‘INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS’ From Myanmar Perspective

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 November 2018
9:00 -17:00

The purpose of this seminar is to present and discuss current researches
on informal settlements in Myanmar.
Major changes happened in Myanmar cities, especially in Yangon, since
the new political regime and opening up of economy in 2012. Along with
new construction projects, new laws, urban plans, and large foreign
investments, cities are expanding and urban population is growing fast,
especially through migration. Land and housing markets are changing fast.
Skyrocketing land prices are leading to the decrease of number of
affordable housing. The access to formal housing is more and more
difficult for the poor. Precarious settlements are growing, which are
called in Myanmar by different terms such as : informal settlements, kyu
kyaw, slums, squatters settlements, vulnerable communities, precarious
settlements, periurban neighbourhoods, untapped communities, etc.
Research and knowledge on these neighbourhoods, their inhabitants and
their role in the main cities in Myanmar are diverse. This seminar is to
bring together researchers from various disciplines (geography,
architecture, urban planning, anthropology, history, international
relations etc.) reflecting the interdisciplinarity of the urban studies
approaches on these spaces, and professionals (administrations, experts,
international institutions, NGOs) with diverse professional cultures, to
analyse the different ways informal settlements are viewed in Myanmar,
and to contribute to co-produce the knowledge on these urban
Informal neighborhoods can be approached through several themes,
linked to spatial, social, legal, economic, political, urban/rural, or city
making process. The presentation will address informal settlements
through some of the following themes : Dynamics of growth, peripheries
and margins ; Residential trajectories and migrations ; Access to the city, to
housing and to workplace ; Infrastructure, services and
environnement ; Land and real estate markets ; Land tenure ; Renting ;
Unplanned urban production ; Standards issues ; History and trends of
policies towards precarious settlements ; Upgrading and relocation
schemes ; Current programs and projects ; Poverty ; Vulnerability, risk and
security ; The making of the city ; Social networks and economic
environments ; Construction and sustainability ; Resilience ; Urban
competencies of inhabitants ; Community action ; Flood adaptation
strategies ; Coping with climate change ; etc.
More specifically, the seminar aims to shed light on the following
questions concerning informal settlements : a- What kinds of research
have been done in Myanmar, and through which program ? b- What are
the different approaches ? c- What are the definitions and methods
adopted ? d- What is informal settlement in Myanmar, and what results
and knowledge do we have on these neighborhoods ? And e- How the
issue of informal settlements is viewed from Myanmar perspective ?
The purpose of this event is to develop evidence-based knowledge
through cross-analysis and co-construction concerning informal
neighborhoods. The seminar will discuss how these researches and
knowledge contribute to the elaboration of the definitions of the
precarious neighborhoods in Myanmar, to shape the discourses on these
urban spaces, and to articulate with the design and developement of
public policies that concern them.
The seminar will contribute to show the role of urban research today in
Myanmar and seek to identify opportunities for future research in the
field of precarious settlements.
Organisation : Yangon Technological University, University of Yangon,
French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD),
Centre for Social Sciences Studies on Africa, America and Asia (Cessma),
with the collaboraton and support of Gret and French Embassy .

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