GrEEEning Hue: A Path to Sustainable Urban Development

Parks and historical sites in Viet Nam are major tourist draw cards but need careful management and protection. Photo credit: ADB.
Parks and historical sites in Viet Nam are major tourist draw cards but need careful management and protection. Photo credit: ADB.

Hue City in Viet Nam rolled out an action plan for urban development that targets environmental protection, improved livability, and new economic opportunities.


Making cities environmentally sustainable, livable, and economically viable is one of the great challenges of our times.

Hue City in Viet Nam aspires to become a world-class tourist destination and to increase tourist numbers from current levels of over 2 million a year, with the bulk of visitors drawn to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Citadel and Imperial City sites.

These sites need significant rehabilitation and improved linkages to maximize their potential, while the city itself suffers from poor water quality, air pollution, and flooding during rainy months. The urban sewerage network covers only about 30% of the population, while Hue City also lacks a safe hazardous waste disposal site, and needs to expand its limited water treatment plants.

The city authorities believe tourism can drive the development of services such as lodging; food and beverage; culture and entertainment; and handicrafts; and in combination with health care and education can grow and strengthen the services sector overall. Services, not manufacturing, is seen as the economic base of the future Thua Thien Hue city.

In response to these challenges, Hue City has adopted a new GrEEEn cities approach to urban planning and development that brings together measures to protect and sustain the environment, ensure the livability of the city, and to generate new economic opportunities.

An action plan based on the GrEEEn cities three “Es” formula (environment, economy and equity) has now been drawn up with technical assistance support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It lays out step-by-step measures to achieve Hue’s sustainable urban development goals.

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Meet the experts

  • Sonia Chand Sandhu    
    Senior Advisor to the Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank

    Sonia Chand Sandhu, an environmental engineer and climate resilience and sustainability specialist, has 23 years of international development experience in environmental sustainability, resilience, and integrated institutional solutions for management of multisector infrastructure operations at ADB, the World Bank (South Asia and Africa), and in the private sector. At ADB, she led the GrEEEn Cities Initiative for secondary cities in Southeast Asia for balanced urban transformation and developed innovative knowledge solutions for climate resilience in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

  • Ramola Naik Singru    
    Urban Development Specialist, Urban Development and Water Division, Central and West Asia Department, Asian Development Bank

    Ramola Naik Singru supports ADB's urban sector development with a focus on integrated development for Livable Cities. She co-led the preparation of the framework for National Urban Assessments and the Inclusive Cities toolkit under ADB's Urban Operational Plan 2012-2020, and co-led ADB's GrEEEn Cities Initiative in Southeast Asia to develop GrEEEn City Action Plans. Ms. Singru is interested in engaging with people to take ownership for shaping their cities, and exploring the interface between urban development, urban-rural linkages, and regional integration.

   Viet Nam, Environment, Urban development
   Last updated: October 2016



The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asian Development Bank, its management, its Board of Directors, or its members.

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