Yangon CenterCenter Yangon
The Yangon Historic City Center | Fund for World Monuments
One hundred years ago Yangon was one of Asia's premier trading towns and home to international population. Nowadays, Buddhist palagodas and convents in the historical city centre are located next to over a decade of mausoleums, various confessional and religious buildings, a Hindu Parsi, a Sikh sanctuary, a Hebrew synaagogue and the only Army Christian denomination in the state.
In Southeast Asia, this cultural legacy is supplemented by the biggest collections of 19th and early 20th centuries colorful architectural works. It is a large, low town enlivened by vast forests, quiet ponds and important parks with broad roads and tree-lined avenues. After Myanmar's ascent from seclusion under the dictatorial regime and the resulting possibilities for international investments, a surge of activity now threatens Yangon's unparalleled countryside.
The modernisation of the town, while preserving and enhancing its material and immaterial legacy, is a central task. Attractive apartment and business premises destroyed by long periods of negligence are being demolished at an alarmingly fast pace and substituted by badly constructed houses that do not fit into the historical environment. New skyscrapers also lose valuable vistas, and state properties have gone to ruin since the régime relocated to Nay Pyi Taw in 2005.
Yangon's environment offers the opportunity to combine nature protection with sustainable development and make the legacy an important part of the economy, environment and society of the nascent contemporary town. Inclusion in World Monuments Watch 2014, Yangon was followed by surveys on the economy of preserving, shaping and shaping its neighbourhoods and the links between its property market and historical monuments conducted the following year by various organizations.
We hosted a Building the Futures panel with the Yangon Heritage Trust in January 2015: Heritage' role in sustainable development in Yangon. It was held in Yangon and was generous sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council and several other individuals.
This has led to political advice for sustained urban planning, including the recognition of a nature reserve in the inner town, the preparation of a map of the town, the promotion of investments in nature and cultural assets, the construction of infrastructures to enhance the standard of living, the approval of pilots and the preparation of a map for open water accessibility and vulnerable watercourses.
Nearly immediately after the meeting, the Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) announces the financing of pilots to preserve three areas in Yangon. At about the same the Princely Foundation for the building community launched its special development plan, which was designed to reconcile protection and municipal expansion in the town.
At the end of January, five large building complexes were put on temporary suspension for their intervention in historical areas and memorials. One of the planned building had to be remodelled and moved in February due to its vicinity to the Signal Pagoda Memorial. Further improvements have been made to Yangon's architectural legacy throughout 2015, such as the end of the large building near the Shwedagon Pagoda, the conclusion of an education programme in the town and the launch of several conservation work.
Further effort, however, is needed to preserve the historical cityscape and tradition that make Yangon inimitable.