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A Landscape Urbanism Proposition SAIMUM KABIR | r0288387

Master of Human Settlement (MaHS), K.U.Leuven, Belgium


Prof. Bruno De Meulder Christian Nolf

Studio Coordinator Henri Bava Bruno De Meulder Christian Nolf

Supporting Studio team Kelly Shannon Annelies De Nijs

Master of Human Settlement ( MaHS ) Department ASRO, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Arenberg , Heverlee , Leuven Belgium August , 2013


The Paper entitled ‘ Resilient Waterscape for Ca Mau (Vietnam) . A lanscape Urbanism Proposition’ is submitted by Saimum Kabir , student ID r0288387, Academic year 2012-2013 as a suplemenatry document of (Landscape) Urbanism Studio , Spring 2013 in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Human Settlement(MaHS).


source : 4


Ca Mau, the southernmost territory of Mekong delta (Vietnam), is the host of a unique and dynamic waterscape. The urban Ca Mau is witnessing a process of modernization and urbanization previously unseen with regards to scale, speed, scope and nature. The once hydraulic society where the relation between urbanization and water was more symbiotic and adaptive in nature, is now transforming and water today is often regarded merely from a technical and engineering aspect. As an obvious consequence the entire eco-systems of the delta region are being thrown completely out of balance and the incidence and devastation of natural disasters is exponentially increasing. The present day ‘command and control’ approach to water management is often criticized for its rigid, technological bias and top down solution; aiming to enforce the control over the nature rather than living with it. The field work undertaken indicates that water informs everyday life of Ca Mau citizen in various manners and inscribes the character of the area. Unfortunately, the persisting logic of water-ecology-society-economy has not considered as a defining element for the modern vision of urban development. It is paradoxical that water is considered as a backside element; though in reality it serves the city and its inhabitants. There is need for new vision whereby interventions can work with nature, water based territories are designed for resilience that allow regions to not merely survive, but thrive through creative blending of urbanity and hydrology. The potential of Landscape Urbanism in this regard is imperative. As a supplementary document for graduation thesis studio, `the paper exemplify an alternative adaptive strategies for urban water management to cope with fluctuating environmental conditions and at the same time , maintaining more stable economic and social conditions for future urban develoment in Ca Mau , Vietnam. 5

source : 6


1.1 Vietnam –A Hydraulic Society Throughout the Asia, the relation of water to human society once held in privileged position. Vietnam being a seaborn country in Southeast Asia is not an exception. It is often termed as a country of ‘earth and water’ or dat nuoc (Shannon, 2004). People’s ardent relationship to the water and landscape are evident in the composition of Vietnamese culture and pattern of settlement (Neville, 2008). In fact Water, which is abundant in a country shaped by big rivers and deltas, provides favourable conditions for agriculture on the one hand, but is a dangerous threat on the other hand. Disastrous storms and floods cause enormous damages and have brought suffering to the Vietnamese people every year for generations. (Evers and Benedikter, 2009).Therefore, regulating waters was and still is an important issue in Vietnamese society. The importance of hydraulic management in Vietnamese society is also reflected in there culture. In many Vietnamese reports dealing with water management issues commonly the term “ quan lý thuy loi” appears , even though “thuy loi”, which is Sino-Vietnamese, means water for irrigation, but not water in general. So, traditionally, water management and irrigation management are closely linked in the perception of the Vietnamese people.


Contextual Background

Water also has provided the foundations for human settlements in Vietnam. As Shannon K. mentioned: “The waterway system, both natural and manmade, was the foundation upon which the other organizational systems were laid. The irrigation systems demanded an interdependence of canal and dyke. Subsequently, the dykes created a high, fertile base for orchards, interwoven among lowground rice paddy fields. Settlement was dispersed throughout the productive landscape so as to allow the inhabitants to live in proximity to the farmland and was intensified at the confluences of water networks.” (Shanon,2004) Gradually it becomes the center of commerce and meeting point 7

