Press release for “Green Spaces in Yangon: Towards a Greener City for All” research launch
Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) has a vision for Yangon City to become a city of green and gold. However, the green spaces in Yangon are disappearing at an alarming rate. There has been a 40% reduction in green spaces over the past 25 years. This is bad for the wellbeing of urban residents, it makes it harder for Yangon to become a climate resilient city, and it hit tourism and Myanmar’s reduce foreign exchange earnings. .
Another Development conducted a research paper to understand the challenges related to green spaces in Yangon. The research points out the amount of green spaces failed to meet the demand of the urban residents – 4.4 square feet per person was far from WHO’s recommendation of 100 square feet. What is more, the distribution of the parks were unequal as well: most of the parks are concentrated in Central Business District and Inner City Zone while nine townships have no park at all.
The research also reveals that green spaces in Yangon have been degraded through a number of economic activities – they have declined by nearly 40% during 25 years. Population growth, urbanization and nation economic growth mean that green spaces are under threat of being replaced with commercial construction projects. Additionally, the Another Development research highlights how the implementation body of YCDC for green spaces in Yangon faces a number of challenges. These include:how to maintain and create new parks; difficulties with ensuring public participation in urban green space planning; and how to better
coordinate actions by different YCDC agencies.
To overcome these challenges, Another Development recommended in their research paper that:
a) An overarching green spaces strategy should be developed: it will be a long term plan to stop
the decline of the existing green spaces and start to increase it.
b) Improve urban planning through more effective collaboration among YCDC agencies: effective collaboration should be enhanced among agencies, and a clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities should be developed.
c) Inclusive public participation should be practiced: it should ensure that the voices of all community members are captured regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, class or any social categorization.
Executive Director of Another Development (AD) said:
“We know that green spaces and parks are very important to the development and wellbeing of city dwellers – increase physical activity, helping them connect with nature and build social networks. Green spaces can promote tourism and economy, the creation of job opportunities, private business, and new business start- up.”
And she added, “Through the research that Yangon Regional Government, YCDC, Member of Parliaments, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders working in this field, to act on the ideas in this paper and make green spaces an issue that matters, therefore the future of Yangon City resembles the vision and ambition of its citizens.”
Issued by Yay Chan, Knowledge Seeking Analyst
For Another Development (AD) Policy Think-Tank
Notes to Editors
1. This is based on research paper titled “Green Spaces in Yangon: Towards a greener city for all”.
The report is found here:www.anotherdevelopment.org
2. AD (Another Development), a non-profit think tank, was set up in 2015 specifically to address some of
the problems besetting Myanmar society in the new era and to advocate for public policy improvements.