The Yangon region government has come under flak since March, when it announced the launch of a new Yangon City project at the west bank of Yangon River. If and when the first phase of the US$5 billion development is complete, it will include five village townships, two bridges, 26km of artery roads, 10 sq km of industrial estate, power plants, transmission and distributions facilities as well as fresh water supply and wastewater treatment plants.
Development of the new city is necessary, government officials say, given the rate at which Yangon’s population is expected to expand. By 2040, the population is expected to double to 10 million from 5 million in 2014, according to official estimates. In that light, the government believes additional jobs, homes, utilities and infrastructure, embodied within the new city, is required.
Myanmar’s commercial centre Yangon, is one of the fastest growing cities on the planet. Its population is estimated to be around 10 million, says Mayor U Maung Maung Soe. The Mayor has turned to celebrities and popular icons such as the Power Rangers to help educate the public on issues plaguing the city.
Living in the downtown area pack of people and vehicles, walking everyday back and forth around the area, one cannot avoid crossing two or three main roads. It is even more difficult to cross from one side to the other when standing in the middle of one street without the traffic lights working. Sometimes it takes from 5 to 10 minutes for us to cross the streets because no drivers are willing to stop and give way to pedestrians, especially on wide streets.
Maha Bandula Park is a public open park located in downtown Yangon, near the iconic Sule Pagoda. The Independence Monument in Maha Bandula Park stands in the center of the park, which commemorates the independence of Myanmar from the British colonisers. There is a playground for children and a lot of open space for people to do the exercises and other activities.
Under the project, buildings along the roadside of Chinatown will be renovated and painted, and pavements, power cables and street lamp posts will also be repaired with the aim to recreate a clean, modern area in the downtown.
Myanmar has laid out new urban development projects of Yangon region inviting local and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the master plan through a recent Yangon Investment Forum held in the commercial city.
The Yangon Region Investment Committee outlined that sub-centers, new towns, railway stations and industrial zones will be established as part of the new urban development plan.
A British colonial-era building that appears in the Yangon City Heritage List has been torn down by a developer to make way for a construction project in Yangon’s Bahan Township.The building, named The Mayor’s Residence, in the 13-acre compound of the now-defunct Myayeik Nyo Hotel was demolished in February by Zaykabar Company, which is developing a US$500m project on the site comprising 12 buildings with heights ranging from 382 to 412 feet.The project on military-owned land has been suspended until the Yangon government approves its proposed safety measures for a 92-year-old reservoir nearby.
The regional government administering Myanmar’s major commercial capital Yangon and its vicinity is giving life to a stalled expansion plan aimed at eventually transforming the country’s largest city into the next Southeast Asian economic hub, twice the size of Singapore.
Myanma Railways selects winner for $2.5 billion Yangon railway station project Frontier Myanmar, Thursday, 15 February 2018
Myanmar Railways has chosen a consortium of Myanmar, Chinese and Singaporean firms to undertake the massive Yangon Central Railway Station redevelopment – one of the country’s largest property projects to date, with an estimated US$2.5 billion price tag.Singapore-listed Oxley Holdings announced last night that its consortium, which also includes Myanmar’s Min Dhama and China’s Sino Great Wall, had been selected as the preferred bidder for the project.
Draft Municipal Law for Yangon Draws Fire from Lawmakers, Urban Planners The Irrawaddy, Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Members of the Yangon Region Parliament condemned a new draft law for proposing to allow the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), the municipality’s governing body, to run business enterprises with tax revenue from the city’s 5 million-plus residents. It is intended to replace the existing 1922 City of Rangoon Municipal Act and the 2013 Yangon City Development Committee Law because they need to be reformed, according to the state counselor.
The new draft was submitted to Parliament on Feb. 2 by Mayor U Maung Maung Soe on behalf of the Yangon Region government. It has attracted criticism from architects and urban planners who say it has weak provisions for urban planning management and that measures to prevent conflicts of interest involving YCDC members were nonexistent.
From law courts to luxury in Yangon Nikkei Asian Review, Sunday, 11 February 2018
Downtown Yangon’s largest restoration project to date will open its doors this spring, no longer as a somber law and justice institution, but as a luxurious five-star hotel. The transformation of Myanmar’s colonial-era New Law Courts into the elegant Heritage Hotel Kempinski Yangon will not only help meet demand for upmarket hotel rooms and function spaces in the city. It will also act as a spur to other restoration projects that will eventually dispel the ghost-town pall that has hung over the colonial heart of Yangon since the Myanmar government decamped wholesale to the stark new capital Naypyitaw in 2005-06.
Leaders see bustling, vibrant Yangon with ‘old town’ The Myanmar Times, Tuesday, 30 January 2018
The conference, held on Friday, was organised by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) in time for its 5th anniversary and to generate support for its activities to conserve and revitalise Yangon’s downtown heritage area.
YHT was established in 2012 as a centre of excellence in urban building and cultural heritage management. Its mission is to raise awareness of the city’s heritage assets and to encourage authorities and others to protect those assets.
Among those participating in the meeting were regional and city government officials, representatives of local and international NGOs, national and international experts and businessmen.