YEAR 4,000 B.C

YEAR 25,000 B.C

YEAR 2,000-1000 B.C

YEAR 1,000-0000 B.C


source : Bryhni, I. 2013; Adopted from AHO booklet


for the maritime traffics. Hence the seed for urbanization is planted whereby ‘urban and rural coexist in close proximity; commercial vitality is juxtaposed with agriculture productivity’. However, this pattern is also attributable to the annual floods that cover much of its lowlying region, and the raised banks of canals the only safe places to settle. Stilt houses, raised high on melaleuca poles, were the principal form of house, and these are still found in the western delta, where the flood waters are the highest (Taylor, 2006). Vietnamese continuing quest for modernization, has transformed themselves from agrarian to industrialized society. Since the launch of its Doi Moi (i.e., renovation) economic policy, Vietnam has made substantial progress in the overall development of the country. Living standards have risen, poverty has decreased, population has increased. The country recently reached its long-pursued goal of becoming a lower-middle income country and plans to reach industrialized status by 2020.( Lam, 2012) The present day explosive growth of Vietnamese cities is consequential of such drastic changes in policy. The current trend of modernization/ industrialization has drastically transforming its productive waterscape and spatial organization of the city. Large industrial park and export processing zones are planned throughout the territory which severely altering region’s waterways, roadways and landscape. These changes have created an atmosphere that further encourages impulsive, informal urbanization and rigid master plans-handed down from the state –seem incapable of adjusting and adapting to the evolving demands ensuant of a new, liberalized economy. Introduction of large scale farming operations and the adoption of more mechanized methods of cultivation and production, the porosity and flexibility of existing regional spatial networks (Shanon, 2004) has reduced. Patterns of dispersion are being replaced by rigid construct of rural and urban.In addition to the ill effects of domestic and industrial water pollution, dam and road construction, dredging, over fishing and destructive fishing techniques, intensive aquaculture, the region’s extensive water networks is

severely compromised by the scale , scope and speed of urbanization. As technology and money now allows, bridges are spanning Asia’s numerous rivers and the relation city to water is acquiring new meanings. At the same time, water bodies are under threat as lowlands are indiscriminately filled to support urbanization. As well illegal encroachment on waterbodies further alters ecologies and inevitably affects the severity and frequency of flooding, not to mention an increase in environmental degradation and pollution. And, the millennium old reflective, symbolic and spatial qualities of water are often sidelined for more “ pressing concerns”. At the same time, water is also on the agenda from other perspectives. The spectre of climate change is likely to put ecological and social system of the region under increased stress: predicted impacts on the delta include a rise in sea level that will compound problems of coastal erosion, worsening salinity intrusion in the river’s main arm, as well as increases in the incidence of severe floods, storms, tropical cyclones including unknown ecological changes ( Hoanh et al, 2003a; wassmann et al, 2004)

1.2 Urbanization and Waterscape in Mekong Delta A Science ancient time, a combination of natural and social forces has produced the Mekong Delta. The delta’s unique waterscape – with its dense maze of canals, extensive horizon of rice fields, village orchards and aquaculture farms- is the result of the natural forces such as rain, floods, sedimentation and tides , and of human constructions such as canals and dikes. ( Biggs , 2009)

The Holocene landscape as a foundation

The high terraces of Mekong delta is believed to have formed as early as 1 million years ago (Gupta, 2008). The natural processes of sedimentation, change of sea level, tidal 9

Ha Tien

Long Xuyen

Rach Gia

Long My

Soc Trang

Bac Lieu

Ca Mau



and current effects for approximately 8000 years created different delta landscapes in this region (Pham, 2011). According to Milton Osborne, a Southeast Asian historian, the delta was ‘a largely waterlogged world of black mud and mangrove trees, bordered by thick tropical forests where the land rose away from the flooded plain’. Throughout thousands years, the natural process of sedimentation resulted in ‘natural levees’ of the river banks and other natural heights like river dunes, sandy ridges and barrier beaches that offered dry and safe land for the first urban settlements (Meyer et al.2009). At present the geomorphology of Mekong delta can be divided into three major regions defined by hydrology and soil chemistry. Fresh water zone -the most fertile and oldest cultivated regions- stretches across the Mekong river’s two major branches Tien and Hau , this area includes most of the delta’s largest cities, including Can Tho, My Tho, Vinh Long and Long Xuyen. ‘High flooded zone’ The Long Xuyen Quadrangle and the Plain of Reeds are flat low lands which is inundated during the rainy season (June-November) and complements freshwater shortage in the dry season (December-May). The coastal zone: is occupied by the east coast of the delta and large parts of the Ca Mau peninsula. The area is subjected to year round or seasonal saltwater inundation and targeted both for construction of sea dikes and expansion of shrimp aquaculture. Two smaller geologic features in the delta include areas of peat soil (the host of a unique fresh water melaleuca forest) on the western border of Ca Mau peninsula and group of mountain that across the border of with Cambodia.

