Building Hanoi into an innovative city and a center for high-quality services in the region and the world

Politburo Member, Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee, Head of Hanoi National Assembly Delegation
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 10:00

Communist Review - In 2019, Hanoi was honored to become a UNESCO Creative Cities Network member. This is a valuable addition to Hanoi's role as the "City for Peace", the "Capital of Conscience and Human Dignity", and the "Heroic Capital". The event also provides Ha Noi an opportunity to vigorously promote its resources, potentials and advantages, innovation and creativity, overcome difficulties and challenges, realize its strategic vision, and soon become a creative city, a center for high-quality services in the region and the world.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong extending New Year greetings to officials and employees of Thang Long Imperial Citadel Heritage Area - a world cultural heritage in Hanoi with thousands of years of history, 4 Feb 2022 _Photo:

Unleash the source of creativity from thousands of years of history

In 1010, King Ly Thai To issued the "Capital Relocation Order", deciding to move Dai Viet capital from Hoa Lu to the land of "Flying Dragons". For more than 10 centuries since then, Thang Long - Hanoi has always deserved to be the land of geniuses, convergence, crystallization and shining of the national culture, where the national creative advantages converge. According to culture and history researchers, Thang Long has been an innovative city with strong and lasting vitality throughout history. That source has continued through various dynasties; and today Hanoians continue to promote the spirit of Thang Long in the comprehensive and synchronous renovation.

On the implementation of the Strategy for the development of Viet Nam's cultural industries to 2020, the vision to 2030 under the Decision no. 1755/QD-TTg, September 8, 2016 by the Prime Minister which was determined to build Hanoi into a national creative center, the People's Committee of Hanoi has constructed the profile "Hanoi – A Creative City". In July 2019, Hanoi submitted its candidacy to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, with the central mission of putting creativity at the heart of sustainable development, and with a vision of making Hanoi become a creative capital of Southeast Asia. In October 2019, UNESCO recognized Hanoi and 65 other cities worldwide as members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network­(1).

Participating in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a significant milestone, creating favorable conditions for Hanoi to promote its image as well as increase cooperation opportunities in all fields of creativity, promoting its overall potential of economic and political resources, in which the focus is on cultural and educational resources for sustainable development.

Strongly promote cultural resources and economic development in association with promoting innovation and creativity

Hanoi - the so-called "City by rivers" - is surrounded by 20 rivers. After many times of boundary adjustment, Hanoi now has about 8 million people with a total area of ​​more than 3,300 square kilometers. On implementing the general planning on construction of the capital by 2030 with a vision to 2050, the urban "beam" has been used as a model for Hanoi’s development. The city is strongly renovating the growth model, restructuring the economy based on applying science - technology and innovation, and improving the investment and business environment to attract investors. Hanoi has become a more attractive destination for domestic and foreign investors and one of Asia's five most dynamic cities.

On average, in the 2016-2020 period, the Capital's gross domestic product (GRDP) increased by 6.67% per year. In 2018 and 2019, Hanoi led the country in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). The number of newly established enterprises increased sharply in quantity and registered capital. Despite being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanoi's economy in 2021 still maintained its growth; The city's GRDP is estimated to reach 2.92%; budget revenue - expenditure balance is guaranteed. The total state budget revenue of the Capital is 12.3% higher than the estimate assigned by the Central Government, 5.3% higher than the estimate given by the City People's Council, meeting the demand for regular development investment and spending, estimated spending, especially on COVID-19 prevention and control, and social security... In recent years, Hanoi has gradually developed cultural industries together with Ho Chi Minh City which is leading the whole country in this new direction.

As a connection between the East and West, Hanoi is a city of diversity. With a dense heritage system (5,922 relics, including 1 world cultural heritage (the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long); 3 intangible cultural heritages representing human culture; 1 documentary world heritage; 19 special national monuments and over one thousand national monuments), rich cultural infrastructure, a network of 1,350 craft villages spreading throughout the streets, villages and 70 spaces for creation, Hanoi has become a center for nurturing, converging and promoting creativity. Creative design is present in every corner, from urban infrastructure with "historical layers" architecture to diverse and rich cultural infrastructure, creating a harmonious connection between nature and human beings. Creative design is also an essential factor in creating a unique identity for Hanoi to nurture its traditions, shape the presence and look forward to the future.

Hanoi has a golden population structure (51.7% is the young population) and nearly 1,300 businesses operating in creative design. The city is also home to talent, with 65% of intellectuals and scientists and over 80% of the country's research centers, institutes, universities and colleges. Hanoi is an elegant, civilized, modern and creative city, an active member of international cooperation. Hanoians have always been known for being flexible, open-minded and willing to accept new ideas. These are Hanoi’s strength and important resources in global connection, and development of cultural and creative industries.

Over the recent years, Hanoi has actively promoted international cooperation activities in creative fields, especially with members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network like Berlin, Seul, Cobe, and Singapore... Apart from maintaining its traditional identity, Hanoi is becoming a “nursery place" for creativity across the country and especially attractive to the young. It can be said that Hanoi always recognizes traditional and modern values ​​to create a new image and appearance for itself.