Secretariat building renovated for Martyrs’ Day three-day event The Myanmar Times, Wednesday, 19 July, 2017
Myanmar’s Secretariat building, which has been renovated with some of the original furnishings, will open to the public for three days starting Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day, when General Aung San and eight others were assassinated, said Darren McLean, project manager.
There have been many challenges in this renovation project since the 125-year-old building had been empty for a long time, and there was water and termite damage, he said.
Will Yangon’s Secretariat be Returned to the Public? The Irrawaddy, Tuesday, 18 July, 2017
RANGOON — As a child in the 1950s, Tin Tun played football on the grounds of Rangoon’s Secretariat complex, just across from his home on Bo Aung Kyaw Road, formerly Sparks Road.
“At that time, people were allowed to enter and explore the old colonial buildings. As neighborhood children, we played there in our free time,” the 71-year old said.
“I want to see the building returned to the public,” he said, sat at his residence some ten paces distant from the edge of the Secretariat compound. The redbrick colonial structure, more than 120 years old and now ringed with bamboo scaffolding, is visible beyond a fence rising from the adjoining pavement.
Sustainable Yangon relies on waterfront and railway Myanmar Times, Thursday, 22 June, 2017
Yangon has a framework to become a sustainable city, with three key areas which need to be prioritised for development in order to develop the city’s sustainability, said Robert Marshall, director of planning and landscape of Canada-based urban planning firm B+H Architects.
Pedestrian routes through historic central business district (CBD) areas, water bus transport and railroad re-development is needed for more sustainable urbanism in Yangon, he said at the Yangon Sustainable Development seminar at Sule Shangrila last Monday.
Sustainable Development of Yangon City Requires a Holistic Vision
Mizzima News, Tuesday, June 20, 2017
“The idea of sustainable urban development is all about seeking economic, social and environmental returns on investment and that should be the aim of the government, private sector and all other interested stakeholders”. This was the central message of a seminar held at Sule-Shangrila yesterday, 19 June, on Sustainable Urban Development of Yangon, organized by B+H architects in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada in Yangon.
Insein GTI to reopen with German help
Myanmar Times, Monday, June 19,2017
The 120-year-old Government Technical Institute (GTI) in Insein township, Yangon Region is set to reopen its doors once again and will teach technical and vocational subjects with the help of the German government.
U Aye Myint, Director General for the Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Education (MOE) said the institute will be run in joint partnership between the MOE and the German government.
Train around Yangon: Old, slow, and beats traffic
Bangkok Post, Tuesday, June 13,2017
YANGON, Myanmar — To ride Yangon’s charmingly decrepit Circle Line train is to ride through history.
Built more than 60 years ago to connect rural suburbs and townships to the city’s commercial heart, its trains — some almost as old as the line itself — move nearly 100,000 people a day, in a slow, 28-mile loop around Myanmar’s biggest city.
When Will The Democracy Deliver ‘Car-Independence’ Day In Yangon? The Huffington Post, Monday, June 5, 2017
At the dawn of the 21st century, planners around the world will consider a new agenda for cities. They would shrug off the dimly remembered nightmare of snaking concrete highways and smog-occluded horizons.
A time for new beginnings for many would mean reallocating the expensive real estate we call roads to forms of mobility that are more efficient and less polluting. People may work towards declaring a “car-independence day” and start to create change by looking to the orderly bicyclo-polises of northern Europe.
Cabinet meeting room in secretariat where Bogyoke Aung San was assassinated to be restored
Mizzima News, Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The cabinet meeting room in the secretariat where Bogyoke Aung San and other martyrs were assassinated will be restored to the original design and will be displayed to the public as a museum. The technical consultant on conservation and Director of Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) Moe Moe Lwin said on May 27 that they met with historians and museum experts regarding conservation of the secretariat building.
History lives on in Yangon TTR Weekly, Friday, May 26, 2017
Yangon Heritage Trust has recognized the Yangon Stock Exchange building as the latest historic landmark to receive a Blue Plaque.
According to YHT, the Blue Plaque installed at the Yangon Stock Exchange was the trust’s 18th plaque. YHT awards Blue Plaques to distinguish Yangon’s top architectural landmarks. Blue Plaques are permanent signs installed on public places to commemorate a link between locations and a famous person, event, or landmark. They serve as historical markers.
Yangon has about 6,000 heritage buildings in nine townships: Survey Mizzima, Monday, May 15, 2017
Yangon has about 6,000 heritage buildings in nine townships including downtowns, according to a survey conducted by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), a non-governmental organisation founded by historian U Thant Myint-U to conserve historic buildings in the city, state media reported on 15 May. Since 2013, the YHT has conducted a survey to collect data about heritage buildings across the city.
Rangoon Survey Reveals Nearly 6,000 Heritage Buildings The Irrawaddy,Monday, May 15, 2017
RANGOON—An on-going survey conducted by Yangon Heritage Trust has revealed that the former capital has nearly 6,000 heritage buildings across the city.
The non-governmental organization advocating for heritage protection in the city has been carrying out the Urban Heritage Inventory since it was founded in 2012. So far it has logged nearly 6,000 heritage buildings—some dating back to British colonial times—in nine townships in the downtown area and its surroundings.