1.2.1 Urbanization: From river city to cross road city After a long history, cities in Mekong delta have always adapted with the dynamic changing environments. These adaptive processes resulted in different types of delta cities: port city, river city, canal city and cross-road city.

Ancient period- Funan Dynasty -Port City Historical evidence suggests that the first urban center that grew up in Mekong delta were clearly associated with foreign trade where city functioned primarily as a trading port. In the lower Mekong and its delta, the first urban settlement was established by the end of second century known as an empire of Funan. This ‘market city’ drew their wealth from maritime trade (Mcgee, 1967) . Oc Eo (glass canal) is one of such ancient city in southern Vietnam which is situated within a network of ancient canals that crisscross the low flatland of the Mekong Delta. While describing the morphology of such ‘maritime based market town’ , Spencer has commented upon the transient character : located on sites which were subject to silting and relying for their wealth on vagaries of maritime trade . Their location on shore lines and river banks , with only limited hinterlands, often meant there was inadequate space for city expansion and a large proportion of population lived on boats or on stilted houses built over the water . Pre-colonial period- Nguyen dynasty - River city The delta started to form its own landscape since the mid of 16th century when Nguyen Lords introduced a policy of land reclamation and breaking fresh ground to create villages (Pham, 2011). A large amount of inhabitants from the north and centre parts of Vietnam had come and reclaimed new lands. Therefore, the first type of settlement was created: villages around high ground areas along rivers (natural levees) and wa¬tercourses where the fresh water could be collected and the settlers could survive from flooding. At the same time, a system of canal and small ditches were built up for trans¬portation and irrigation purposes. This process played an important role in transforming the uncultivated area of the delta into a fertile plain for wet paddy productions. (Trang, 2013 ) French colonial period - Canal City The canalization process were introduced far later in the Mekong delta. Until the 19th century, canal systems were 11


introduced and played a key role in the development of new urban form. Silt from digging these canals created high manmade levees for set¬tlements. In these cities, waterways as rivers and canals were mainly transportation and goods exchanged routes. Moreover, they were also used for irrigation, drainage and fresh water supply purposes. Aware of the changing environment conditions, inhabit¬ants in these cities developed adaptive strategies, often called “shaking hand with floods”, that accepted rather than resist the potential catastrophic risk (Miller, 2006). These strategies resulted in a typical delta image with stilt houses, boat houses, floating markets, three sided canoes that are still visible in the current delta cities.

new lands for rice production as well as to defuse mounting social tensions by resettling many thousands of poor tenants to the new lands. Since then in many places of the delta hydraulic works such as additional canals, dykes and sluices have been set up, constructed for regulating water flows. However such schemes to manage water across vast territories of lower Mekong delta is still continuing. The process rather speeded up after the market liberalization in 1986. Huge investments in the diking of polders and water control scheme were initiated as a means of providing space for new development for the growing population and intensive agriculture with high-yielding varieties and multiple cropping.

From American war to present: Cross-road city Starting from the sixties, the system of land-based infrastructure and flood-control be¬came a national concern for economic development. Settlements and cities devel¬oped at the meeting points of motor roads and waterways that are high and dry plac¬es in times of flooding. The road replaced the water as the domain of city and played a role in the embellishment of the city (Pham, 2011).