After more than 2 years of participating in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Hanoi has gradually implemented solutions and innovations: Hanoi Party Committee reviewed and approved the Resolution on "Developing the cultural industry for the period 2021 - 2025, orientation to 2030, vision to 2045", in which 8 key groups of tasks and solutions, 42 specific tasks and solutions are proposed. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected socio-economic development, Hanoi still fulfils its commitments through various activities to connect the community, and gradually build the image of Hanoi – the Creative city. To promote and effectively exploit the potentials and strength in the field of creative design, Hanoi has accelerated the construction of many innovative and creative works and projects, contributing to the formation of the current infrastructure and the development of creative spaces. Hanoi is leading the country in the number of creative areas such as Hoan Kiem lake walking space, Trinh Cong Son pedestrian street; mural space of Phung Hung, Vun Art cooperative (fabric mosaics), the project of Vietnamese craft villages, the cultural architectural area of the Hanoi Museum... Due to the influence the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of organizations and individuals have digitized data, programs, and cultural activities through the internet, attracting much attention and interaction from the public. Hanoi is actively exploiting and transforming cultural resources into strength and driving force for the capital's development.

It can be seen that Hanoi has been clearly expressing its views, strategies and development orientations. This strategy reflects the vision towards promoting the identity of the Capital and is one of the major and important levers that helps Hanoi realize its sustainable development goals and tasks, being the driving force for Hanoi to make strategic changes in the coming years and realize the development goal set out by the 17th Congress of the City Party Committee by 2030, with a vision to 2045 when Hanoi becomes a globally connected city, and at the same time actively contribute to the national foreign policy strategy in globalization and deep international integration.

Creativity - a central factor in the development, realizing the strategic vision, and improving people's quality of life

Hanoi focuses on placing creativity, especially from a design perspective, at the heart of the city's sustainable development, with a long-term vision to become the Creative Capital of Southeast Asia. Playing the role as the Capital, Hanoi has the advantage of approaching numerous domestic and foreign organizations and individuals who are capable of policy making and building a rich and diverse cooperation network; Therefore, Hanoi strives to maximize the effectiveness of friendship and cooperation with more than 100 cities and capitals of nearly 200 countries and territories, especially members of the UNESCO Bright Cities Network.

To successfully build and maintain the Creative City, Hanoi has implemented a specific and strategic action plan, in which Hanoi has been actively promoting and building the Creative Design Center, Smart city, digital transformation projects... One of the critical projects that Hanoi will implement is forming a Creative Design Center to nurture talents in the fields related to creative design in Hanoi. Here, potential creative projects and community projects will be maximally supported. Particularly, in the coming time, Hanoi will pay attention to and focus on encouraging children, women and disadvantaged groups to participate in creative design. Along with that, Hanoi has piloted several potential models such as the Young Creative Center; promoting public-private cooperation in the North An Khanh area, Hoai Duc district; forming a Center for Creative Design and Product Introduction of handicraft villages in the South of Hanoi in Phu Xuyen District...

Hanoi focuses on studying the planning of cultural space, connecting localities to be included in the overall planning; studying the transformation model and renovating cultural heritages into artistic spaces. The City will continue to promote new cultural spaces such as the formation of a system of new pedestrian spaces: South Urban Area of Ring Road 3 - Bitexco; walking space around Thien Quang lake - Thong Nhat Park; walking space around Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam; walking space in Bac An Khanh - Splendora urban area, walking space in Son Tay Citadel, ... with unique cultural and artistic activities to promote the value of local cultural heritages and stimulate creative design activities in culture and crafts for tourism, commerce and local economic development.

In the coming time, Hanoi will focus on forming and strongly developing a network of young creative designers - its huge, potential and available human resources. To promote creativity among the young, Hanoi has been implementing some essential projects, focusing on the youth and students such as building a program to incubate and accelerate innovative startups at universities, academies, and colleges; building a foundation of working and entrepreneurship skills for students (4SV) and digital transformation clubs in universities, academies and colleges; forming a space to support young people’s start-up, innovation and digital transformation; organizing city-scale events and competitions that attract international participation on entrepreneurship, innovation and digital transformation for entrepreneurs, the young, and students... This is one of the new important breakthroughs of Hanoi in building and developing the "Creative City".

At the same time, Hanoi continues to be an active and responsible participant at conferences and forums in Southeast Asia, Asia and globally under UNESCO's programs. Ha Noi also writes membership monitoring reports as UNESCO requires during its term. 

Additionally, to build the Capital into a high-quality service center of the region and the world, Hanoi will focus on developing high-quality services and continue to restructure trade and services. Accordingly, Hanoi will accelerate the service industry, gradually raising its contribution to GRDP to about 65% - 65.5% by 2025 with an annual growth rate of 8% - 8.5%. Hanoi also has to develop high value-added services, especially urban services and high-level services such as finance, banking, insurance, consulting, and high-quality healthcare,... for other types of markets to develop. Besides, Hanoi needs to develop e-commerce and diversify digital payments such as internet-banking, mobile-banking, e-wallets, card utilities to create premises for digital economy development and meet customers’ diversified needs, especially taking advantage of more than 11,000 e-commerce websites/apps in Hanoi.