Celebrating art in the city Frontier Myanmar, Tuesday May 2, 2017
PATHEIN PARASOLS were suspended as if floating above the pedestrian overpass on Sule Pagoda Road, while “visual poetry” on Pansodan Road lined the last stretch of the commute from Dala, and a “Sound Suit” invited park-goers to step inside a megaphone-punctured canvas enclosure and take control of the airspace.
These public art installations were among nearly a dozen featured in the second annual My Yangon My Home art and heritage festival, hosted across the city from February 25 to March 12.
Grand designs: saving Yangon’s crumbling colonial architecture Southeast Asia Globe, Friday, April 7, 2017
Events in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, have been the focus of most attention since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party was swept to power in a landslide election in November 2015.
But an upheaval is also taking place in the country’s economic heart of Yangon – and it could have significant implications for how the city develops in the years to come.
Yangon is at a juncture. It’s fuelling Myanmar’s economic boom – the country had the fastest-growing economy in Asia in 2015-16 – but it’s also choked with traffic, suffers regular power outages and is enduring a housing affordability crisis. Many have no access to government-supplied water or sewerage.
The Top 10 Things to Do in Myanmar The Culture Trip, Friday, April 7, 2017
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was coined the Golden Land for its rich cultural history and natural resources. A country that has endured several decades of rise-and-fall empires and military dictatorships, it is now a coveted tourist destination. In the past few years, Myanmar has opened up for tourism and holds a special place in many enlightened souls who pass through. Here are some must-do activities when visiting this vibrant place.
Saving Gandhi Hall The Irrawaddy, Tuesday March 7, 2017
RANGOON — With rusty accordion gates, broken windows and pigeon droppings dappled down the façade, the three-story building standing at the corner of Bo Aung Kyaw and Merchant Road in downtown Rangoon is a shadow of its former self. Though it has been locked for years, street vendors have reclaimed its grounds, above them a faded sign on top of a gate in English and Burmese: Mahatma Gandhi Hall.
Thant Myint-U: ‘Everything is interlinked’
Frontier Myanmar, Monday March 6, 2017
Five years ago, a group of architects, historians, businesspeople and others banded together to form the Yangon Heritage Trust in a last-ditch attempt to preserve Yangon’s unique character. While the initial aim was to save the city’s heritage buildings, which were in danger of being torn down, the group’s focus has since expanded to broader questions of urban development. Frontier’s Thomas Kean spoke to YHT founder Dr Thant Myint-U about the challenges in getting large-scale restoration projects off the ground, the chief minister’s support for the trust’s work and the economic case for preserving the past.
Heritage preservation potential boost for tourism
The Myanmar Times, Monday 6 March, 2017
On March 1, Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein posted a clip on Facebook saying that the regional government is preserving around 200 heritage buildings in Yangon.
“We are preserving heritage buildings in Yangon numbering about 200 buildings … We also plan to preserve and renovate … the old Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Office building and the Secretariat without doing any damage to [their] heritage value. It [the project] would be supervised directly by the regional government,” the chief minister said. Yangon Regional Government, in cooperation with Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) and Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), is heading the installation of blue plaques at buildings for preservation and commemoration.
Old St Paul’s High School gets heritage blue plaque
The Myanmar Times, Friday 3 March, 2017
One of the oldest schools in Yangon – Basic Education High School No 6, Botahtaung – has been presented the 17th commemorative Blue Plaque by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT). YHT founding chair Dr Thant Myint-U said Yangon has a proud history in teaching and learning, with the city producing many locally and internationally-renowned scholars and statesmen. He said the 157-year-old school, formerly known as St Paul’s High School, had been one of Myanmar’s prominent schools since it opened.
Saving the historic Excelsior tops the bill in Yangon Nikkei Asiann Review, Friday February 3, 2017
Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks was accustomed to adulation, but even he was overwhelmed by the reception when he arrived in Yangon, then called Rangoon, in March 1931. Fairbanks, who was on a tour through Asia, was in Burma, now Myanmar, on his way to India. He checked into the famous Strand Hotel and was immediately besieged by crowds of fans who had camped outside and eventually burst into the lobby.
Blue badge of distinction honours Bogyoke Market
Frontier Myanmar, Friday, January 20, 2017
YANGON — Bogyoke Aung San Market has been honoured with a blue plaque that recognises the historic and architectural significance of the second most popular tourist destination in the commercial capital. Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein presided over the installation ceremony on January 20, cutting a ribbon and using auspicious Eugenia leaves to sprinkle water over the plaque, on a wall near the main entrance to the market.
It is the 16th blue plaque to be attached to buildings of historic importance in the commercial capital under a project launched by the Yangon Heritage Trust and the Yangon City Development Committee in 2013.
Blue Plaque unveils at Bogyoke Aung San Market
Global New Light of Myanmar, Friday, January 20, 2017 Bogyoke Aung San Market, also know as Scott Market, on Bogyoke Aung San Street on Friday received the Blue Plaque of the Yangon Heritage Trust.