At present the pivotal form of water control and management is the ‘Dutch dike’ strategy, which involves construction of encircling dikes for settlements, flood control and prevention of seawater intrusion to provide the favorable fresh water conditions for agriculture. (Biggs, D., 2009). To combat with sea level rise, the government/state continued their preference for engineered solution with a proposal for new plans to further extend and upgrade dikes along the eastern and western coast of the lower Mekong delta. This new development represents the latest step in a long history of state efforts to further human control over the natural flow of water between the delta and the sea.

1.2.2 Water management: From adaptive to control Traditionally, People in this area are exposed to a water-shaped environment and have lived for generations in adaptation to their natural surrounding without much human interference into the complex natural hydraulic system of the delta. However, this has changed dramatically during recent decades when hydraulic management started to become a key issue for the development of the lower Mekong Delta constantly, in particular with respect to the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the delta’s economy. The delta started to shift from human adaption to human control, mainly due to the colonial government’s policy to raise the production of rice (Biggs, D., 2009). In the 1930 the first dike and saltwater dams was constructed to clear 12

Such technical innovations in hydraulic management and agricultural production have not only had significant impact on the delta’s environment and ecology, but also have triggered social transformation. (Evers & Benedikter, 2009)


2.1 Ca Mau City : Structured by two rivers and two canals The city of Ca Mau, a thriving city of lower Mekong delta, is structured by two rivers and two canals. the Song Doc River and Ganh Hao River meets in Ca Mau (where they are named Tac Thu River and Camau River) connecting the East Sea and Gulf of Thailand. The Ca Mau- Bac Lieu Canal connect Ca Mau to Hau River through Bac Lieu. The Quan Lo- Phung Hiep canal connects Ca Mau to Ho Chi Minh City through Phung Hiep and Hao River. Like other typical Vietnamese cities, the historic market center is located at the meeting point of these water networks. The urban development is primarily concentrated in the area in between two canals: Bac Lieu and Phung Hiep and stretched out radially on the direction of these canals. The armature of the canals is marked by the linear clustering of dense settlements, warehouses and small & medium size processing industries. The rivers and canals are mainly used for regional connection for small/ medium size cargo boat to transport the products to the processing center. And roads are laid rather as a complementary system; running parallel along the water networks to provide access, forming a grid lock pattern in the ‘in-between’ area to structure the development, and bridging over where it crosses with the water.


The Case Study: Ca Mau

The peri-urban territory of CaMua is formed by linear villages lie within a diverse agri and aquaculture landscape with marked difference between north and south. The northern territory is dominated by agriculture, orchard garden, fresh water aquaculture ponds within the maze of parallel and interconnecting networks of irrigation canals. The southern territory, on the other hand, is dominated by salt water aquaculture ponds and criss-crossed by dense networks of small drainage canals. 13




Waterline 1_Song Doc River_Productive Landscape Waterline 2_Tac Thu / Ganh Hao River_City River Waterline 3_Quan Lo / Phung Hiep Canal_Service Canal Waterline 4_Bac Lieu Canal_Transit Canal Irrigation and Drainage Canal 14

The Watery landscape of Ca Mau Territory is criss-crossed by rivers and Canals .The Urban center is located at the confluence of these water networks. The most dense settlements are located along the rivers and canals. The unhabitated parts of the central area are cultivated for rice. The city structure and main road network normally companied by major river or canal networks, the functions of these major canals are transportation and irrigation. The function of smaller canals are irrigation only. Quan Lo _Phung Hiep canal constructed by colonial government in 1918 , is the only fresh water source . The canal, stretches from Phung Heip to Camau, is the longest man made canal in the Mekong territory . Vietnam’s largest energy sector project-PetroVietNam gas-power-fertilizer complex is located at the north west part of song Doc river few km away from the city center.

Waterline 3_Quan Lo / Phung Hiep Canal_Service Canal Small industries and warehouse_Section and Plan









Poultry farm ( indoor) 300


Small Industries and Warehouse: Quan Lo Phung Hiep Canal Dang Dong Canal

Poultry farm ( outdoor)

Canopy & Dock

Meat Market


Shell Storage

New Road


Dock and storage

Rice DeShelling

SME/ Warehouse



source : 16


According to approved master plan for 2025, the city has an ambition to upgrade itself from a (small size 4th class city total pop 250,000) into a 2nd Class city (projected pop 380,000) by almost doubling its size and population (According to the Vietnamese classification of 5 official standard classes of urban centers). The current tabula rasa approaches to city building is transforming the Ca Mau from water based urbanization to ex-nihilo urbanization. As a consequence the city is experiencing a number of challenges imposed by the process of modernization: shift from water to road transport, industrialisation, and transformation of agriculture to (intensive) aquaculture.

