A Study of Informally Developed Housing and its Role in the Political Arena of a Post-Reform Communist City

Authored by: Stephanie Geertman , Boram Kim

The Routledge Handbook on Informal Urbanization

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138183889
eBook ISBN: 9781315645544
Adobe ISBN:


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Drawing on the informally developed housing sector in Hanoi, this chapter explores what it means to secure space in a post-reform communist city that has recently integrated with the global economy. The study sheds light on the means by which citizens have secured living space with relatively few constraints by the party-state. Building on discourses that highlight how political engagement works through multiple levels, as a continuity between various spheres of life, this chapter shows how ordinary citizens employ non-confrontational tactics in order to achieve their right to the city, and have succeeded in changing government legislation and practices, ultimately leading to normalization of informal housing in Hanoi. The chapter concludes by situating how the Hanoi case contributes to the understanding of emerging forms of political engagements in our global urban world.

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