Transforming our cities improving lives

SymbioCity in Myanmar

Together with the Ministry of Construction and the Urban Research and Development Institute, SALAR implements a 3‐year practical capacity development programme in Myanmar. This is part of the larger Global SymbioCity Approach Programme funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The programme introduces a consultative approach that brings together several line ministries and administrative levels, and civil society, to work concertedly towards urban planning outcomes and a more sustainable development of Dawei, Kalay and Kalaw. The programme provides hands-on experiences of different approaches to urban planning, development and management as well as building long-term capacity through training of trainers and relevant academic institutions.


The overall objective of the capacity development program in Myanmar is to empower a critical mass of urban development stakeholders to better address pro-poor sustainable urban development. The program aims particularly to promote the principles of sustainability, poverty reduction, gender equality, public participation and transparency/accountability.

Specific objectives are:

• Increased awareness on the importance of sustainable urban development as an urgent sector in the Myanmar context, and the need for supportive policies.

• Improved capacity for urban planning, with emphasis on strategic planning, spatial/land use planning, infrastructure investment planning and prioritization.

• Improved capacity for urban development, through project development, impact assessment, financing, procurement and implementation.

• Improved capacity of sustainable urban design solutions.

• Improved capacity for urban management, through operations and maintenance of basic services, building control, traffic management, revenue collection etc.

• Ensuring long-term support for urban knowledge and capacity development


Dawei is a township located in the South Eastern Region of Tanintharyi in Myanmar. The focus of the group has been the riverfront redevelopment with focus on multiple aspects including economic, environmental, and social sustainability. After a multi-pronged analysis of the space including walk through evaluations, spatial analysis, mapping, field visits to comparable projects in Sweden and interviews with local stakeholders, the participants have developed integrated spatial and institutional solutions that focused on the following dimensions: landscape, sustainable infrastructure, mobility, and improving market and trade. Experts from UN-Habitat, Malmö Municipality, City of Stockholm, Yangon Heritage Trust and One Map Myanmar have been involved.


Kalay is a township located in the North Western Region of Sagaing in Myanmar. The focus of the programme has been the town plan and thematic strategies for development including Mobility/ Technical Infrastructure, Environment and Disaster / Green-Blue Infrastructure, Social Infrastructure and Inclusion, Economy / Trade and Urban-rural linkages. A strong emphasis was put on flood disaster mapping and management through flood hazard mapping and DRR. Experts from UN-Habitat, Umeå Municipality, City of Stockholm, Remote Sensing and GIS Research Center at Yangon Technological University and Sweco have been involved.


Kalaw is a township nestled in the hills of the Shan State. The broad representation of stakeholders, including local, regional/state and national authorities, civil society, private sector and academia makes a strong foundation for future development in the city. The vision of Kalaw is to be developed into a model city that serves as an example of how sustainable development and peace-building can go hand in hand. Experts from Uppsala Municipality, City of Stockholm, Yangon Heritage Trust and the Remote Sensing and GIS Research Center at Yangon Technological University have been involved.