The Blue Plaque is the 16th issued under the YHT’s efforts to highlight historical buildings and renowned residents who contributed to the narrative of the city.
Since its opening in 1926, Bogyoke Market has been a place for Yangon residents to shop the latest fashion materials, art supplies, souvenirs and a place to hang out for leisure.
Rangoon to Launch Public Waterfront Area in 2017
The Irrawaddy, Thursday, December 8, 2016
RANGOON — In an attempt to promote tourism, the Rangoon Division government will open a public downtown waterfront area next year, creating another tourist destination in Burma’s business hub. Situated on the bank of Hlaing River, also known as the Rangoon River, the former capital of Burma boasts a long riverfront, but public access to the area has been very limited due to the presence of walled warehouses, jetties and ports scattered along the banks. In order to access a view of their city’s river, residents of Rangoon currently cram into a few jetties where they can engage in morning exercise or evening walks.
The attractive niche of Yangon’s pro-heritage movement
Nikkei Asian Review, Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Yangon’s future started to brighten after the 2010 general election, which brought President Thein Sein to power and with him, an unprecedented period of political and economic reforms. The Yangon Heritage Trust, set up in 2012 by Thant Myint U — grandson of former United Nations Secretary General U Thant — and Myanmar architect Moe Moe Lwin, found a supporter in the former president, albeit less so among some of his ministers. “Six years back, downtown Yangon was turning into a lot of electrical appliance shops, but now you have new cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, youth hostels and boutique hotels instead,” said YHT Director Moe Moe Lwin.
Yangon streets celebrate heritage
Myanmar Times, Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The streets of downtown Yangon were filled even more than usual over the weekend as the Yangon Living Street Experience Project drew thousands of curious visitors. The two day event – organised by Yangon Regional Government in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Yangon City Development Committee, Yangon Heritage Trust and others – was held to celebrate downtown’s past, present and future.
Preserving Yangon’s architecture
BBC News,Thursday, December 1, 2016
Myanmar’s economy is now one of the fastest-growing in Asia as it opens up and emerges from five decades of military rule.But those years of stagnation also meant a degree of protection for the colonial-era buildings in the old capital, Yangon. There simply wasn’t the money, or the need to redevelop.But with things changing fast, can the city’s unique architecture be preserved?
In Yangon, gentrification shouldn’t be a dirty word The Myanmar Times, Friday, October 21, 2016 I’ve lived in Myanmar a little while; long enough that on the occasions that I leave, I’ve become quite enamoured by things in other countries that I previously would’ve found unremarkable. Whenever I go somewhere else and see a woman smoking a cigarette, I get a weird and unjustified feeling of happiness. There are so many cultural restrictions on female conduct in public places here – what women can wear, where they can go, how they should behave – that a cigarette in the hand of a woman now seems emblematic of gender equality, despite the fact that smoking is one of the single worst things a person can do to their body.
Board of Trustees Formed to Spearhead Secretariat Renovations
THE IRRAWADDY, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
RANGOON—The Rangoon Division government has formed a board of trustees to manage renovations on one of Burma’s most famous colonial-era buildings, the Secretariat, said Rangoon Division Minister for Electricity, Transport and Communication Daw Nilar Kyaw.
YHT publishes new plan to rejuvenate Yangon
Eleven Media, Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) released on September 27 its new plan to rejuvenate Yangon by conserving its heritage sites and modernising its infrastructure to make it “Asia’s most livable city”. The plan includes maps, descriptions and opinions on preserving Yangon’s heritage places and strategies for long-term development. The plan includes 24 projects, including expanding green spaces and upgrading road systems in downtown Yangon to make the city a hub for international art and culture.
Heritage Group Reveals Rangoon Conservation PlanTHE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, September 27, 2016RANGOON — Burma’s prominent heritage conservation body, the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), revealed its conservation strategy for the country’s former capital as it said Rangoon is “at a tipping point” and that without action there will be a terrible loss of cultural and natural heritage. The “Yangon Heritage Strategy” is a 150-page report that outlines YHT’s vision and strategy to combine heritage conservation and sustainable development. Meant for all relevant stakeholders—from national leaders to street vendors, city residents and businesses—it includes 24 “Action Plans” on issues ranging from the expansion of green space to improved streetscapes to transforming downtown Yangon into a future international hub for arts and culture.
Will Rangoon’s Secretariat be Returned to the Public? THE IRRAWADDY| Wednesday, August 10, 2016 RANGOON — As a child in the 1950s, Tin Tun played football on the grounds of Rangoon’s Secretariat complex, just across from his home on Bo Aung Kyaw Road, formerly Sparks Road. “At that time, people were allowed to enter and explore the old colonial buildings. As neighborhood children, we played there in our free time,” the 71-year old said. “I want to see the building returned to the public,” he said, sat at his residence some ten paces distant from the edge of the Secretariat compound. The redbrick colonial structure, more than 120 years old and now ringed with bamboo scaffolding, is visible beyond a fence rising from the adjoining pavement.
