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Cities and City planning

Individual Documents

Title: Rangoon’s Road Worriers
Date of publication: August 2010
Description/subject: The mean streets of Burma’s crumbling former capital make residents’ daily commute a constant source of trepidation... "“I take my life into my own hands every time I get behind the wheel,” said Tin Sein, a bus driver whose regular route takes him from South Dagon Township on the eastern outskirts of Rangoon to Lanmadaw Street in the downtown core of Burma’s largest city. “But this is how I make my living, so all I can do is pray to Buddha that I make it through another day.” Even as a 25-year veteran of Rangoon’s decrepit public transit system, Tin Sein still dreads the nasty surprises that the city’s roads routinely throw at him. Besides the potholes that lurk everywhere, he also has to contend with vehicles perpetually teetering on the brink of their next breakdown. It is not uncommon, he said, to see a wheel fly off a car or for brakes to suddenly fail when they’re needed most..."
Author/creator: Hsat Linn
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 August 2010


Title: The Chinese Road to Mandalay
Date of publication: April 2009
Description/subject: Burma's second city looks back on 150 years of rich history... "HISTORY has greatly altered the face of Mandalay - and in this anniversary year, 150 years after its founding, Burma's second city is again undergoing radical change. Ruled for many early years by Britain, Mandalay is now falling under the influence of a new wave of outsiders - "the Chinese. The city has had a Chinese community since the days when it was ruled by King Mindon (1853-78). Migration from China really began, however, with the arrival of remnants of the Kuomintang army fleeing advancing Communist forces at the end of China's civil war in 1949..."
Author/creator: Min Lwin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 April 2009


Title: Capital Blues
Date of publication: November 2008
Description/subject: Naypyidaw, now three years old, was designed and built to serve as the seat of Burma’s military government. For the ordinary Burmese who have to live and work there, it’s a city without a heart
Author/creator: Min Khet Maung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 11
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 November 2008


Title: Dragging Burma Back to the Past
Date of publication: November 2008
Description/subject: "WHEN Snr-Gen Than Shwe relocated the seat of Burma’s military government to a site some 320 km (200 miles) north of the former capital, Rangoon, he did so without any fanfare. Acting solely on his prerogatives as the undisputed ruler of the country, he offered no explanations to the Burmese people or the rest of the world. The move was announced only after it had become a fait accompli. The creation of Naypyidaw (which translates as the “Abode of Kings”) was an exercise in pure power—an act that appeared to serve no other purpose than to establish Than Shwe as a quasi-monarch in the tradition of past kings who have arbitrarily shifted the country’s administrative center to suit their whims..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 11
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 November 2008


Title: Die Junta verbunkert sich im Dschungel
Date of publication: 01 December 2006
Description/subject: Die ranghohen Militärs haben sich unterdessen weitab von Rangoon im Dschungel verbunkert: Handstreichartig liessen die Generäle im November 2005 den Regierungssitz von Rangoon nach dem rund 400 Kilometer nördlich gelegenen Pyinmana zügeln. Ganze Lkw-Konvois beladen mit Stühlen, Schreibtischen, Aktenschränken und Tausenden von konsternierten Beamten fuhren landeinwärts in den Dschungel. Astrologen des Oberkommandierenden Than Shwe hatten anscheinend das Datum für den Umzug bestimmt. Dahinter steckt laut Burma-Experten die Angst vor Volksaufständen in Rangoon, aber auch die Befürchtung vor einer Aggression der USA, die Burma als Schurkenstaat bezeichnet hat. Unterschriftenaktion, Protestaktion, willkürliche Verhaftungen, Zwangsarbeit Junta hides in the Jungle; Protests; Petition; Arbitrary Arrests; Forced Labor
Author/creator: Christine Plüss, Arbeitskreis Tourismus & Entwicklung
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: Fairunterwegs, Arbeitskreis Tourismus & Entwicklung
Format/size: Html (18k)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2007


Title: Beyond Rangoon
Date of publication: May 2006
Description/subject: "As Burma’s military rulers settle into their new administrative capital near Pyinmana, the fate of Rangoon remains an open question The symbolism was sure to spark rumors—towering concrete statues of three of Burma’s ancient conquerors overlooking the new military parade ground in Naypyidaw, the country’s newly-minted administrative capital. The name itself, which translates as “royal city,” suggests for some in Rangoon that the relocation is much more than the product of fear or astrology...s the regime begins a new chapter of its history in Naypyidaw, among concrete kings and theme-park recreations of the country’s principal monuments, many in Rangoon fear that the city’s broad avenues and historic buildings will fall prey to foreign invaders of another sort—developers from China, Malaysia, and Singapore. Reports have circulated for years that the military government has been quietly attempting to auction off some of Rangoon’s oldest buildings...A source involved in the project has confirmed to The Irrawaddy that the Burmese government has brokered a deal with the Chinese company Shanghai Jingqiao to develop plans for a special economic zone adjacent to Rangoon’s Thilawa Port in Thanlyin Township. Such a move would further entrench Chinese investors who have already made enormous inroads into Mandalay and elsewhere..."
Author/creator: Edward Blair
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: Rangoon Bets on Business
Date of publication: May 2006
Description/subject: Burma's former capital is still the country's commercial hub... The sudden relocation of Burma's capital may have sent government officials and Burmese civil servants moving north to Pyinmana, but for those involved in business Rangoon is still the center of Burma's commercial universe. The new capital's largest port and its main airport. While Pyinmana remains cut off from the outside world, the former capital has direct international flights to such cities as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei..."
Author/creator: Clive Parker
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: No Escape from the 31 Planes of Existence
Date of publication: February 2001
Description/subject: Naypyidaw—the “Abode of Kings”—is Than Shwe’s monument to his own rule... "I am not an astrologer, but I will venture one prediction about the year ahead: that the regime in Burma will hold its election as planned and formally introduce what it calls a “discipline-flourishing democracy.” So far, however, the junta leaders remain tight-lipped about the how and when of the election. At this stage, the best anyone can offer is an educated guess. But come what may, the election will happen—be sure of it. Why am I so certain of this, when others have suggested that the junta will probably try to find some pretext to put the vote off indefinitely? Because the clearest evidence of the junta’s intentions can be found in Naypyidaw, where construction of new parliamentary buildings is proceeding apace. This news is not entirely reassuring, however. According to a recent Reuters report, much work remains to be done on the new legislature, “from unfinished roads to painting many of the parliamentary complex’s 31 buildings, with pagoda-style roofs sheathed in scaffolding.” But others who have been to the junta’s capital say that they are amazed at how much progress has been made since last March, when only the main building of the Hluttaw, or Parliament, had been completed. In recent months, the regime has ordered army engineers and construction workers to work even faster to meet their deadline—whenever that might be. While some people are preoccupied with the question of when the buildings will be finished, I am more intrigued by the number being built—31. In Buddhism, this number has a special significance. According to Buddhist cosmology, 31 is the number of planes of existence into which we can be reborn. Humans belong to the fifth plane, above other beings such as animals and hungry ghosts, but below the devas—the god-like beings who exist in the realms of form and formlessness. The important thing to remember about the 31 planes of existence is that they are all subject to suffering. By following the Buddha’s teachings, however, one can escape the rounds of rebirth and attain a state that is completely beyond suffering, known as Nirvana..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010