Working towards sustainable urban development in Myanmar

SymbioCity Myanmar works with three townships in Myanmar – Dawei, Kalay, and Kalaw. In collaboration with the Urban Research and Development Institute (URDI) of the Ministry of Construction, the programme aims to build capacity towards sustainable and inclusive urban development. The past month saw the programme reach a number of important milestones in this effort.


River front development in Dawei

The city of Dawei is undertaking an ambitious project to redevelop their major riverfront space called Kannar lane (or Strand Road). The project, which will be implemented in phases, will eventually cover riverfront space that runs for a length of approximately 3.5 km.

The participants of the SymbioCity Training programme took the specific example of the riverfront redevelopment and focused on multiple aspects of the project including economic, environmental, and social sustainability. They formulated a vision that aimed to make Kannar Lane a “safe, urban, green area with parks and recreational spaces that incorporate blue-green infrastructure; sustainable transportation with bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and public transport; waste management; and an vibrant economic area creating jobs for the town of Dawei” by the year 2025.

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 developed integrated spatial and institutional solutions that focused on the following dimensions: landscape, sustainable infrastructure, mobility, and improving market and trade. These integrated solutions were presented at the closing ceremony of the SymbioCity training in Dawei.

The presentation was attended by Daw Lae Lae Maw, Chief Minister, Tanintharyi Region and senior officials of the regional government. It was well appreciated by the Chief Minister who was keen to integrate aspects of the proposal into the redevelopment of the river front area.


New collaboration in Kalaw

SymbioCity Myanmar and URDI are working with the city of Kalaw towards a sustainable vision for the urban development of the town. Kalaw, nestled in the hills of the Shan State, is a major tourist destination, receiving approximately 13 000 tourists a year. The neighbouring sister township of Aung Pan is home to one of the most productive agricultural areas in Myanmar. Kalaw has an ambitious vision for its future that focuses on making the tourist industry central to its economic growth.

Kalaw boasts of several key assets including a rich bio-diversity – for example, within a 10 km radius of the city, there are 276 identified bird species; unique heritage buildings dating back to the British period; and a natural environment conducive to the promotion of tourism.

The officials expressed hope that through this collaboration, Kalaw can be developed into a model city that serves as an example of how sustainable economic development and peace-building can go hand in hand.

URDI lectures

Public Lecture Series, Yangon

On May 26th 2018, Daw Aye Aye Myint, Deputy Director General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, delivered the second lecture in the ongoing public lecture series hosted by URDI. Titled “Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning Law”, it provided an overview of the draft urban planning law in Myanmar.

Daw Aye Aye Myint touched upon the history, institutional architecture, procedural nuances, and legal framework of the draft law. In addition, she provided a comparative perspective of Myanmar’s draft law with other countries. The lecture was followed by an interactive session with the audience, and was well attended by members of the planning community in Yangon including government officials, the Association of Myanmar Architects, students, and interested citizens. The series aims to serve as a common knowledge sharing platform for the varied stakeholders involved in urban affairs in Myanmar.