In 2014, Global Shapers, a creative hub and worldwide network of young entrepreneurs dedicated to boosting community engagement, launched an original and innovative competition called Saigon Makeover. The graphic design contest encourages youth to transform Ho Chi Minh City, while addressing issues of community, creativity, and public space.
The contest calls on designers, street artists, architects, and other Ho Chi Minh City residents to occupy the city’s shared space, reimagine it, and improve it, by creating digital renderings showing how they would beautify Saigon’s public spaces.
Over the years, the Saigon Makeover initiative has proved to be a constant learning and adapting process. As the deadline approached for the first contest, organizers began to doubt the event’s ultimate success when they saw less than 40 entries submitted. Fortunately, interest quickly grew and submissions jumped to 150 in the last few days. Now, hosting its third annual event, Saigon Makeover has become a successful platform for Ho Chi Minh City artists and innovative urban thinkers to showcase what Saigon could look like in the future.
“We hope to inspire people to think about their cities...we want to remind people that ideas for improvement aren’t necessarily something you have to wait for someone else to come up with,” says Anh Thu, one of Global Shapers’ main leaders in Vietnam.
Global Shapers members believe the public space is a powerful place to initiate change. The organization has fostered important and relevant partnerships with media and universities to promote these ideas and help citizens rethink their shared spaces in a more innovative and inclusive way. Three years since its first event, Saigon Makeover continues to effectively raise awareness about the importance of for citizens taking the future of their communities and cities into their own hands.
Produced by CAD Productions and supported by UCLG., the Towards the Human City video series and related articles were created to showcase the individuals and initiatives that are transforming cities and making them more human.