New Yangon expansion plans mooted
The government is sounding out urban experts for fresh ideas on expanding Yangon beyond its urban borders, after the previous administration’s plans for the city fell short.
AN urban expert has approached the government with fresh ideas for expanding Yangon beyond its urban borders, in the hope of encouraging well-planned development, after the previous administration’s ambitious but vague plans for the city fell short.
Faced with accelerating urban growth, municipal authorities under the Thein Sein government planned to build seven satellite towns on the outskirts of Yangon but failed, partly due to opposition from communities but mostly because of a lack of detailed planning.
Only one tender out of seven was called, for the Southwest New City, an 11,716-acre site between the Pan Hlaing River, the Twante-Yangon Canal, the Hlaing River and the Hlaing Tharyar-Twante road in western Yangon.
The three companies that applied for the tender were awarded the contract and asked to work together. However, no work has yet started because the company is still waiting for permission from the current government to build a bridge across the Hlaing River to connect the area with central Yangon.
Now the government may scrap these old plans altogether and look for new locations to build, U Nay Naing Oo (NLD; Twante) told The Myanmar Times.
Satellite towns are part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s Greater Yangon 2040 master plan, which aims to cater to an expected urban population of 10 million by 2040.
“Yangon needs satellite towns, so the Planning, Finance and Economic Committee is asking experts where they think the best places are to build. We will submit their ideas to Yangon Region parliament,” U Nay Naing Oo said.
Urban planner U Kyaw Latt presented a new plan to the committee last week, he said, including four possible locations for satellite towns: Lay Daungkan ward in East Dagon township; a site near to Kalawe Bridge in Thanlyin township; a site between Dala and Kungyangon townships; and a site on the western side of Yangon River in Kyeemyindaing township.
The government is also debating whether or not to pursue the Southwest New City project, U Nay Naing Oo said.
“We have been discussing whether this is a good place to build a new city,” he said.
“U Kyaw Latt said the [former government’s] project should not be built and pointed out that Lay Daungkan in East Dagon includes 17,000 acres of affordable land that would not be too expensive for the government to buy from residents.”
The area is also not too far from a main road that leads to Bago, where a new international airport is planned at Hanthawaddy, he said.
The Yangon-Mandalay railway also passes through the area.
Committee chair Daw Sandar Min said this is the first time the Yangon government has discussed urban expansion plans with experts and noted that discussions are still at a preliminary stage.
“We will meet with a wide range of urban experts and discuss the city’s development many times,” she said.
“We will only make an official announcement when we have a detailed plan.”