Yangon heritage building to become national library The Myanmar Times, Monday, 01 August 2016 President U Htin Kyaw has approved a Yangon Heritage Trust proposal to relocate the National Library to downtown Yangon, making the national archives more visible and available to the public.The books will be moved from their current location on Thiri Mingalar Yeikthar Road in Yankin township to the former Burma Oil Company headquarters on Merchant Street, after the building has been renovated by YHT.“This will be a great step forward for the rejuvenation of the old downtown. The library will also be far more accessible to the general public,” wrote YHT chair U Thant Myint-U on the group’s Facebook page.
Threatened treasures TTG Asia, April 1, 2016
In a region that has lost much of its architectural heritage, Yangon stands out for its intact colonial core, due to years of neglect and stagnancy under the military junta and lack of foreign investors during its decades of isolation. The government’s decision to move the capital from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw in 2005 further hastened the deterioration of the already-crumbling colonial-era administrative buildings. Yet as the country makes unprecedented strides towards international trade and tourism since opening its doors in 2011, Yangon’s faded glamour – made up of a kaleidoscope of cultures, golden temple spires and a rich palette of building styles and types – is undeniably the biggest draw for Myanmar’s former capital, attest tour operators that TTG Asia spoke to.
Rebirth of Yangon building points way for city’s crumbling heritage AFP, 12 June 2016 Home to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and a collage of businesses that burst to life as Myanmar’s largest city wakes up, the colonial-era building known simply as ‘491-501 Merchant Street’ holds a mirror up to Yangon. It has also just received a $325,000 facelift, sprucing up its grand but crumbling edifice with the support of the community it houses. Heritage experts now hope that collaborative process will serve as a blueprint for saving the city’s other architectural treasures ravaged by years of neglect under the former junta.
Commemorative plaque unveiled at Myanmar’s only synagogue World Jewish Congress, Wednesday, 08 June 2016
Senior Burmese government officials visited the only synagogue in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar (Burma), on the occasion of the unveiling of plaque to commemorate the Jewish presence in the South-East Asian country.Apart from several ministers and the ambassadors of Israel and Canada to Myanmar, Thant Myint U, the grandson of former UN Secretary-General U Thant; Daw Than Than Nu, the daughter of a former Burmese prime minister, and the leaders from Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Baha’i communities were present at the ceremony.
Indian embassy receives blue heritage plaque The Myanmar Times, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 The Indian embassy on Yangon’s Merchant Road is the latest historic building to receive a blue plaque from Yangon Heritage Trust. At a ceremony yesterday, the plaque was installed on one of the tallest structures to be recognised for its historical and architectural features, said YHT communications manager Ma Shwe Yinn Mar Oo.The five-storey embassy is the 12th building in Yangon to be recognised by YHT. Build in 1914 to house the offices of a Calcutta-based insurance firm, Oriental Life Assurance, the building has been occupied by the Indian embassy since 1957.
Yangon Historical Districts under Threat ASEAN Travel, May 25 2016
UK Newspaper the Guardian published this week a special report about changes in Yangon skyline. Along with the arrival of democracy and the first civilian government since 1962, Myanmar is also embracing the novelty of unbridled speculative development. Six months on from the election that swept the Nobel prize-winning campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi’s party to power, the skyline of Yangon is bristling with cranes and concrete frames as a clutch of new towers rises above the mouldering rooftops of the old colonial centre. With the city’s population set to double to 10 million over the next two decades, flocks of foreign investors are circling, eager to reap the spoils of Asia’s “final frontier market”. The fragile historic fabric, along with the people it houses, has never been under such pressure.
Yangon’s restoration gathers pace Nekkei Asian Review, 27 May 2016 YANGON — Yangon is often portrayed in the media as a city of crumbling colonial buildings, decaying after half a century of military misrule and the government’s abrupt transfer to the shiny, new purpose-built capital, Naypyitaw, a decade ago.But efforts are underway to renovate Yangon’s remarkable collection of British-era buildings and convert them to practical uses to breathe new life back into the city. One example is the reopening of a modest row of two-story shophouses on 491-501 Merchant Street in the heart of the former capital in late April. That followed a 10-month restoration project undertaken by the Yangon Heritage Trust, an independent body set up by Thant Myint-U, a historian and grandson of the former United Nations Secretary General U Thant, to preserve the city’s historic architecture.
Yangon heritage gets a face-lift The Myanmar Times, Tuesday, 17 May 2016 Ronnie and Thida live in an old colonial building on 491-501 Merchant Street. They host 4:30am meditation sessions and Ronnie studies astrology in the apartment, which has belonged to his family since 1972.“This was a danger
ous building,” he says of his home. “Water always leaked from the roof, so it was difficult living here. Our room was constantly wet. The stairs were very rotten and slippery.”
Myanmar rising – how democracy is changing Yangon’s skyline
The Guardian, Friday 20 May 2016
As the country opens up to the outside world, the old capital has become the latest playground for international developers, putting the city’s historic fabric under pressure. Will its people be able to keep up?
“Premium life for your dream,” announces a billboard beneath a new tower of serviced apartments in the heaving, traffic-choked city of Yangon. “Play in infinite luxury,” says another featuring a couple lolling in a pool on their balcony, with a badly photoshopped pagoda twinkling in the background.
