Enhancing Access of the Urban Poor and Vulnerable Groups in Vietnam to Basic Infrastructure and Housing



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type


The aim of this activity is to assist GoV establish a mechanism that gives the urban poor better access to housing, and to have this reflected in the national and local housing policies. New policy options will be studied, such as to include urban upgrading as an option for improving the lives of low income citizens and to assess the feasibility of establishing a housing finance mechanism that would be accessible to low income households. The project will also contribute to filling the gap in understanding the particular situations of urban poverty in Vietnam (drawing on the Vietnam Development Report 2000, Attacking Poverty, and its three-fold strategy), and therefore will become valuable input to the country’s future development strategies.
The objective is to articulate a mechanism that enables the urban poor to improve their access to housing, and reflecting such understandings in the national and local housing policies. This will contribute directly to the goal of the Cities Alliance of encouraging countries to make urban upgrading a key part of their strategy to provide affordable and secure shelter for the poor. Specific objectives target the following outputs: 1) A draft housing policy that incorporates a) urban upgrading and a strategy for implementing it throughout the country b) means to make housing finance accessible and affordable to households earning less than the average urban household income;  2) An implementation strategy, identifying priorities amongst and within cities, and a 5 to 10 year national investment and capacity building program, incorporating existing commitments;  3)  A housing finance strategy that will enable internal finance to be mobilized and that can be used to solicit technical assistance from official development agencies;   4) An urban upgrading Action Plan for a selected city;   5) Enhanced coordination between national and local governments and overseas development agencies active in urban development.
Assessment of constraints faced by the urban poor in housing and infrastructure: 1) To identify, from the perspectives of the poor, policy barriers to effective housing and infrastructure provision, e.g. registration status, title to land, lack of financing, etc., and to identify and prioritize the different needs for improvement. Review of recent and on-going urban upgrading programs:  1) To evaluate past and current upgrading interventions, and other national and local initiatives targeting the urban poor. These programs will be compared with similar initiatives undertaken outside Vietnam. Comparative analysis of the approaches and impact of these programs will serve as a valuable guide to future initiatives for the urban poor. Assessment of national housing policy and how it serves the poor: To analyze of the trends and shifts in housing delivery policy and practice in Vietnam, with a focus on current support for low-income communities. The analysis will identify the role that urban upgrading can play in improving the lives of low-income families. This will cover property rights, housing finance and risk management, and real estate market regulation. Development of a national strategy on scaling up upgrading and better housing for the poor: To formulate a national urban housing policy statement, addressing the support systems for low income households and the integral roles that urban upgrading can play in national poverty reduction. This will be supported by an implementation strategy, identifying priorities, national investment and capacity-building programs. Development of a detailed action plan for a selected city: To assist one city in the formulation of a detailed action plan as a demonstration of an integrated approach to city-wide housing for all social and income groups and specifically the interdependent roles of urban upgrading and the enabling process for affordable low-income housing. Capacity building:  1) To facilitate demand-focussed planning and to work with communities in a more participatory manner. Activities will include national workshops, training sessions, and selected study tours of upgrading programs.
Expected Impacts and Results
(a) Increased awareness amongst political decision makers and urban professionals of the role that urban upgrading can play in helping alleviate poverty, leading to faster preparation and subsequent implementation of currently planned projects for which UNDP, the Belgian and Swiss Governments, NGOs and the World Bank have already committed support;  (b) Concrete plans to establish a housing finance mechanism to provide long term finance to lower income families. This work will form a key part of preparation of the World Bank supported Urban Upgrading Project.