2.2 Reading of Ca Mau waterscape: The challenges Ca Mau is located at the interface between the land and water-based territories of Vietnam.. Its extreme position results in challenges related to salinity intrusion, fresh water scarcity, seasonal flooding due to the rising tide. At the same time, being the Vietnam’s biggest exporter of shrimp and prawn, Ca Mau is also facing a pressing challenge of export oriented economic growth. Most Importantly , the impact of climate change and rising sea level represents a real threat in this low lying region. The sea level rise would futhermore aggravate the issue of balance between fresh and salty water in the region .On the other anthropogenic action like intensive shrimp farming has negetive effects such as water pollution and deforestation.

2.2.1 City at the confluence of saline and fresh waterscape The fresh water territory of Ca Mau governed by the Quan Lo Phung Hiep canals and its tributaries stretched from Mekong River.

1- The MeKong River itself regulated by upstream country China by a number of Dams. The amount of water flow is largely controlled and consumed by the upstream riparian countries. When it reaches to the downstream Vietnamese territory, it is only about 16% of total water flow. Again during the wet season this is also a cause for flooding in the Mekong area due to release of excessive water through the Mekong channel. 2- It is also evident that, to feed the development and arable agricultural land a network of man- made canals was constructed where Ca Mau is situated at the farthest end from Mekong . The only fresh water source for Ca mau is Quan Lo Phung Hiep Canal constructed during French Colonial era (1918). So it is likely to be unstable supply of fresh water over time. In addition to that , inside the urban territory the canal is increasingly affected by pollution. 3- Another important source of fresh water for Ca Mau is rain. Being located in tropical climatic zone Ca Mau receives highest amount of annual rainfall during its 6 months long wet season. It is a huge resource bringing fresh water for Ca Mau. Moreover, in the next 50 years, the amount of rainfall as forecasted will be increased to 10% which unless harvested may further deteriorate the flood situation. Therefore, to meet Ca Mau’s growing needs for agriculture and civil purposes, it becomes necessary to have an own system to reserve the fresh water, as well as to regulate the seasonal variations of flows. The southern territory of Ca Mau is subjected to daily tides from both West Sea and East Sea. The tide brings salt water deep inland and creates a diverse type of waterscape for Ca mau peninsula. However, the territory is also threatened by the flood risk due to the anticipated phenomena of sea level rise. The only control between this fresh and salt waterscape 17




FRESH WATER NETWORKS : The Lifeline for Urbanization

5% 6%

2200- 2400 mm


400 350

2400- 2600 mm



250 200

>2600 mm

150 100 50 Dec













Annual rainfall pattern

FLOW OF MEKONG RIVER | The Regulated Upstream 18

Nha Be Port

Cao Lanh Port

My Tho Port

Sa Dec Port

My Thoi Port

Tra Noc Port

Hon Chong Port

Ham Luong Port

Can Tho Port

Cai Cui Port

Tac Cau Port

Dai Ngai Port

Tra Cu Port

FISHING Song Doc Port

Ganh Hao Port

Proposed Port Existing Port Existing Road Proposed Road Agri/Aquaculture Production Processing Fishing Sea line

Nam Can Port

Hon Khoai Port




West-sea Tidals




Dry season Monsoon

To Singapore






12 -



East-sea Tidals






7.79 %



Wet season Monsoon

Highland - Lowland

Erosion & Seadimentation Water Type : Fresh vs Saline

51.9 %

AQUACULTURE 296.300 ha

22.77 %

RICE 130.000 ha


Productive Land Use

Ca Mau is predominantly lowlying coastal area with a subtle variation in topography. Under the effect of monsoon and flow of Ocean, the topography of eastern boarder of Ca Mau Peninsular is formed by the dynamic pocess of Erosion and Sediment deposition . On the west a slightly higher elevation of peat land of U Minh Forests is evideint. 1. The topography map of CM Peninsular with the difference of elevation range from 0.4 – 2.8m, and, CM is located in the lowlying plain. 2. The fluid landscape of CM is subjected to Erosion and Accretion by the dynamic action of Tides, Monsoon wind and the effect of Oceanic Currents. 3.The diversifying water type of CM: the fresh water from QLPH canal and U minh forest (the white areas) . The blue one is the area of saline water and in-between is different type of brackish water. 19


