Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


In many middle income countries throughout the world, yet particularly in Asia, public markets face pressure from the simultaneous forces of globalization, commercialization, and urbanization. One such country is Vietnam due to its rapid rates of urban growth since opening its doors to the global economy in 1986. In Hanoi, public markets face particularly intense pressure because the Hanoi People Committee’s Market Redevelopment Plan is systemically redeveloping its traditional fresh markets into commercial centers and building supermarkets and hypermarkets throughout the city. The purpose of this plan is to civilize the city and combat food safety concerns through modernizing retail outlets that distribute food (Geertman 2011) despite evidence illustrating how public markets tackle many of the complex challenges cities face (PPS, 2003).

The purpose of this project is to complete a case study on Châu Long Market, a neighborhood market in Hanoi, Vietnam, that was slated for redevelopment into a commercial trading center in 2007 (Hương 2007). This study sought to understand the role Châu Long Market plays in local people’s daily lives, how local people perceive the market’s redevelopment plan and the rise of supermarkets in Hanoi, and how they envision the market to meet their needs in the future. To complete this study, 26 interviews with vendors, customers, local chefs, and local architecture professionals were conducted. Additionally, guidance was received and work was undertaken through a short-term internship at HealthBridge Vietnam, a Canadian NGO with a program that advocates for the protection of public spaces with public health goals in mind. The combination of these methods led this study to recommend that the Hanoi People’s Committee, its investors, and the local people who rely on Châu Long Market should collaborate to create an alternate plan for the future of the market that preserves and improves the space while keeping its authentic form, function, and character intact.


Economics | Food Science | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Urban Studies and Planning


Article Location