Inside the Fight to Save Southeast Asia’s Historic Movie Theaters The Hollywood Reporter 5/11/2016 Myanmar’s U.S. ambassador believes cinemas “are symbols of free speech, creativity and self-expression from a bygone era.” Nestled down a sleepy street in the historic Rattanakosin district of Bangkok, Thailand, the Nang Loeng Cinema was built in 1918 by the Siam Cinema Co. The theater closed its doors in 1993, around the time that shopping malls and modern multiplexes were popping up across Thailand, driving the country’s quaint single-screen neighborhood cinemas out of business. The 400-seat antique movie house is made entirely of Thai teak, except for its original galvanized iron roof. For years, the Nang Loeng Cinema was used as a warehouse for a nearby open-air market.
In Rangoon Building’s Restoration, Heritage and Homes Coexist
The Irrawaddy, Friday, April 29, 2016
RANGOON — A 100-year-old building in downtown Rangoon is undergoing a complete renovation, inside and out, due to the efforts of two heritage preservation groups and the cooperation of its residents, representatives from the NGOs said at a press conference on Friday. The building, which is now 90 percent finished, will be open for public viewing for three months starting on Saturday.
Living Restoration Yangon Life, 05 May, 2016
Yangon has many wonderful buildings, one of the finest collections in South East Asia. Many of them, especially the old colonial buildings are in disrepair, having long been neglected by the community. But the two-storied building at 491-501 Merchant Street, one of the colonial buildings, was chosen to be renovated by international NGO Turquoise Mountain and the Yangon heritage Trust in a project called ‘Living Restoration’.
Heritage Restored: Decades Old Residential Building In Yangon MITV, Friday, 29 April, 2016
A private owned heritage building in Yangon was renovated by the Yangon Heritage trust in its very first time in collaboration INGO Turquoise Mountain. The building lies on the Merchant road of downtown Yangon and is over 10 decade’s years of age. With the permission of the Yangon City Development Council, the conservation repair has been conducted since April 2014, in order to raise awareness on the value of heritage buildings among local people and authorities. The restoration was mainly conducted to the damaged roofs, doors and windows as well as electrical rewiring works in 2-year period.
Yangon zoning plan expected this year The Myanmar Times, Friday, 13 May 2016
Yangon’s zoning plan will finally go from draft to law this year, YCDC officials said earlier this week. The city plan was first drawn up in 2013 by a working committee with recommendations from urban planners and representatives from YCDC, the Ministry of Construction, Yangon Heritage Trust, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
SAVING THE CROWN JEWEL OF ‘CINEMA ROW’ FRONTIER, Thursday, 3 March 2016
An ambitious plan has been drafted to restore the Waziya cinema, the grandest of the seven movie houses that once lined Yangon’s Bogyoke Aung San Road.The Waziya Cinema in downtown Yangon is now sealed shut with padlocked gates; past front steps packed with vendors who were quick to claim the unused space, passersby can barely steal a look inside. It’s at least the fourth time the venue, a small but striking building in the shadow of one of the city’s few skyscrapers, has been shut down and reinvented. If it reopens, at best within two years, it will seem both very new and very familiar.
Developers in tearing hurry to level Yangon heritage buildings The Straits Times, Friday, 05 February 2016 A clutch of Yangon heritage buildings have been torn down in recent months, Myanmar conservation experts said, raising fears that developers are rushing through controversial demolitions before an Aung San Suu Kyi-led government takes power.Myanmar’s main city is in the throes of a construction boom, sparked by economic and political reforms under a quasi-civilian government led by former junta generals, which is in the process of ceding power to Ms Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party following its landslide election win in November.
Steering Yangon clear of urban disaster The Myanmar Times, Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Smart urban planning will determine Yangon’s future and – if the government gets it right – could be worth tens of billions of US dollars. U Thant Myint-U, founder of non-profit Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), said yesterday that urban policy planning will determine whether or not Yangon will have a multi-billion-dollar-a-year tourism industry.
A Changing Myanmar Finds a New Approach to Preservation CURBED, October 14, 2015
Rising high in the sky like a mountain and set against the backdrop of an ever more bustling metropolis, the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar. Located in the Southeast Asian country’s former capital and largest city of Yangon, the 2,500-year-old monument draws visitors from around the globe to view its pagoda, which is covered with hundreds of gold plates and diamond-encrusted stupa, a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine.
Burma: The fight to save Yangon’s crumbling colonial buildings TheTelegraph, October 06 2015
A walking tour around Myanmar’s largest city reveals the histories of the city’s beautiful but dilapidated buildings. “It’s now or never,” says my guide, May Lyar Soe, as she leads me into a beautiful red-brick building, pointing out where to avoid the vast holes in the marble floor. Like many buildings in downtown Yangon, there are trees growing out of the windows.
Myanmar marks a landmark TTR Weekly, September 22, 2015
YANGON, 22 September 2015: Yangon Heritage Trust gives a blue plaque for Lokanat Building in Yangon to distinguish it as one of the city’s top architectural landmarks.Blue Plaques are permanent signs installed at a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event, or landmark. They serve as a kind of historical marker. The government official media outlet, Global New Light of Myanmar, quoted the Yangon Heritage Trust, explaining the Lokanat Building was an example of diverse a living environment in Yangon’s downtown and one of the top attractions for tourists taking walking tours.