is the series of sluices/ locks established at the confluence (meeting point) of these water networks. This system is proved inefficient as the salinity intrusion towards the fresh water territory is increasing day by day.

2.2.2 City at the interface between the land and water-based productive territories CaMau is also well known as a place for production where agriculture and aquaculture are two primary modes of production. The network of interweaving irrigation canals for rice production on the north and the mosaics of shrimp pond in the tidal flood plain on the south has created an amphibian territorial landscape. More precisely the region’s productive landscape can be divided into 3 eco-zones: (i) Shrimp ponds on the south: This area is highly saline almost entirely under aquaculture. (ii) The U Minh Forest at North West: The productive landscape in this area contains a mixture of Melaleuca forests (the largest fresh water mangrove), rice and, increasingly, aquaculture. (iii) Orchards and rice fields on the north: This area experiences moderate flooding and contains much of the extensive fruit production (Orchards) of the province but still dominated by paddy fields. Fresh water aquaculture is also becoming increasingly practiced in this eco-zone. Over the last few decades, a significant area of paddies has been transformed into high yielding shrimp cultivation. Moreover, shrimp ponds are taking over the place of Mangrove forest. Within 8 years (1983-1995), the Minh Hai (host the largest area of mangrove) has lost 66,253 ha of mangrove forest to shrimp ponds (Minh,, 2001). Intensive use of chemical fertilizer in the shrimp pond to multiply the production is also reducing the fertility of the soil.


2.2.3 City at the junction of maritime traffic and port economy

Ca Mau holds an important position in regional and even national economy. Due to its strategic position Ca Mau is the main location for processing of the outputs from the region’s primary economic sector. Ca Mau City has a high level of centrality in terms of its spatial connectivity (both road and water waterways) and provision of high level services. Hence, Cau Mau is a magnet for investment and residency compared to other centers. But the limited capacity of the existing canal and river system across the city has created a bottleneck for maritime traffic. Ca Mau also has the potential to be a strategic center of maritime economy of the region. Presently the three ports Nam Can, Song Doc and Ganh Hao are situated in a close proximity to the Urban center. Up gradation of Ganh Hao port to international one and good spatial connectivity between the city and ports will play an important role in Domestic and international trade for the development of Ca Mau in particular and Mekong region in general. Ca Mau is also hosting the biggest industrial projects of Vietnam -The Petro Vietnam. Never the less there are number of small and medium size processing industries scattered all around the landscape. So establishing a link among the ports and between the industries and the ports is another challenge to ensure smooth flow of economy in Ca mua.


3.1 Proposition: Landscape as a framework for resilience One of the key problems of current urbanization trends in case of Ca Mau is the topdown institutional mechanism of city planning which is seemingly oblivious to the existing geographic and social contexts of the region. Like other cities of Mekong delta the indigenous urban identity of Ca Mau is threatened by ‘ex-nihilo urbanization’, manifested in ‘domestic and international exercise in master-planning and tabula rasa approaches of city building’. In addition to that, the antagonist position towards the water, evident in conventional ‘command and control’ approach to water management, is often proved to be unsustainable both ecologically and economically. In these circumstances, Landscape urbanism can be considered a strategic opportunity to develop an alternative urbanity- where interplays of urbanization to water, topography, the productivity of landscapes and ecosystem could complement the innate attraction of settlement structures to infrastructure.


