Vietnam expects to reach an urbanisation rate of 43 to 45 percent by 2020, experts have said.

Nguyen Minh Thuc, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association, said at an annual conference held in Binh Duong last week that urban development in the coming years would focus on improved planning and ensuring that the process would promote economic growth.

Conference delegates discussed many measures to find the most effective way of developing new urban areas alongside the upgrade of existing ones.

Ho Chi Minh City representatives said the city was studying the possibility of shifting the current management of planning and construction activities based on administrative borders to one based on geographical features.

This would facilitate proper arrangement of investment projects and control of infrastructure systems, particularly underground works, they said.

This management premise would also allow centralised and unified administration of urban residential areas because it would not be bound by administrative borders, they added.

Meanwhile, a Vung Tau representative said the city would pay special attention to building environmentally friendly infrastructure facilities such as public lighting systems because it was a prominent tourist spot.

Binh Duong representatives attending the conference said the province would give priority to building new urban areas before upgrading existing ones.

At present, the province is building a new city in Thu Dau Mot Town to which the provincial administration centre will be moved in later. The old administrative head offices will be auctioned off for upgrading and used for new purposes.

Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People's Committee and also head of the Southeast Urban Area cluster, said that the region now had about 1,000 urban areas at various levels of development, with a new one set up every month on average.

The development of modern urban areas was burgeoning in many localities in the region so local authorities should closely cooperate with each other in exchanging information and experiences as well as introducing measures to settle difficulties in the process, Quan said.