Development and Urbanization
The impact of the economic liberalization process that has taken place in Myanmar since 2010 has been particularly visible in the country’s cities, where 30% of its inhabitants live. While urbanization is not a recent phenomenon in the country, Myanmar studies have long focused mostly on the rural areas. During the last decade, there has been an acceleration of the urbanization process in the country, with Yangon continuing to serve as the main urban centre, and Mandalay as the second one. For decades under the military junta, urban planning was very limited. Nowadays, the cities are facing some major issues such as lack of infrastructure (for example, electricity, water, housing or road network), which the authorities try to remedy with the help of international partners. This raises the question how various actors in contemporary Myanmar deal not only with its colonial and military heritage, but also with the impact of the country’s current liberalization, a process that most Asian metropolitan areas have already gone through in earlier times.
This panel aims to provide an overview of Myanmar’s urban development in the face of globalization, based on developments in the three largest cities Yangon, Mandalay and the current capital Naypyidaw. All Myanmar cities are going through changes and facing new challenges, and each of them has a different development pattern. To study the development of various Myanmar cities allows us to analyze different perspectives on the Myanmar territory, such as the Sinicization of Upper Burma cities. Our panel consists of papers from multidisciplinary fields on the spatial, social and economic changes and issues of Myanmar cities in transition. Our aim is to enhance understanding of the changes that are taking place in Myanmar cities, their likely consequences, and their impacts on the diverse groups living and working there.