Forming new types of commerce in the area (Outlet shopping center; chain of convenience stores with automatic transactions without staff; vending machine system,...) in parallel with developing traditional trade, supermarket system, and markets. Building and improving the capacity of the transport service network, focusing on accelerating a number of important logistics infrastructure development projects to facilitate trade development and increase revenue for the state budget. Renewing methods, changing commercial habits and behaviors towards civilization and modernization. Focusing on attracting large-scale, multinational corporations with advanced technology, modern management, connecting global supply chains, and meeting environmental requirements; striving to build Hanoi into a significant commercial and economic center of the country and Southeast Asia by 2025.

Continuing to improve the capability and efficiency of international integration; seizing opportunities, especially those from CPTPP, EVFTA, EVIPA... to serve the Capital’s development. Consolidating established relations, expanding cooperation with potential capitals and cities; focusing on international cooperation activities in science and technology, investment promotion, trade, and tourism promotion to enhance the export of goods and services, and attracting foreign investment and international funding.

Maintaining and promoting the "Creative City" brand name for the Capital’s sustainable development

To maintain and promote the "Creative City" in the field of design, contributing to the sustainable development of the Capital, Hanoi continues to implement numerous solutions as follows:

Firstly, promoting communication and dissemination through the mass media, contributing to raising the awareness and responsibility of all levels, sectors, businesses, and people of the Capital about developing the brandname "Creative City", being well aware of the role and meaning of creativity, providing creative spaces and cultural industries for development based on transforming "cultural resources" into internal resources and "soft power" contributing to the Capital’s sustainable development. On that basis, bringing creativity into all strategies, plans, and specific action programs of all levels and sectors. Promoting traditional education in schools, contributing to raising awareness for the young generation about the "Creative City" brand name awarded by UNESCO and inspiring and arousing love for Hanoi, the will and aspiration to rise up so that each Hanoian can further promote their creativity in all fields and that creativity becomes the material and driving force for the Capital in the coming years, improving the position and image of the Capital in the eyes of international friends.

Secondly, continuing to build, supplement and perfect mechanisms and policies for the development of creative spaces in particular and the creative industry in general to improve the conditions for trading in cultural products and services, effectively enforcing intellectual property rights and related rights, and promoting fair competition; building appropriate mechanisms and policies, creating a favorable environment for organizations, businesses and individuals to participate in the fields of creative industry, cultural industry to develop, especially preferential policies on tax, loan, land lease, socialization, and investment... In addition, adequate public investment capital must be allocated to build the infrastructure of cultural - art industries as a foundation for creative industries’ development. In this regard, Hanoi has issued a separate, thematic resolution on "Developing the cultural industry in the Capital area in the period of 2021 - 2025, orientation to 2030, vision to 2045".

Thirdly, improving the effectiveness of state management of cultural heritage. Strengthening education on cultural heritage and Cultural Heritage Law. Focusing on teenagers and effectively implement the UNESCO’s slogan: "Heritage is in the hands of the young generation”. Researching and applying the results on the conservation of heritage; focusing on measures to preserve the living heritage in association with protecting the local community and economic development. Adopting measures to mobilize social resources to conserve and promote cultural heritage values. Promoting cultural heritage values ​​as the foundation to seek inspiration for creative areas such as painting design, fashion, and cultural products ... Especially, enhancing cooperation, and exchanging heritage management experience with countries around the world.

Fourthly, enhancing the construction and development of the "Creative city", contributing to the construction of the "Smart city", in which the proportion of online public services is increased, the development of science-technology and the critical scientific research program in Hanoi are focused on. Effectively implementing passive telecommunications technical infrastructure planning to 2020, orientation to 2030. Completing and synchronously implementing solutions to apply digital conversion and information technology development; updating, exploiting and sharing core data. Piloting and expanding information technology applications, information systems in specialized fields and innovative city applications.

Fifthly, promoting domestic and international cooperation and exchange. On the one hand, actively supporting and encouraging other Vietnamese cities to participate in UNESCO's creative cities; on the other hand, conducting new exchanges to connect with regional and international creative cities. Promoting exchanges, design and innovation in Southeast Asia; actively and responsibly participating in the activities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. 

Thang Long - Hanoi is the intersection between tradition and modernity, past and future, between cultural heritage and endless creative flow. Following the tradition of culture, heroism, peace and friendship; promoting strong potentials, creative resources molded for more than a thousand years, arousing the will, and aspiration to rise, Hanoi has gradually realized the strategic vision, being worthy the role of the capital, the heart of the country, the National Political - Administrative center, and the large center of culture, science, education, economics and international transactions./.


(1) The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was born in 2004, with the view to promoting international cooperation between cities under the principle of fostering cultural resources and cultural innovation as the foundation for the urban development process in a sustainable way.

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 987 (Avril 2022)