Thu Thiem to be HCMC’s new central area

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Ho Chi Minh City will build the country's largest public square at the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, a rapidly gentrifying area in its southeast, for cultural activities and tourism. Photo by Dinh Son
Ho Chi Minh City’s central administrative area will be expanded east to Thu Thiem, according to a master zoning plan just issued by the municipal government.
The city’s current central administrative area comprises of districts 1, 3 and parts of districts 4 and Binh Thanh, with a total area of 930 hectares (2,300 acres).
Under the master plan, the city will add the 737-hectare Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2 to its central area.
The plan also envisages four auxiliary centers for the city, towards the east (District 9’s Long Truong Ward, which borders the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Highway), the south (South Saigon New Urban Area), the north (West-North New Urban Area) and the west (the area which borders National Highway 1 in Binh Chanh District’s Tan Kien Commune).
Under the plan, the municipal government said conservation areas in the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve in Can Gio District and protected forests in Binh Chanh and Cu Chi districts must be left untouched.
The plan estimates that HCMC will have around 10 million people by 2025, of whom 9.5 million will live in urban areas and the rest in rural areas. The estimation excludes around 2.5 million nonresidents.
The population in suburban areas will be around 2.6-3 million, with the rest living inside the city’s more urban areas.
The plan divides the city into five regions: an urban development region, an industrial development region, an ecological and tourism development region, an agricultural region and a nature conservation region.
As for transport, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the city’s plans to build the Thu Thiem Tunnel 2, which will run underneath the Saigon River, 14 new bridges over the Saigon River, Binh Khanh Bridge over the Nha Be River and Phuoc Khanh Bridge over the Long Tau River.
In 2011, the first underwater tunnel (the Thu Thiem Tunnel), which runs underneath the Saigon River, in HCMC opened to traffic. The Thu Thiem Tunnel connects the existing urban center of the city with Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2.

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