The current government offices will be relocated from the historic core of the city as a result of a recent plan to build new government buildings in new metropolitan areas of Hanoi by 2030. The move is expected to ease urban congestion by reducing population density.
In 2008, the Government issued a decision to relocate the headquarters of ministries, branches, and central agencies from downtown Hanoi. Another decision was issued in 2015, outlining measures for land use after relocation. Over the past decade, however, progress on these efforts has been sluggish.
According to the Ministry of Construction, the main reason for the delay is the lack of an allocated budget for relocation and construction. In addition, there have been no plans to mobilize resources for construction, including mechanisms, policies, post-resettlement land use, and coordination with relevant agencies.
In addition, the implementation of relocation projects by ministries, branches, and local authorities has been inadequate, as they have not complied with the Prime Minister's directives regarding the development of lists, criteria, roadmaps, and measures for relocating these units from the inner city areas.
According to an assessment by the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment, the historic city center, which covers five districts including Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hoan Kiem, Hai Ba Trung and part of Tay Ho, currently houses 28 ministries and central government agencies.
Of these, the relocation plans of 11 agencies have been approved by relevant authorities, including the Ministries of Construction, Planning and Investment, and Information and Communications.
To date, nine ministries, branches and central agencies have moved into new buildings. However, only the Ministry of the Interior has handed over its old premises in the city center to the relevant agencies. Meanwhile, the rest of the government agencies have yet to hand them over to Hanoi.
Luu Quang Huy, director of the Hanoi Urban Planning Institute, emphasized that one of the main goals of the six urban planning projects for historic areas, approved by the Hanoi People's Committee in March 2021, is to reduce the population of this area by about 215,000 people by 2030.
Relocating industrial facilities, central government headquarters, educational institutions, and medical facilities is a key strategy to move people away from the central area. In addition, such relocations will free up about 176 hectares of land to facilitate the construction of much-needed public infrastructure and green spaces.
In addition to the goal of decongesting downtown, the Ministry of Construction points out that the current offices of ministries and central agencies are scattered throughout Hanoi. Many buildings have undergone multiple renovations, reconstructions, or upgrades without ensuring uniformity and meeting requirements.
Most existing facilities have been repurposed, resulting in cramped workspaces and inadequate basic infrastructure. Therefore, a planned, centralized, and methodically executed relocation is considered necessary and imperative.
Comprehensive planning required
In late April 2023, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha issued Decision 423/QD-TTg approving the planning project to build a working office system for ministries, ministerial-level agencies, and government-affiliated agencies in Hanoi by 2030.
This planning project consists of two detailed 1:500 scale plans covering the western part of the Ho Tay District and Me Tri area. Accordingly, 18 ministries, four ministerial-level agencies, eight government agencies, and six central agencies of mass organizations will be relocated to new metropolitan areas.
The Ho Tay District's western part covers 35 hectares, of which 20.7 hectares are in Xuan La Ward (Tay Ho District), and 14.3 hectares in Xuan Tao Ward (Bac Tu Liem District).
This area will house various ministries and branches as well as public facilities. The implementation roadmap includes the preparation of infrastructure and investment from 2023 to 2025, which will be updated in the medium-term public investment capital plan for 2021-2025. From 2026 to 2030, the new headquarters for urgent relocations will be built, while from 2031 to 2035, the remaining ministries, branches, and public works will inaugurate their new headquarters.
The Me Tri area, located in Nam Tu Liem District, covers an area of 55 hectares, with 43.6 hectares in Me Tri Ward and 11.4 hectares in Trung Van Ward. According to the plan, from 2023 to 2025, preparations will be made for the construction of the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the completion of the headquarters of the Vietnam Social Security.
Between 2026 and 2030, investments will be allocated for the construction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development headquarters, as well as infrastructure preparations for other agencies requiring relocation. Beyond 2030, infrastructure development will continue to accommodate agencies in need of relocation.
Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Urban Planning and Development Association, emphasized that planning ministries and branches in the Tay Ho Tay and Me Tri areas have successfully identified a strategic location with excellent transport connectivity, especially for foreign affairs.
"This aligns with the 2011 Capital Construction General Plan and the proposed adjustments to the Capital Construction Master Plan and Capital Planning for 2021-2030, in line with the vision to 2050," Nghiem said.
"The planning aims not only to build office complexes for ministries and agencies that comply with regulations and architectural standards but also to create iconic areas and architectural highlights in Hanoi's urban landscape."
He said It also aims to improve the operational efficiency of the administrative apparatus, meet the demands of socio-economic development, and contribute to the gradual streamlining of the administrative system by promoting modern and integrated e-government.
However, the expert stressed that to effectively achieve the goal of decongesting downtown Hanoi, it is crucial to synchronize the planning and construction of supporting infrastructure such as industrial parks, service facilities, commercial areas, and housing.
These measures will create favorable conditions to attract officials, civil servants, and employees to work and live outside the high-density areas, thus reducing traffic pressure and improving overall urban development, Nghiem said.