The term ‘triple transition’ is often used to describe the rapid changes that are taking place in Myanmar in the last eight years. The switch to democratic governance, shift to a market economy and internal regional harmony followed in quick succession leading to rapid growth of the economy as well as cities, particularly Yangon. The Strategic Development Plan for Yangon Region estimates that the 2014 population of 5.7 million will double by 2040. Most of this growth is expected to be absorbed in the suburban townships, which are emerging as industrial, educational and service hubs and are home to the increasing population of migrant workers. The new government formed by the National League for Democracy recognises that planned development of these townships is important for the future of Yangon. It is also open to examining planning processes which are different from the top-down systems instituted by the previous military regime and which can lead to “democracy in practice”. It is in this context that IHS (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam) has been asked by the Yangon City Development Committee to provide technical support and build capacity to put in place a process of township planning, within the overall framework of the Strategic Plan. The presentation discusses the opportunities and challenges in this and a practical way forward that is being piloted in 3 very different and diverse townships.
Banashree Banerjee is an urban planner, working as an independent consultant and also as an associate staff member of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam. In a career spanning more than three decades, the focus of her work has been on inclusive approaches to urban planning and management, particularly related to the poor. Her other interest is urban land management, in which she has considerable experience related to practice, research and teaching. Banashree has worked as a consultant on urban planning and poverty reduction projects supported by bilateral and international agencies in India, Egypt, Korea, Myanmar, Phillipines and Bangladesh. In the past Banashree has worked with Human Settlement Management Institute (HSMI) Delhi, in the Department of Town Planning of Kerala State and taught at Delhi School of Planning and Architecture. She has been providing technical support on urban issues to NGOs and has several publications to her credit. She has undertaken prestigious international assignments such as Panelist at the World Urban Forum 2010; Chairperson of the International Jury for the UN-HABITAT best Practices Awards; and working group member of the Global Commission for Legal Empowerment of the Poor. She is part of the International Expert Group on Land and Housing of UN-HABITAT and member of UN-ESCAP’s expert committee on SDG 6.