Pressure on land in peri-urban Vietnam: The impact of agricultural land conversion and the need for livelihood diversification in Thuy Duong commune
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In the context of rapid urbanization and industrialization, large areas of agricultural land are being converted to facilitate urban and industrial growth in Vietnam. This research examines the conversion of agricultural land for urban development in Thuy Duong, a peri-urban area near Hue City in order to find out what impact this process has on the life of different groups of farmers. The research findings suggest that the above mentioned processes have reshaped the lives of the people living in Thuy Duong. Living standards have improved over the years as a result of general economic growth alongside the emergence of new employment opportunities outside the agricultural sector, better infrastructure and increased mobility. Some of the households in the possession of land use rights now combine their economic activities in the agricultural and non-agricultural sector for accumulative purposes, while other households rely on non-farm activities to meet their basic subsistence needs due to agricultural land conversion. This already shows that not everyone has been able to benefit or adapt succesfully to societal changes which leads to new vulnerabilities and social differentiation among the affected households. The ongoing expansion of urban areas thus results in the creation of winners and losers across society. In this article special emphasis is placed upon the ways in which these changes influence the lives of different social groups, including young adults, women and the elderly. I argue that the government has to take these differences into account when designing new development plans that could further aggravate the living conditions of those groups or households unable to adapt to their changing living conditions, something they are lacking to do at this point in time as this article will demonstrate.