Yangon City PopulationPeople of Yangon City
In anticipation of a boom to 10 million people, Yangon is planning its infrastructural future
Yangon downtown is a flawless raster. Constructed by the British in the 1850' s after the Second Anglo-Burmese War, the roads were laid out at right corners, it is said, so that the breeze from the Hlaing River flows unhindered through the alleys of the brooding city. Yangon Circle Train links this old Colonian capitol with satellites lining its borders.
At Yangon, perhaps the humans are living in huts made of sheet iron and other found material, but they do not want a country - at least for the time being. Yangon is estimated to have 10 million inhabitants by 2040, more than twice as many as today. Anticipated economic expansion will put a heavy burden on a city that is already battling with its dilapidated infrastructures and finite service provision.
" JICA is preparing a 30-year urban planning at the request of the federal administration. It is not difficult to see why such a scheme is necessary. Yangon has only 42 per cent of its population having easy contact with flowing waters. Fewer than 10 per cent of the city has a wastewater treatment facility.
As Yangon's elite have harvested the fruits of the country's recent liberalisation by sales high in the goldrush for municipal ownership and wealth, little has happened to the city' s inferior. UN HABITAT puts that at least 40 per cent of city dwellers live in unofficial apartments every two years. Population displacement in Yangon is not an isolation.
In India and China alone, almost one billion people live in the cities. Myanmar's past geopolitical and economical isolations have immunised Yangon against this urbanisation. In order to counter the threatening influx of municipal immigrants, JICA is proposing to expand the city' s formal territory by 40,000 hectares. This wider cityscape is designed on the basis of one of three archetypes:
" It is a single-core city that would evolve from an economical and manufacturing centre to the outside world. It also foresees new suburban railway routes, the creation of landfill areas, the expansion of the electricity network and the building of viaducts and broad main thoroughfares to reduce their use. The JICA is not the only Myanmar bank focused on sustainable city life.
Asia Bank has released a detailed evaluation of the need for public transport and possible credit programmes. UN-HABITAT in particular works in close cooperation with city officials throughout the entire nation to offer engineering design, training and assistance. This was announced after a December session of the Council with the aim of consolidating the part of the residential property industry in a domestic policy for economic and social cohesion.
OHABITAT also works to reinforce civic institution at community levels and provides training for civil servants at community levels on issues from town planning strategy to low-income dwellings. With the new government strengthening trading relations in the area and strengthening production and infrastructural industries, Yangon will soon expand like so many of its neighbours.
The relief organizations hope that a sustainable commitment to implementing a global roadmap will alleviate the Myanmar conflict before it really begins.