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False flowers bloom in Saigon as green space withers away

As the city continues to hack away at its already scarce green space, vinyl posters cover up the scars.

Saigon has announced a detailed plan to remove 258 towering hardwoods from Ton Duc Thang Street to make way for a new bridge to the Thu Thiem Peninsula. 

The tree clearance hasn’t drawn the same opposition it did a few years ago. No petitions have been organized and many have even voiced support for the effort to further develop the city.

A month prior, during a single afternoon, leafy Le Loi Street was also clear-cut to make way for the city’s metro line.

As the city continues to hack away at its already scarce green space, vinyl posters cover up the scars.

Large screens printed with natural landscape bring breath-taking highlands landscapes and lush green forests teeming with exotic plants to the city’s dusty corners. Tulip bulbs and sunflowers spring forth from flat, sunbaked displays throughout the central business district. 

In most cases, these natural images mask messy construction sites by offering digital renderings of a bright future. Others serve only to decorate the present.

Some restaurants and shopping malls have gone one step further by throwing up images of trees and blossoms to recreate natural beauty. These panoramas did little to cool the city during the dry season swelter and, as the summer deluge gets going, they’ll offer no roots to absorb rainwater or mitigate flooding. 

Wedding gates sit on display along Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street (District 3). The flowery décor can be rented for between VND500,000 and 900,000 ($22-40), roughly 10 times cheaper than the real thing.


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