Bert Aldridge from FISCHE° recently returned from a NextPlays workshop in Hanoi. Organized and hosted by the World Bank Institute, the intent of the workshop was to introduce a tool for building understanding and engagement about sustainable development in Vietnam - you guessed it, NextPlays.
It was an amazing experience, not least for being in Hanoi, an energizing city that seems to be always moving at a frenetic pace, a little like New York with scooters instead of yellow cabs.
The workshop was an impressive group of people, including the new Director of the Hanoi School of Architecture, urban planners from Hanoi; the person leading the climate change / adaptation planning in Ho Chi Min City, leaders in the environmental scientifc community, the director of community planning , two leaders of an environmental program for students.
The program kicked out with a presentation about the 2030 Master Plan for Hanoi. Still in the refinement phase, the Plan will be formally launched in 2010. It's a far-reaching plan, on par with some of the bolder plans in the developed world. It proposes the creation of satellite cities in part defined by a green corridor that creates green spaces and environmentally light activities in more than 60% of the greater Hanoi area. Because the corridor follows the two major rivers, it will help alleviate the clash between a growing population and increasing flooding. There's an outline of the plan here. And, like any Master Plan anywhere, it's being vigorously debated.
The NextPlays workshop created personas of typical people in Hanoi, and combined these with plausible economic, social and environmental change factors to develop ideas for a more sustainable city that serves its citizens. We were pleased with the results, and with the effectiveness of some of the NextPlays tools to get the group developing more robust, and more ambitious project ideas.
Apart from the workshop, the highlight of the trip had to be meeting the students from the SIFE group at the National Economics University. Though though it was only formed recently, they are working on more than five community business building projects. Their Excavatus project helped them win the national SIFE competition and they will represent Vietnam in the global finals. Good luck in November!