Yangon Heritage Trust marks history of Lokanat building The Myanmar Times, September 21, 2015
Yangon Heritage Trust has given its eighth blue plaque marking Yangon’s heritage to a 109-year-old colonial building at the corner of Pansodan and Merchants streets on September 18. The Lokanat building was constructed in 1906, and was best known for the Lokanat Art Gallery on the first floor, which imported tiles from Manchester over 100 years ago. The building is now occupied by the Internal Revenue Department and several private businesses, according to a press release.
Heritage law promises more protection The Myanmar Times, Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Construction projects near old buildings and pagodas will be required to receive permission from the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library under a new law. Yangon’s heritage buildings are increasingly viewed as a tourist draw, though many of them are under threat. The Protection and Preservation of Ancient Buildings Law passed last month is intended to protect the country’s ancient buildings, though the by-laws that will determine much of how the law works in practice have not yet been released. The Ministry of Culture currently grants permission for construction near old buildings using the 1998 Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regional Law, though will shift to the new law when its by-laws are released.
Yangon heritage trust in city for reference point The Times of India, August 21, 2015 KOLKATA: She has been walking tirelessly around Writers’ Buildings to study how some blocks of the heritage structure are being pulled down, hoping to take back knowledge to help restore heritage sites back home. Moe Moe Lwin, a heritage activist from Myanmar, is documenting and photographing heritage buildings here, focussing on those that have similarities with landmark buildings in Yangon.
New life to old building with renovations The Myanmar Times,August 14, 2015
Yangon Heritage Trust and an international NGO Turquoise Mountain are renovating a century-old building in downtown Yangon. The refurbishment of the building on Merchant Road between 39th and 40th streets is being carried out in keeping with international standards.The building will have a mix of commercial and residential uses when finished, a press released said.
Yangon Central Press building gets recognition, revamp The Myanmar Times, August 10, 2015
The Yangon Heritage Trust has added a symbolic blue plaque to its seventh city landmark: the century-old, still-working Central Press on Thein Phyu Road.The building, which has been in continuous use since 1912, officially joined six other historically significant edifices in Yangon in sporting the heritage markers yesterday. Although the blue plaque does not afford buildings legal protection, it does signify their importance and tell their stories to the public in Myanmar and English languages.
Historic Building: Blue Plaque Fixed At The Central Press MITV,August 9, 2015 Yangon Heritage Trust, in collaboration with YCDC and Royal Philips Corporation, fixed the Blue Plaque at the Central Press (Formerly Government Press) in Yangon, Sunday. Blue Plaques are one of the most effective and visible means to celebrate Yangon’s rich history. With their direct appeal to the public, the introduction of commemorative Blue Plaques will make Yangon’s history accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Developer quietly terminates project near Shwedagon Myanmar Eleven July 13, 2015
Though being first foreign project terminated, Dagon City 1 developer respects govt decision. Marga Landmark has agreed to follow the government’s order to terminate the project Dagon City 1 luxury development.”While everything we have done is proper, legal and for the best interest of our customers and the public, we respect the public sentiment, particularly that of the Sangha members, and we are working with the government toward an arrangement that upholds the international contract between Myanmar and foreign investors,” said a senior executive of Marga Landmark who asked not to be named.
Compensation key for cancelled projects The Myanmar Times (July 09, 2015)
The President’s surprise cancellation of the five developments near Shwedagon Pagoda on July 7 marked the culmination of a months-long protest movement to end the controversial projects.
Myanmar’s largest city finishes urban planning capacity building project Xinhua News Agency (The Yangon City Development Committee’s (YCDC) Urban Planning Unit has successfully completed its capacity building project over the past week, said a press release of the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) issued here Tuesday.The project was aimed at enhancing the quality of urban planning policies and practices and making urban planning processes more inclusive and accessible to citizens, the release said.
Yangon’s historic Post Office receive Blue Plaque My Magical Myanmar
A commemorative blue plaque was installed at the Yangon’s historic General Post Office on the Strand road on May 29, 2015 following the City Hall, AYA Bank (former Rowe & Co Department Store), Armenian Church and Central Fire Station. Located at the corner of Bo Aung Kyaw Street and the Strand road, the General Post Office is one of the listed heritage buildings compiled by Yangon City Development Committee. It is also one of the finest examples of architectural heritage in Yangon.
Study seeks Yangon residents’ views on city heritage The Global New Light Of Myanmar (May 26, 2015) The Yangon Heritage Trust will initiate a project in the city this month to study residents’ opinions on preservation and development of their local environment, the trust announced Tuesday. The programme will be led by the YHT, with the assistance of the New Zealand government and with the support of the Yangon City Development Committee, and will provide one of the first opportunities for downtown communities to express their views about the streets and urban environments they inhabit.
Shwedagon and Yangon cannot be divided, says forum speaker The Myanmar Times (May 19, 2015)
Shwedagon Pagoda is the historical and cultural centre of Yangon, and if its character should fade, the character of Yangon will also fade away, said Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, assistant director of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development’s Urban and Regional Planning Division.