Vision and Strategies

As Shannon, K. mention, “Landscape urbanism can define operative devices to accent the basic structuring characteristics capable of guaranteeing the existing diversity and quality of the landscape and to counteract negative tendencies, while concurrently providing a sustainable means for further urbanization.” [Shannon, K.(2009)].The fundamental notion of landscape urbanism is build upon lessons from indigenous forms of urbanization and urbanism, whereby interventions work in congruence with nature. It advocates for a soft, flexible and adaptive measures as opposed to the conventional engineering control based techniques. By reuniting the engineered and natural, a new logic towards a more resilient development of waterscape can be scripted. Perhaps most importantly, landscape urbanism makes a “productive attitude towards indeterminacy, open ended21

Fresh Water Reservoir Sluice Mangrove with Tidal Basin Sea Port Existing Mangrove Forest Proposed Mangrove Reserve



ness , intermixing and cross- disciplinarity.” (Corner, 2003). As Elisabeth Mossop suggest in his recent claims for ‘affordable landscape’ ( Mossop, 2005), all disciplines involved in the development of urban territories need to shift their focus towards integrated, landscape based solutions to the seemingly independent challenges of water and infrastructure provision, environmental and social improvement and the creation of site-specific identities. Rather than trying to eliminate ecological processes and invests huge sum of money to replace them within controlled technical systems, we need an ‘intellectual leap by comprehensively applying the understanding of ecological processes and natural systems of human settlement and planning’ ( Mossop, 2006) Based on the notion of Landscape Urbanism, the aim of the design exercise is to examine how the (macro) territorial strategies for waterscape will inform the development of the city with a clear connection between the underlying structures of hydrology, topography and soils as the major structuring foundation. To do that a “soft and flexible” approach to engineering and urban water management is advocated as a way to work with the forces of nature, in order to achieve a more resilient development of infrastructural landscape, which in turn could become a base of sustainable urban and regional form for Ca Mau.

3.2 Vision and LU Design strategies for Ca Mau Vision : Cultivating waterscape

Understanding the importance of continuous and balanced flow of fresh water, the threats and opportunities from sea water and the necessity of interconnections between the economic infrastructures , a holistic but site specific strategies are adopted. In general, the idea of Cultivating Waterscape is to nurture the Water in order to reclaim and to requalify the existing productive landscape features, and also bringing together the ecological and economic interconnectivity

to adapt with the present and future challenges. The concept of ‘Cultivation’ can be further expanded into three processes encrypted in the term itself:

LU Strategy 1: Harvesting of fresh water > collecting, storing /reserving and redistributing fresh water to achieve a water balance.

Water Reservoir on the North: For fresh water, the challenge is to achieve the balance between demand and supply. It is evident that, during dry season the gap between demand and supply is critical where as it is just opposite during wet season. To tackle the persisting imbalance of “too much” water in the monsoon and “too little” in the summer, the strategy is to harvest the fresh water by a system of water reservoirs along the Quan Lo Phung Hiep Canal. This system relies on multiple reservoirs across different scales: large for agriculture, medium for city provision and small for communities. Along with a stable system of sluices, the new system ensures a controlled fresh water distribution within its catchments area and reclaims existing landscape features, such as depressed land, disconnected river branches and underused space inside housing blocks.

LU strategy 2: Transplanting and Planting of mangrove > to control flood and sedimentation process and to filter the nitrogen waste generated from the shrimp farming.

Productive and protective Mangrove shield on the South: In south, along with the flood risk from sea water, the human activities such as continuous deforestation and extensive salty water shrimp culture is weakening its natural protection and productivity of soil. As a strategy, a series of transversal mangroves strips are planted and transplanted across the tidal flood plain fol23



POROCITY: Decongesting the City

ECONOMIC PLATFORM: Green+ blue development


N 0














lowing the tidal creeks. While improving the productive aquaculture (filter the nitrogen waste generated from the shrimp ponds), the new mangrove structure slows down the tidal flows, lessens the flooding impacts, captures and fixes sediments and gradually forming a natural shield for the city.

