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.
The area along Thitsar, Yankin and Moe Kaung roads and Pyi Tharyar
Bauk Htaw in Yankin Township.
Thanthumar Rd, Lay Dauntkan Rd and Thuwunna and Ayer Wun Main
roads, in Thingangyun and Tharkayta townships.
The intersection of North and South Dagon townships and areas
where housing developments have been implemented near Nga Moe
The corner of Pyay and Parami roads, where there the massive 7
Mile condo project is underway, and the nearby area of Kabaraye
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.
Mindama Road, the area near Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda and Nine Miles
on Pyay Rd on th way to Yangon International Airport.
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.
The Dagon University area, South Dagon Industrial Zones 1 and
2, and Dagon Seikkan township beside the Bago River.
The Mingalardon Garden Housing development in north Yangon and
areas along the express roads heading north out of town.