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UN Labs Yangon

UN-Habitat is working on an exemplary city extension for Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar. The international team of planners consists of four Netherlands based firms: Posad Spatial Strategies, Urban Codes, Felixx Landscape Architects and MakeTank. The project is part of UN-Habitat’s Global Network of Urban Planning and Design Labs and results were presented at the Habitat III conference in Quito and at the Venice Biennale, as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition ‘Reporting From the Front’.

Myanmar stands at a defining point in its recent history. Since 2011, the country has seen a general trend towards social and economic liberalization and a more market-oriented economy, which leads to increasing urbanization. Ambitiously, the country is anticipating this growth by preparing plans for over 200 cities. The new planning law that any moment can come into effect, encourages cities to make plans, and offers a unique opportunity to define the future of many of Myanmar’s Cities.

Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar, facing a projected growth from over 5 million inhabitants in the current situation to 11 million people by 2040. The Htantabin area is one of seven sites that are appointed to accommodate this projected population growth. The masterplan by the UN-Habitat Urban Lab Team aims to turn this 100km2 area into a resilient and affordable urban environment, housing up to 750.000 people in 2040. The proposed setup of the new district is based on the creation of a resilient urban water system, and builds on the connections with the existing city. New centralities are proposed and different means of transport are integrated in the planning framework. Strategies are elaborated to allow for a phased development, realizing an urban environment with an adequate density, sufficient facilities and affordable housing units.

The project for Htantabin is being developed together with local planners from Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and the Ministry of Construction (MOC). The plan was presented this summer to the new minster of constructions, U Win Khaing, and was positively received. With this positive reception of the plan, the collaboration and capacity building continues into a next stage, for the further elaboration and implementation of the plan.