Development and Urbanization
Since the elections of 2010 and the accelerated economic openness of Myanmar (formerly Burma), changes are taking place in the country. Those metamorphoses are particularly visible in Yangon’s landscape, which remains the economic capital and the national entry door. Yangon's population is growing, its suburban areas are expanding, and the limits of its metropolitan area are not well defined yet. As a result of the urban pressure and of the increased influx of people from other regions, as well as foreign investors, the metropolization is disorganized: scattered construction of new skyscrapers, larger malls, destruction of green spaces, gentrification of the Central Business District, etc. Because of the new economic legislation, which has allowed a massive importation of cars, Yangon is also facing many other issues: inadequate road infrastructures, severe traffic congestion, lack of parking spaces, noise and air pollution. Yangon Municipality - the Yangon City Development Committee - assisted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, prepared an urban transport plan of Greater Yangon. Since environmental, cultural and social costs seem to be high, to what extent do the Yangonites benefit from the economic openness? Based on data collected by the Myanmar government in the 2014 Census, and years of interviews by the author with local and international actors living in Yangon, this paper analyzes the challenges of the authorities and the Yangonites facing urban metamorphoses and challenges in the economic transition.