LU Strategy 3: Cutting & filling > Digging and Dredging

of new and existing water channels to establish better transportation networks / connectivity and raised the land with the dredged soil to create platform for the development. East- west economic corridors: And lastly, the growing industries and continuous process of urbanization of ca mau has a tendency to take over the place of productive land. Considering agro + aquaculture as a heart of economy, as a strategy, Ca mau is conceived as a place of production and processing. Upgrading existing Ganh Hao port and establishing a new east-west economic corridor to the south will boost water transport between existing and new port terminals and create a new engine for regional development. This new economic corridor following the last layer of mangrove transversal filters is structured by ‘new hybrid clusters of processing industries and autonomous residential developments’. All these strategies for water can reinterpret the lanscape features and simultaneously inform the development across three diffrent scales : the territorial / peninsula scale , City scale and urban tissue/ community scale . Hence, the ecologically biased , culturally rooted, adaptive approch to watermangement could become a base for resilient urban and regional development for Ca Mau.

References : BIGGS, D., MILLER, F., HOANH, C. T., MOLLE, F. (2009) ‘The Delta Machine: Water Management in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’, in François Molle, Tira Foran, Mira Kakonen (eds.) Contested Waterscapes in the Mekong Region. Hydropower, Livelihoods and Governance, London: Earthscan, pp. 203-225. CORNER, James (2003) ‘Landscape Urbanism,’ in Moshen Mostafavi and Ciro Najle (eds.) ,Landscape Urbanism A Manual for the Machinic Landscape; London: AA Books, pp. 58-63 EVERS, H.D. and BENEDIKTER, S. (2009) ‘Strategic Group Formation in the Mekong Delta - The Development of a Modern Hydraulic Society’,Water Alternatives 2(3), pp.416-439 LAM, D. ( 2012) Vietnam’s Sustainable Development Policies: Vision vs. Implementation, Chapter in “Handbook of Sustainable Management”, World Scientific, Singapore . MCGEE, Terry (1967) ‘The Indigenous Cities of Southeast Asia: The Phase of Primary Urbanization’, in The Southeast Asian city: a social geography of the primate cities of Southeast Asia, London: Bell, pp. 29-41. MINH,T.H., YAKUPITIYAGE, A. and MACINTOSH, D.J. (2001) ‘Management of the Integrated Mangrove-Aquaculture Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam’, ITCZM Monograph No. 1, 24 pp. MOSSOP,E (2005) ‘ Affordable Landscapes’ Topos, 50, pp. 13-23 NEVILLE, M. . (2008), ‘ Modernity in Mekong’, Water Urbanism, Sun publication, Amsterdam , pp.69-75 PHAM, D. (2011) Urbanized Mekong delta: A dialogue between water and land, s.l.: s.n SHANNON, Kelly (2004) ‘Vietnam’ in Rhetorics & Realities. Addressing Landscape Urbanism, Three Cities in Vietnam (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation), pp. 49-95. SHANNON, Kelly (2009) ‘Can Landscape Save Asian Urbanism?’ in LA China (Landscape Architecture China), 07, No. 5, pp. 31-38 (Chinese); pp. 39-45 (English). SHANNON, Kelly (2013) Eco-engineering for water: From Soft to Hard and Back in Resilience ecology and Urban design: Synergies for theory and practice in the urban century , S.T.A. Pickett, M.L. Cadenasso, B.P McGrath (eds) Rotterdam : Springer. TAYLOR, Philip (2006),’Rivers into Roads: The terrestrialisation of a South-east Asian River Delta’, in Marnie Leybourne and Andrea Gaynor (ed.), Water: Histories, cultures, ecologies, Crawley WA: University of Western Australia Press, pp. 38-52. TRANG, L. T. (2013) ‘Flood Adaptive city, Towards Climate Change Adaptation and Urban Development in Mekong Delta’, Unpublished Master thesis , TU DELFT, Netherlands.



Profile for Kabir Saimum

Resilient Waterscape for Ca Mau (Vietnam): A Landscape Urbanism Proposition  

The Paper entitled ‘ Resilient Waterscape for Ca Mau (Vietnam) . A lanscape Urbanism Proposition’ is submitted by Saimum Kabir , student ID...

Resilient Waterscape for Ca Mau (Vietnam): A Landscape Urbanism Proposition  

The Paper entitled ‘ Resilient Waterscape for Ca Mau (Vietnam) . A lanscape Urbanism Proposition’ is submitted by Saimum Kabir , student ID...