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Transformation Processes in the Urban System of Myanmar

Frauke Kraas  

University of Cologne

Cities as the predominant centres of national and – under conditions of global change – international development usually reflect socio-economic dynamics on various scales. This also holds true for changes in the urban systems.

In the case of Myanmar, which after a long period of self- and external isolation, two dynamics can be observed: the concurrence of (a) the transition from a centrally planned specialised economy to a market-oriented economy and (b) influences connected to processes of globalisation that lead to developments that are both nationally unique and at the same time comparable on an international scale, and go along with simultaneously occurring socio-economic diversification.

Thus, the transformation from a socialist planned economy to a market-oriented economy and the recent opening policy in Myanmar on the one side and increasingly globalised dynamics on the other side resulted in remarkable regional and especially urban development. These include constantly growing urbanisation rates and grades, rural-urban and urban-urban migration processes and changes in the entire urban system of Myanmar. The lecture thus will examine: (1) the major development stages of the Myanmar urban system, (2) the changing and yet undocumented urbanisation pattern in the different States and Regions of Myanmar and (3) the key processes and drivers of urban transformation since 1988.

June 17, 2015