Years of economic isolation helped to preserve Yangon historical structures. Built as an outpost of British India, Yangon has hundreds of old structures in European style, some of them being among Southeast Asia’s finest colonial structures. However, many of them are now threatened by development as real estate property owners are putting their grip into the city centre. The existence of the Yangon Heritage Centre, set up to protect Yangon amazing colonial heritage might not be sufficient to balance the need for preserving the city’s architectural history.
Newspaper New Light of Myanmar indicated recently that Yangon Heritage Trust will now initiate a project in the city to study residents’ opinions on preservation and development of their local environment.
The program will be led by the YHT, with the assistance of the New Zealand government and the support of the Yangon City Development Committee. It is a unique nitiative which could be adopted by other cities in Southeast Asia where heritage is threatened by modern development as it gives an opportunity to communities living in an urban environment to express their views.
The trust, which advocates for heritage preservation in Yangon, can provide options and bring technical advice and lessons learned from abroad, said Dr Thant Myint-U, founder and chairman of the YHT to the New Light of Myanmar. “In the end it is to the people of Yangon to decide how they would like to protect their heritage and see their city grow,” he told. “This project is for us a hugely important initial step towards trying to engage local people and communities, and hear from them their thoughts, stories, and ideas for the future.”
It now just must be seen if these opinions will be taken into consideration in the future development of Myanmar’s former capital…
Image Credit: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31146066