Yangon TownCity of Yangon
Yangon: The town at Breaking Point
I see Yangon staggering before my vision these few siestas. Born in Yangon, I have witnessed the changes in my town from the Myanmar period of socialism, through the army rule, to a quasi-civilian rule in 2011, to today's democracy. Whilst the Yangonese welcome the recent changes in the country's policy environment, the Yangonese are worried about the unrestrained economic expansion they are now undergoing.
To me and others, the Yangon we see today is not the town we once knew. The broad sidewalks in the inner cities are over - the former regime broadened the streets and gave priority to automobiles over man. The monsoon rain floods parts of our town. In the name of municipal planning, open space is transformed into a mall.
Yangon, home to 5. 2 million inhabitants, has become a truly malfunctioning town following decades of bad ordeal. All of this confusion is due to the failure of earlier governmental plans for the town. There was a noticeable failure of a roadmap when the state opened up to the outside populace in 2012 and the town began its dramatic changes.
All over the town, new houses grew in the shifting flood. Due to the absence of regulations and regulations at that point in the history of the town, the security of the houses was dubious and endangers the life of the inhabitants in case of fire or seism. Last year, a Yangon Council (YCDC) officer said the municipality allows sloppy planning to " accelerate it.
"He said, "If we were to wait for a planning approval bill, it would be too far behind Yangon's time. Consequently, nearly 4,000 housing unit sales were made in 2015 alone, and YCDC licensed 138 new high-rise buildings with nine storeys or more in the same year as the former federal administration was in office, according to the international property company Colliers International.
Demographics increased as more populations came to Yangon in quest of opportunity. Some parts of the town had more than 1,000 inhabitants per ha, twice as many as in one of the most heavily inhabited towns in the whole of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Census 2014 shows that more than 5.2 million Yangonans live, about 35 per cent of Myanmar's total municipal populous.
Faced with the chaotic pace of developments, today it is feared by architecture and town planning that Yangon is "bursting at the seams". "No wonder the already run-down infrastructures of the town are under pressure, while the inhabitants suffer from the adverse effects of unbridled socio-economic and sanitary developments. Yangon suffered most every day in 2013 after the former regime eased the rules on importing cars instead of improving the city's run-down transportation system.
Overcrowding has become a hallmark of the town since then as the vast majority of Yangon workers commute to inner cities for work. With the streets getting narrower and more and more fights over car parks started, the then municipalities opened the city's generous sidewalks to broaden the streets and provide car parks.
But not everyone in the town turns a blind eye to the problems. Three-years ago, municipal specialists urged the then administration and called for "urgent measures" to curb unbridled urbanisation plans that had adverse effects due to the absence of "systematic checks on the development of the town. Her demands met with dull ear with the local authority, but sharpened people' s consciousness of the misery of the city and its inhabitants.
It was they who successfully led the then regime to abandon a disputed global community building in the vicinity of the Shwedagon Pagoda, because they feared that the building would jeopardise the power of the religion and leave a stain on an important nation's legacy. The Yangon is fortunate to have groups like the Yangon Trust struggling for our centuries-old collective building, the biggest in Southeast Asia.
This trust won over the preceding administration of the importance of these structures and won them over to keep them intact. The Yangon is expected to have a total of 10 million inhabitants by 2040. London School of Economics's (LSE) International Growth Center says it will be growing more rapidly than many other city centres in the area, this includes Bangkok.
Yangon is at a crucial point with this project - with fast changes in society, economy and environment that call for a well-rounded strategy. The absence of a land-use planning and zone control system in Bangkok has resulted in random city expansion. For Yangon it is not too early to forget Bangkok's errors.
In order to achieve this, it is now the right moment for the regional authorities of Yangon to put things right. In spite of the criticisms of the bad administration of the reforms of the public transport system at the beginning of this year, the regime seems determined to make the system a success and is gradually making it better. This kind of readiness is necessary to make Yangon liveable again.
I' ve been told that the goverment is now revising, improving and designing the policy to take advantage of the stubborn town' s economic growth. U Phyo Min Thein, Regional Chief Minister, must take the proposals of local authorities seriously when it comes to developing the right decision for Yangon. However, the people's governments must act for the benefit of the vast majority of the population.
In the past, Yangon was one of the most attractive towns in Southeast Asia. Authorities believe that with appropriate regulations, plans and a little fuss, the town could recover its former splendour. It is not only the government's duty - we as inhabitants should also do our part to make the best of the town, respectful of its roads and keep them spotless.
I' m longing for my Yangon to be great again.