July 25, 2018
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.
It is therefore imperative that we get the master planning of the New Yangon City right at the outset.
We start by painting a clear vision which I’ve shared during the launch of NYDC, as well as in many of my blogs, and during our first Townhall session last month. We then create the master plan and the detailed urban, and infrastructure master plan and engineering designs to match this vision.
I do not promise that we will get the perfect master plan that satisfies everybody but I assure you that we will put in serious effort to do so. A master plan, will provide us with a roadmap for all future development decisions on this project, and it will help to avoid any potential expensive mistakes that need to be rectified later on.
In Myanmar, we have our own experts – architects, engineers and urban planning professionals – whom I know would be more than happy to provide and contribute their insights in the master planning of the New Yangon City. In the coming weeks, we will be organising Round Table sessions with the Association of Myanmar Architects, the Myanmar Engineering Society and other professionals related to urban planning to gather their comments before embarking on the actual master plan design.
We hope to get the widest reach of consultations so that we may come up with a superior master plan for the New Yangon City. These consultative initiatives are important as it allows input from all professional parties up front and sets expectations for how things will develop over a number of months or years.
We have also commissioned global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company to develop a Socio-Economic Master Plan (SEMP), and we are grateful to the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) for funding this work. The purpose of the SEMP can be found in one of my earlier blogs — Towards a Safe, Smart, Clean and Liveable Yangon.
The report is to crystallised the important factors relating to socio-economic aspects in planning a “Productive City and a Liveable City”, and will be a key strategic manual to guide the development of New Yangon City, and to balance the dual goals of economic growth and urban liveability by providing economic and infrastructure development benchmarks, targets and guidelines.
I’m sure many of you are anxious to read the report which I’m happy to say is now completed and will be made available to the public on our website in early August.
Countries and cities could move from the first world to the third world through neglect and the lack of planning. We could also easily move from the third world to the first world if we are determined, and if we bring together the collective efforts of like-minded individuals with the will to pursue methodologies and solutions that are relevant for the goals we set out.
The path we choose is key.