High-rise investors overwhelm Hanoi's alleys

High-rise buildings and apartments are crowding small alleyways and residential areas, investors ignoring the huge pressure they are putting on already weak infrastructure.

Apartments block in alleyways.

Investors are targeting alleyways because they have an established neighbourhood of shops, restaurants, greenery, schools, and are on convenient routes for access to the city.

There are fewer legal problems, plots of land can easily be put together, and construction can be completed quickly, and buyers want to live near the city centre.

However, the alleyways lack the infrastructure to accommodate any dramatic increase in population.

Residents on Nguyen Trai Street complain that alleyway 583, which leads to Nang Huong Apartment Block, is now often jammed with traffic. Residents of Xa Dan Street said the traffic flow in their alleyway is rising and they get little relief from road noise.

Hong Kong Tower has advertised a 250-apartment development on Voi Phuc Street that connects with many other key routes. But prospective residents will have to go into an alleyway in order to reach the tower. Similarly, entrances to Apartment Block 170 on De La Thanh Street and Nang Huong Apartment Block on Nguyen Trai Street are located deep in alleyways.

A woman, named Hanh, said that when she tried to visit her friend, though she could see the building from far away, "it's really hard to find the entrance."

Increasing population puts pressure on infrastructure.

Hai, a resident of Thanh Xuan District, said locals are most worried about the danger of fire, made worse by a recent property development, because there are few avenues for escape. "The alleyway is small and there are a lot of people," he said.

Narrow alleys are already a challenge for firefighters unable to get access with heavy equipment. Authorities recently approved the acquisition of a number of helicopters for the city's fire brigades to tackle hard to reach fires.

High-rise developments also put a huge strain on local power and water supplies, struggling sewage systems and storm-water drainage, creating more hazards for neighbouring residents.


High-rise investors overwhelm Hanoi's alleys