City Brief - Lao Cai, Vietnam

Authors: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET-International); Thailand Environment Institute (TEI); Vietnam National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies (NISTPASS)

Lao Cai is an emerging city along the Chinese border in northern Vietnam. Historically a small mountain town that was home to many different ethnic groups, economic development in Vietnam and China and increased prospects for trade and travel between the two countries has raised the profile of this city as a prominent trading post. New mining activity in the mountains surrounding Lao Cai has further spurred economic development in and around the city. As a result, urbanization, including new roads, new industry, and new housing is occurring rapidly and the city is quickly expanding into traditionally agricultural lands. This growth has led to an increase in vulnerability to a range of climate conditions such as floods and droughts, impacts that will be further exacerbated by climate change. Changes in living conditions and livelihoods are also contributing to the challenges faced by the city’s most poor and vulnerable. As Lao Cai expects further growth in the near future, it has been working with the Mekong – Building Climate Resilience in Asian Cities (M-BRACE) initiative to better understand the impacts of urbanization and climate change and chart a path towards more resilient development.


Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International, Thailand Environment Institute, Vietnam National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies. (2014). Lao Cai, Vietnam. Bangkok, Thailand: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International.

Funded by: 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)


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