July 10, 2018
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.
Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Future
When planning a new city, it would be irresponsible not to consider how it should look like 25 to 30 years from now. I have no doubt that New Yangon City will become a vibrant part of the Greater Yangon Area as well as become the vanguard of its economic growth, especially in the face of inevitable urbanisation. As such, the NYDC team is factoring in all the necessary provisions to meet these demands in years to come.
That said, our major emphasis today is to have Phase 1 – which covers approximately 10% of the entire New Yangon City area – up and running in an efficient, effective, and productive manner. What this means is that one of the most important tasks the team at NYDC is concentrating on is the careful planning for all basic infrastructure to be in place according to schedule and operating sustainably. This includes utilities like power, water, waste treatment, road networks, public transport, cargo transport, bridges and waterway accessibility, digital connectivity, mobile communications, and public services such as hospitals, schools, parks and green areas.
Since all these work streams will be undertaken by different commercial entities from the private sector and executed in parallel, the coordination of the work streams by different investors/contractors will be a major challenge. We must be equipped with a competent team capable of managing this orchestration of works. I am pleased to say that this team is coming together well, even as it will require augmenting in the coming months.
Our Priority Today
In the context of the larger picture, we are consciously cognizant of the nature of Phase I of the New Yangon City, which is to start as an industrial complex with a clear mission of creating jobs. As such, there is an emphasis on developing urban services to cater to these strata of industrial denizens. The shiny skyscrapers and the luxury homes will eventually follow in due course, but they are certainly not a priority at this stage of development.
Expenditure on non-urgent services at this phase is also an important consideration in our planning. For example, we will need four lanes for our artery roads for now, although we have planned and left provisions for expansion to six lanes sometime in the future. Today we shall build only as needed. Sound judgement and good governance shall dictate these decisions going forward.
In my upcoming blogs, I shall be discussing other infrastructure elements such as public transport. The feedback from the Town Hall event we held on 23 July continues to flow in and we very much appreciate hearing about your perspectives and takeaways.