The present research is the outcome of multi-disciplinary teamwork between Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School–LaSUR Laboratory (Switzerland), the Centre of Sociology and Development (Vietnamese centre for sociology research based in Ho Chi Minh City) and the French NGO Villes en Transition or VeT (Cities in Transition), which managed a resettlement pilot project in Ho Chi Minh City in 2000. This project is the object of the present research.
The theoretical framework for this study consists in analysing the implementation and impact of large-scale resettlement operations in Ho Chi Minh City and of a resettlement micro-project carried out by VeT.
The methodology used for this research consists mainly of semi-directive interviews with the resettled people themselves, with social service providers from Vietnamese mass organizations, and with political and technical decision-makers involved in the resettlement operations studied.
This research has been an opportunity for exchanges as well as disagreements between stakeholders from diverging backgrounds as resettlement and its attendant issues are particularly sensitive in Vietnam.
The requirements of urbanization and the need to improve the environment and living conditions of disadvantaged populations have led to planned resettlement operations in Ho Chi Minh City. The large-scale programme for Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal and the micro-project for the Binh Trung Dong ward (District 2) exemplify this.
Within this framework, we have focused on measuring the socioeconomic impact of resettlement operations: that is to say, the mechanisms which generate socioeconomic effects, whether they are socially beneficial or detrimental.
Our objective was not to establish a comparative analyse stricto sensu between large-scale programmes and a resettlement micro-project so as to determine which approach works best, since it is difficult to establish elements of comparison between an operation covering a population of about 20,000 households and a micro-project concerning a mere fifty-five households.