This paper presents concepts important for understanding urban poor housing in Vietnam, with a focus on key environmental, socio-economic, and cultural dimensions that bear on the housing sector. The paper draws on extensive field studies and presents a diagnosis of the context of and prospects for housing of the urban poor in Vietnam's two main cities: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. While the literature on this theme is scanty, it points to the market-orientated economic reforms initiated in the 1980s as a key factor in creating imbalance in the housing supply. Recognising the current challenges in balancing affordability and sustainability, the study explores Vietnam's lack of adequate and affordable housing and the problems faced by the urban poor in accessing adequate housing.
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