in a Ba Đình district alley, over the period of 3 minutes.

Experiencing the Hữu Tiệp Market from the perspective of a pedestrian.

Informal vending taking place in the alley next to Hữu Tiệp Lake, in the Ba Đình district.