Stirring debate on Sustainable Urban Transformation in Myanmar

SKL International’s partner organisation in Myanmar, the Urban Research and Development Institute, has kicked off a series of public lectures to guide urban transformation in Myanmar.

The Urban Research and Development Institute (URDI) aims to be at the forefront of documenting, researching, analysing, and guiding the process of urban transformation in Myanmar. The dissemination of knowledge on urban affairs to the public in Myanmar forms an integral part of URDI’s envisaged role. As a part of realising this vision, URDI hosted the first of its monthly public lectures on April 7th, 2018. Daw Moe Moe Lwin, Director of Yangon Heritage Trust spoke on the topic “Heritage conservation in the process of urban transformation.”

The lecture focused on the key challenges and questions in urban heritage conservation including defining what heritage is, how a society can define heritage, why it is important to conserve urban heritage, especially in the face of unplanned, market-led urban growth, and how urban planning must go hand on hand with urban conservation.

The lecture ended with a set of policy and legislative proposals for urban conservation in the city of Yangon including new planning procedures and development controls, changes in legislation and regulation including the creation of a list of protected heritage buildings, taxation, the role of private players and property owners, and the creation of a municipally protected heritage zone in downtown Yangon.


The lecture was well attended by policy makers, bureaucrats, students, media personnel, and other interested members of the public. In addition, several local media outlets carried news stories and video clippings of the lecture.

The next lecture is scheduled for 26th May, 2018 and the speaker will be Daw Aye Aye Myint, Director General of the Department of Urban and Housing Development, Ministry of Construction. URDI will make the lecture available on YouTube and other social media channels for public consumption.

The SymbioCity Capacity Building Programme is a 3-year programme funded by Sida and implemented by SKL International and the Ministry of Construction. The programme is specifically designed to support the capacity building of sustainable and inclusive urban planning and development in Myanmar. The programme has the Urban Research and Development Institute (URDI) in Yangon as its implementation platform, with the intention of building capacity for long-term urban capacity building in Myanmar.