Held at the historic Villa Doria d'Angri in Naples, Italy, the bi-annual conference provided a forum to discuss some of the most serious problems affecting sustainable development in the world; particularly the impact of economic constraints on environmental conditions and environmental improvement. It was attended by environmental professionals from around the world; with presenters from nearly 30 different countries.
Entitled ‘Environmental Sustainability Opportunities at Informal Settlements in UNESCO World Heritage Areas: The Case Study of Hue, Vietnam’, Ms Nixon’s paper discussed the environmental impacts of informal settlements and the potential to implement an incremental environmental plan that could contribute to local sustainability and potentially allow residents to remain in an area where they have strong community ties.
This paper is the outcome of a study trip Ms Nixon undertook in Vietnam last year with the University of South Australia and the Hue University of Sciences, Vietnam. She worked as part of a team to examine the environmental impacts of the informal settlement that became established in the Hue Citadel (a UNESCO World Heritage site) during the American War in Vietnam.
According to Ms Nixon, “Within a ‘socialist-state’ context; Vietnam is a relatively progressive nation with strong economic and diplomatic growth, but it has not always been this way. The informal settlement at the Hue Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was established during the American War in Vietnam and comprises hundreds of dwellings situated around, and on top of, the Citadel walls. Without sufficient access to clean water, sanitation or waste management, coupled with a lack of infrastructure, the settlement has impacted significantly upon the environment.
“Waterways have high nutrient levels and are stagnant and carp-infested and rubbish and waste is disposed directly to waterways and streets. In turn, these issues are impacting upon the integrity of the heritage listing itself. As a result, there is now a push by government authorities to relocate informal settlement residents to new locations outside of the Citadel. That being said, there is an opportunity to rethink this approach and minimise environmental impacts.”
Ms Nixon has more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of environmental impact assessment, environmental and development planning and statutory approvals. She is an EIANZ-accredited Certified Environmental Practitioner (Impact Assessment Specialist) and has qualifications in environmental biology, archaeology, environmental impact assessment and urban planning. She has been with the company for 14 years and has been a WSP Professional Associate since 2008.
For more information, read Ms Nixon’s paper.
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