July 17 - 23, 2006 Myanmar's first international weekly © Volume 17, No.325
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The Future of Yangon

By May Thandar Win

BUILT by the British in the 1880s, downtown Yangon has seen its population surge and the streets in many places go from busy to bustling to blatantly congested.

Urbanisation is a fact the world over, but whereas many countries’ capital cities have coped with the influx of migrants that has characterised urban growth over the past 25 years by spreading their boundaries with a degree of symmetry and initiating large-scale housing projects, Yangon has found its development curbed by geography.

Until the mid 1990s, Yangon remained largely constrained to its traditional peninsula setting between the Bago, Yangon and Hlaing rivers. People moved in, but little of the city moved out.

Maps from 1944 show little development north of Inya Lake and areas that are now layered in cement and stacked with houses were then virtual backwaters.

Since the late 1980s, however, the city began a rapid spread north to where Yangon International airport now stands. But the result is a stretching tail on the city, with the downtown area well-removed from its geographic centre.

Though not unheard of in coastal cities around the world, such as Rio de Janiero in Brazil or Sydney in Australia, the long, narrow shape of Yangon has bucked a general trend for cities to spread in rough circles.

While the rivers have created barriers to expansion, in the past decade Yangon has extended its urban sprawl west over the Hlaing River. The construction of necessary infrastructure has allowed developers to branch ever further out.

Accordingly, the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development is continuing its policy of high-rise construction along the Pyay Road corridor and into other suburban areas.

The Myanmar Times is looking into this growth and will be speaking to sources within the housing industry over the coming weeks to highlight the city’s investment hotspots and lifestyle developments. Focus will centre on nine Yangon clusters, or zones.

Cluster 1
The area along Thitsar, Yankin and Moe Kaung roads and Pyi Tharyar Bauk Htaw in Yankin Township.

Cluster 2
Thanthumar Rd, Lay Dauntkan Rd and Thuwunna and Ayer Wun Main roads, in Thingangyun and Tharkayta townships.

Cluster 3
The intersection of North and South Dagon townships and areas where housing developments have been implemented near Nga Moe Yeik Creek.

Cluster 4
The corner of Pyay and Parami roads, where there the massive 7 Mile condo project is underway, and the nearby area of Kabaraye Pagoda.

Cluster 5
The popular high-rise setting around the Medical Institute-1 on Pyay Road, Narnattaw Street and the area near the junction of Bayanintnaung and Hledan roads.

Cluster 6
Mindama Road, the area near Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda and Nine Miles on Pyay Rd on th way to Yangon International Airport.

Cluster 7
Bayintnaung Road in Hlaing township and, on the other side of Hlaing River, the area around the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, home to FMI City, Pun Hlaing Golf Estate, Orchid Garden and the Nawaday Garden housing project.

Cluster 8
The Dagon University area, South Dagon Industrial Zones 1 and 2, and Dagon Seikkan township beside the Bago River.

Cluster 9
The Mingalardon Garden Housing development in north Yangon and areas along the express roads heading north out of town.

 
 
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