Métropolisation, habitat précaire et relogement forcé: entre phénomènes d'exclusion et tactiques populaires d'intégration: le cas du canal Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe à Ho Chi Minh-Ville, Vietnam

This work was carried out within the interdisciplinary scientific program named "Sustainable Development, Metropolisation and Pollution of Natural Resources in Ho Chi Minh-City, Vietnam". This program, launched in 1994, is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Priority Program Environment, Module 7 "Environment and development"). The main goal of this thesis is to grasp the social, economic and spatial dimensions at stake of involuntary resettlement of precarious settlements. in the context of developing countries' metropolisation. One of the approach selected fits within a thorough study of southern metropolis evolution dynamics, more precisely that of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Moreover, we decided to develop a specific approach of involuntary resettlement, which is constructed using mainly two dialectical and interdependent concepts: exclusion and integration. In this way, this work differs from the most frequently used theoretical models, which are based on impoverishment or stress dimensions. In third world metropolis, government forces have an increasing tendency to turn to involuntary resettlement in order to implement or promote urban planning. Every year, approximately 6 million people are forced to move into an urban environment. This concerns mainly the most underprivileged sections of the population corning from precarious settlements. In recent times, this phenomenon has grown to such a point that some international institutions have even talked about the century of involuntary resettlement. The theoretical framework of this thesis refers to three different fields of knowledge, which nevertheless are linked to one another. The first field concerns developing countries metropolisation. Closely associated with the globalisation and polarisation of international trade, this process leads not only to the rise of exclusion but also to the dualisation of economic, social and political spheres and the fragmentation of urban spaces. The second theoretical field of study is based on questions raised by precarious settlements in southern metropolis. We analyse the way vulnerable populations living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods develop urban integration tactics in order to counter metropolitan exclusion forces and to alleviate precariousness. Finally, the third field is part of involuntary resettlement problematic. While it shares a close link to public policy evaluation, this problematic analyses the institutional values, norms, and practices underlying relocation policies of the people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Our goal is also to develop a better understanding of the consequences associated to this kind of urban program and the way they might contribute to strengthening living conditions as well as residential situation precariousness for those who have been forced to move, leading them to develop defence mechanisms in order to guaranty their integration in the metropolis. In this analysis, we will focus on Ho Chi Minh-City and on the relocation program concerning the populations living in Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal's precarious settlements. In the empirical part of this work, we will analyse and measure the consequences of this policy on their living conditions as well as on their behaviour. We will try to analyse to what extent those consequences tend to increase exclusion of underprivileged populations, limit their integration capacity, and enhances their residential mobility towards new precarious settlements that fit more to the aspirations, and above all, to the means of the underprivileged. Given the complexity of the topic covered in this work, we opted for an interdisciplinary approach. It appeals to different fields of social sciences: sociology, economics, geography, political sciences, but also architecture and urban planning. Moreover, we chose a quantitative as well as a qualitative method. Based on a multidimensional analysis of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal's population living in precarious settlements, we will be able to grasp the discriminating dimension of involuntary resettlement policy set up by metropolitan authorities as well as its severe impact on the population at a residential, social and economical level. Restrictive economic criteria or in some cases insufficient compensations offered by public authorities are such that a number of persons are excluded from the program. But on top of that, part of the families relocated in modern and salubrious apartments suffer from exclusion. As regards housing, the new apartments are characterised by their limited residential functions. This is mainly due to constraints linked to high rise housing, which acts as an economic and social barrier. In terms of social organisation, involuntary resettlement leads to a family nuclearisation process, and traditional sociability tends to turn to a more individualistic way of life, a phenomenon which results in a partial deconstruction of solidarity and protection networks. Finally, at the domestic economy level, resettled populations have to deal with an increase in service charges as well as working conditions deterioration which involve decreasing incomes. Although this modern way of life appeals to resettled families, most of them are brought to develop new integration tactics in order to limit involuntary resettlement exclusion effects. These tactics are to a large extent conservative inasmuch as they tend to reproduce ways of life and space habits characteristic of the former residential areas. To a large extent, they are characterised by palliative measures of space utilisation, professional insertion, income improvement and domestic means reallocation. Despite their willingness, families have a hard time fighting against resettlement exclusion forces. Residential mobility as well as subsidised apartments resale then become the way for some families to minimise precarious living conditions. Nevertheless, the benefits they gain from these illegal practices are often insufficient for them to buy or build an accommodation close to the center of the metropolis. The only possibility left to the reseller is then to rent a dwelling unit in a disadvantaged neighbourhoods or to move on the outskirts. While residential mobility leads to the creation of new precarious settlements in Ho Chi Minh-City, some families living conditions as well as residential situation keep on deteriorating, a decline which might bring some of them to experience a kind of urban nomadism. While the results of our study confirm the hypothesis stated at the beginning of this work, they also point out how hard it is to fulfill the housing aspirations of the most underprivileged considering the precariousness of their living conditions. The inadequacy of precarious settlements relocation policy is even worse when based on a modernist and standardised approach of the housing problem which favours typological and technical dimensions of residential space to the detriment of social, economic and ecological dimensions. What is at stake in involuntary resettlement concerns mainly the multidimensional mechanisms of exclusion and integration of which depends the subsistence of the most underprivileged in Ho Chi Minh-City. Urban authorities need to make political adjustments if they want resettlement impacts to fit the goals of sustainable development. In order to achieve this objective, popular participation and exchange between involved actors is the first condition they need to fulfill for the implementation of any policy in order to fight against exclusion and promote the integration of the most underprivileged as well as for any policy which aims to take into account the capacity of urban ecosystems.

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 2330 (2000)
    Faculté de l'environnement naturel, architectural et construit
    Laboratoire de sociologie urbaine
    Jury: Charles Goldblum, Isabelle Milbert, Joseph Tarradellas, Philippe Thalmann

    Public defense: 2001-4-27


    Record created on 2005-03-16, modified on 2016-08-08

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