Since the Đổi mới or the economic reforms in 1986, Vietnam has carried out a process of urbanization and industrialization. These processes led to various changes in the country that are recorded in land-related legal regulations, ownership, use and conversion, utilization rights, and trading activities. The changes presented many challenges to the residents of urbanized areas who had to secure their livelihood and preserve their ways of life. By reviewing documents and using the participant observation method, this study examines and explains how urbanization has been affecting peri-urban villages such as Phùng Khoang and Xuân Đỉnh in Hanoi.
Urbanization processes such as the privatization and commodification of spaces in suburban villages around Hanoi led to unsustainable development in the livelihood of the locals as well as changes that transformed the ways of life of the villagers. In this article, the organization of a funeral is analyzed to show the ways in which urbanization has changed the arrangements, nature of participation of relatives, guests, and government workers, and some of the core rites of the funeral as a take-off point to highlight the changes these areas underwent as a result of Vietnam’s economic reforms.