Architect’s Forum Calls for Shwedagon Conservation Plan THE IRRAWADDY (May 18, 2015) In a written message to the forum, Thant Myint-U, chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, said Shwedagon must be the centrepiece of any plan for a 21st century Rangoon, together with its waterfronts and heritage architecture. “I believe there can and should be medium and high-rise development—but in their proper place,” he wrote. “There is more than enough room for the kind of growth and modernization we all want. There is no conflict with development. On the contrary—it is unplanned growth that will ultimately hinder and make impossible the sustainable development of Yangon.”
Developer warns against rumours on paused project The Myanmar Times (May 13, 2015)
U Thant Myint-U, a noted historian as well as founder and chair of the Yangon Heritage Trust, tweeted in February that it was a “brave decision” for Yangon government to suspend a project near Shwedagon. Yesterday, Yangon Heritage Trust vice chair and director Daw Moe Moe Lwin said the organisation welcomed the regional government and MIC’s decision to stop the current works in order to make a full reassessment of the Marga project. “Being next to the nationally significant Shwedagon Pagoda and other historic religious sites, this project should be considered very carefully for its potential impacts before any decision is made,” she said. “Any proposed project in the vicinity of the Shwedagon or other important cultural heritage sites must be carefully assessed for their heritage, environmental and social impacts before any decision is made.”
YCDC, heritage trust to press on with conservation law The Myanmar Times (May 5, 2015) The release of two draft heritage protection laws last month blindsided Yangon’s main heritage preservation group and the municipal authorities, who have been working together on a conservation law to protect the city’s heritage buildings.However, both say a dedicated conservation law for Yangon will still be needed, even if the new draft laws are enacted.
Saving Rangoon: the battle for Burma’s ancient and colonial heritage The Guardian (May 4, 2015) For more than two decades Moe Moe Lwin watched helplessly as Rangoon, her home city, transformed beyond recognition. Pavements vanished and the streets became clogged with cars. Beloved cinemas fell to bulldozers and green spaces slowly disappeared. “We had walked, played and worked all around these beautiful areas, and they had become totally normal, just a part of daily life,” remembers Lwin. “It’s only really when you start seeing these changes [that] you begin to appreciate what you had and what you have … we have a long history of architecture in Burma and a lot of history attached to these streets and buildings.”
Govt Proposes Heritage Protection Bills for Old Buildings and Objects THE IRRAWADDY (April 22, 2015)
RANGOON — Burma’s government has released two heritage protection bills that would help better protect heritage buildings and objects, an official said, a move that was welcomed by lawmakers and heritage protection advocates. State-run newspaper Myanma Alin on Monday published the two bills, named the Protection and Conservation of Ancient Buildings Bill and Protection and Conservation of Antiquities Bill, for public review.
Birthday party at Secretariat sparks social media firestorm The Myanmar Times (March 24, 2015)
A private birthday bash held in the grounds of Yangon’s famed but ruined Secretariat has kicked up a social media firestorm after U Aye Ne Win, grandson of the former military dictator, posted pictures on Facebook describing “a strong scent of nostalgia” at the party.
Online Backlash Over Secretariat Soirée THE IRRAWADDY (March 23, 2015)
RANGOON — The use of Rangoon’s historically treasured Secretariat building as venue for the birthday party of a former ruling general’s daughter has set off a wave of online criticism, after photos of the soirée circulated on Facebook over the weekend. On Saturday evening Thi Thi Tun, the daughter of former Lt-Gen Tun Kyi, and her friends gathered for a birthday party in the courtyard of the colonial-era complex where Burma’s independence leader Gen. Aung San and six of his interim cabinet members were assassinated 68 years ago.
Saving Yangon: Heritage on the Line THE IRRAWADDY (March 16, 2015)
As a long-time native of Yangon, U Maw Lin has witnessed many changes in the former capital city. He grew up in a flat overlooking the Sule Pagoda, in the heart of downtown, and as a child played football in Maha Bandoola Park just across the road. From there, he and his friends would walk west, to China Town, for a bowl of noodles. For a cup of tea, they would stroll east on spacious pavements. These were some of the most memorable experiences of his youth.
Debate rages on waterfront’s future
The Myanmar Times (11 March 2015)
The port facility ringing Strand Road on the Yangon River are being upgraded even as some experts are calling for increased public use of Yangon’s waterfront. Myanma Port Authority is overseeing the construction of 10 new jetties by a range of companies, all of which are slated to open this year. Plans include constructing more warehouses and commercial buildings near the waterfront while three of the new jetties have already opened.
History needs Help
Bangkok Post (March 9, 2015)
Settled between the green warehouses of Yangon’s Jetty Wharf, the historic colonial-era Keighley Street Goods Office of Burma Railways is in disrepair. Originally constructed in the 1880s with an attached rail line, the once-bustling depot was an important transfer point for goods between the city’s ports and inland Southeast Asia. Indeed, the city then known as Rangoon was itself a major trade hub for the region and a major source of income for the ethnic Indians who inhabited it in the early 20th century.