An international symposium was recently held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to discuss the challenges of developing liveable cities through architecture.

Hosted by Curtin University academics, the global forum, titled LIVEABILITY brought together international design experts, educators and practitioners who discussed intelligent and creative solutions for smarter and more sustainable cities, and living culture through the built environment.

Khoa Do, School of Built Environment, said the concept of liveability at a community level sometimes got lost as governments and architects focussed on accommodating economic and development imperatives. Observing that discussions mostly focussed on city development, sustainability and the need to be conscious of the environment, energy efficiency or economic development, Mr Do said being able to live and be comfortable in that living remained the fundamental fact.

According to Do, liveability had a different interpretation from place to place, with each city or community having varying expectations and standards and experiencing its own challenges. While Perth is recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it continues to experience design challenges such as urban sprawl, tourism and transportation. Ho Chi Minh City, one of Southeast Asia’s most energetic cities, is undergoing transformational growth with an economy generating rapid urbanisation, informal densities and rural-urban migration.

Commenting that both cities are centrifugal in nature to live, work and play, and are economic epicentres, the challenge lay in making both cities more liveable.

Do moderated the symposium with Curtin’s Dr Francesco Mancini and Dr Tanja Glusac, exploring various issues with Vietnamese design firms such as MM++ architects, Kientruc O, GroupGSA, HTA+pizzini and OUT-2 as well as representatives from the HCMC University of Architecture and the Thu Duc District Urban Management Division.