Heritage Trust Unveils ‘21st Century’ Blueprint for Rangoon

By The Irrawaddy 22 October 2015

RANGOON — Following a four-year study of Rangoon’s urban landscape, the Yangon Heritage Trust has unveiled its vision to revitalize the former capital.

Released on Wednesday and open to public consultation on the organization’s website, the ‘Yangon as a Great 21st Century City’ blueprint advocates preserving large tracts of Rangoon’s urban heritage as the city develops.

The plan outlines suggests conservation zones in most of the eight townships making up downtown grid, encouraging new developments around the existing circular railway line in the east and west of the city, and maintaining low-density neighborhoods in the townships between Sule Pagoda and Inya Lake.

Shwe Yin Mar Oo, the YHT’s communications and media manager, told The Irrawaddy that public input on the proposal will be referred to decision makers and development stakeholders for consideration as the blueprint evolves.

“Our vision is to have a good urban planning system that will cover the whole of Rangoon,” she said. “We think the next Rangoon government and regional parliament should make this a priority.”

The plan also recommends establishing a green belt around Shwedagon Pagoda and maintaining existing sightlines to the historic edifice.

Along with religious campaigners, architects and leading politicians, YHT founding chairman Thant Myint-U was a notable opponent of an aborted proposal to construct mixed-use developments on 72 acres of land in Dagon Township, telling The Irrawaddy in February that preservation of the green spaces around Shwedagon Pagoda was the single most important heritage conservation issue in the city.

The YHT’s plan suggests that the divisional government and municipal authorities concentrate new developments around the eastern side of the city around the confluence of the Rangoon River and Pazundaung Creek, as well as allowing for mixed industrial, commercial and residential developments in the area between the western rail line and the Hlaing River.