Myanmar is facing the onset of the approaching monsoon season with the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology warning of potential storms as the monsoon season nears. Whenever the rainy season hits upon us, we would hear constant laments on the conditions of our city’s drainage system.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking which ranks 140 cities for their urban quality of life. The cities are scored based on five categories — stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. Our hope is that one day Yangon will be ranked among the Top Ten cities.
Yangon is the economic capital and heart of our nation, with a rich history dating back to the early 11th century. Today, the city’s population of 7 million people contributes 19.3 trillion kyats to the economy, more than a quarter of Myanmar’s GDP.
The past weeks have been hectic as we approach the final stage of negotiations with China Communications Construction Company Ltd., (CCCC) for the preparation of the Pre-Project Documents (PPD). These documents will pave the way for the first stage of the NYDC Challenge. The details of the PPD would be announced soon and it includes the following scope of works:
There has been a lot of press reports and comments on social media questioning the validity of NYDC. Some have questioned whether NYDC is a properly approved entity, whether budget has been approved, or if funds are used appropriately.
As the Chief Executive of this company, it is not my intention to get involved in politics. My job is to create two million jobs, and the assignment is to bring Foreign Direct Investment
Consultations with the Myanmar Engineering Council, Myanmar Engineering Society, Myanmar Architect Council, Association of Myanmar Architects & other learned stakeholders.
Over the weekend, NYDC organised a special Roundtable meeting with members of the Myanmar Engineering Council, Myanmar Engineering Society, Myanmar Architect Council, the Association of Myanmar Architects and various other learned stakeholders at the function hall of the MES. Our Planning and Development Head Ms. Alicia Aye Aye Khine explained the salient points of the New Yangon City Socio-Economic Master Plan (SEMP) subsequent to which I chaired the Questions & Answers Session.
We have been quiet, but that doesn’t mean we have not been busy. August has been a hectic month as we plough through documents and conduct various negotiations and discussions.
Here I’m happy to update you on a few key things.
Planning a city from scratch is a bit like having a clean sheet of paper to draw on – it could be daunting, while at the same time, exhilarating. It has been done before, all over the world. We see success stories such as Singapore; with the city-state today reaping the fruits of its master planning. Diligently laid out in the 1960s, good planning transformed the newly-independent country where nearly three out of four people lived in slums, to what we see today, a thriving, modern city. Poor city planning or the lack of planning, on the other hand, would sow the seeds of urban ills.
I’ve noticed that lately the debate between developing ‘wasteful white elephant’ buildings versus the inclusion of shiny skyscrapers and luxury housing in the New Yangon City has been a keen focus for commentators, social media bloggers and the public. Therefore, this is what I will cover in this week’s discussion.
Last Saturday we held our first NYDC town hall meeting. More than 600 attendees and close to 1,000 viewers joining us via Facebook Live, and there were nearly 25,000 views after the event. It is heartwarming to see the level of interest and the desire of the public to want to have a more in-depth understanding of the New Yangon City project.
Since the launch of the New Yangon Development Company (NYDC) in March this year, questions have been raised about the project in the press and social media. It is very encouraging to see the level of interest in this project, both from those who voice support and from those who question some of the choices made by the Yangon Regional Government and NYDC.