Tourists and Vietnamese alike line the edges of Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, to fish, socialize (to dampen the generalization), and relax. The demographic and recreational and/or economical activities that occur change throughout the day.
An alleyway in Hanoi, Vietnam that serves as a storefront for local restaurants and as a parking lot for the customers’ motorbikes. The restaurants are usually family owned and occupy the bottom floor of their homes. Even the foods they serve change throughout the day.
The photographs I am posting are a means to aid my students in seeing how space is used in Vietnam. These are a means to help supplement the book Public Spaces: How They Humanize Cities, authored by Debra Efroymson, Tran Thi Kieu Thanh Ha, and Pham Thu Ha.
As an avid amateur backyard gardener who is beginning to see space occupied by garden-beds of ivy and other “ground cover” flora, this discovery is rather unnerving. Living in Southern California, I’ve often heard of people attempting to convert their water-binging lawns into native and “green” succulents being protested against by Home Owners Associations, and I can’t seem to grasp why this is even an issue. Yes, I understand how gardens can use more water than other plants, but to deny a person a means of producing their own foods just hints of something deeper. Maybe I’m being overwhelmed by a conspiracy theory of local government’s exchanging bills through a covert and intricate “handshake,” or maybe I’m even letting a part-time hobby of mine affect my judgement, but I don’t see how a person who is paying to use the land can be deprived of a means of offsetting both their grocery bill as well as the overall reliance on larger scale farming by planting a garden anywhere on their property.