DPU contributes to the debate on Yangon's urban challenges
21 February 2018
DPU’s Catalina Ortiz and Giovanna Astolfo have been contributing to a one-week activity in Yangon, Myanmar, supported by the Global Engagement Funds. Building on the existing partnership with the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR) and Community Architects Network (CAN), this is the second year embarking in inter-institutional collaborations in the city after the field trip of the MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development in 2017. The week included a three-day workshop and training on “People-centred design” and a two-day workshop on “Leveraging Heritage for Sustainable Urban Development In Yangon, Myanmar”. (Read more on our blog post by Giovana Astolfo)
In line with the DPU mission to build the capacity of individuals, professionals and institutions to design and implement innovative, sustainable and inclusive strategies towards socially just and sustainable development, the workshop and training “People-centred design” held at Yangon Technological University (YTU) between 13-15th February 2018 was aimed at building the capacity of young professionals and staff to understand and engage with current urban challenges, in particular low income communities’ housing problems. The recent opening of Myanmar has brought economic growth, as well as increasing inequality. Institutions face huge challenges in such a transitional moment. Stemming from a specific request formulated by YTU, the training helped to identify existing knowledge gaps in the current curricula, and provide initial advise for their innovation, towards shaping a pedagogy able to challenge orthodox development agendas, explore and test enabling and participatory approaches to development through action research. The workshop and training is a collaboration between DPU (Giovanna Astolfo, Camillo Boano, Catalina Ortiz), YTU (Ma Pwint, San San Moe, Jayde Roberts), Silpakorn University (Supitcha Tovivich), Architects Association of Myanmar (Ma Wah Wah), Community Architects Network (Witee Wisuthumporn), Bithukar Community Platform, DPU/ACHR/CAN interns (Saptarshi Mitra and Shoko Sakuma).
The workshop “Leveraging Heritage for Sustainable Urban Development in Yangon” held at Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) between 16th-17th February brought together 15 amongst heritage experts, urban and transport planners, and academics from Yangon, Mandalay, Bangkok and London, to reflect upon participatory and equitable transport oriented development (TOD) in Yangon.
In addition, the Inception meeting for the 4th wave of the DPU/ACHR/CAN internship programme of young professionals took place. This meeting counted with representatives from the hosting organizations: Women for the World in Yangon, Myanmar and Sevenatha Urban Resource Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka and DPU Alumni Ruchika Lall, Shoko Sakuma and Saptarshi Mitra. In the meeting the projects where the interns are involved and the challenges of scaling up people centred development initiatives were discussed. With these series of activities a multi-layered engagement has been fostered addressing capacity building, research, and career opportunities simultaneously.