HO CHI MINH CITY— Once an architectural gem emblematic of Vietnam’s era as a French colony, the Tax Trade Center with its iconic Art Deco facade is now mostly rubble.
Despite a petition drive spearheaded by a growing historic preservation movement, the building was demolished in recent months. In its place, developers plan a 43-story complex with a connection to the first subway line in the city.
The Tax Center, built in 1924, is one of many historic buildings in the last 20 years that have been razed or severely altered, according to a joint French-Vietnamese government research center.
Preservationists say developers and government officials are intent on making this city modern and care little for the vestiges of its colonial past. But destroying so many historic buildings, they warn, makes the city less livable and less attractive to tourists — which could undercut economic growth the government hopes to foster.
“The more people get caught up in a consumerist lifestyle, the more difficult it is to address what are considered ‘luxury’ concerns like heritage preservation,” said architect Tran Huu Khoa, 27, a leader of the petition drive that couldn’t save the Tax Trade Center. “But I’m optimistic that a strong civil movement is growing in Vietnam.”
Click on the photo above to read this groundbreaking story by Round Earth’s Zanna McKay and An Dien, recently published in USA Today. For a non-breaking story and one not about President Trump, it received relatively huge attention on social media.
I am so proud of our journalists for their deeply researched reporting on important, untold stories.
Warmest regards, Mary
P.S. Here again — in case you missed them — are my personal go-to media outlets.