Exploration of potential public housing strategies for low-income households in Yangon, Myanmar

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Submission Summary
The recent economic growth in Yangon has resulted in large migration from rural areas leading to affordable housing shortage and an increase in informal settlements. Social housings have since then delivered in two approaches namely “One Million Housing Program” under government and community-led housing by non-governmental organization (NGO). Despite these initiatives, the affordable housing shortage for poor still exists from slow or small-scale implementation. Thus, public housing strategies in Myanmar are in need of review and paradigm shift according to the societal and possible future changes. Policy remaking generally consists of identifying how other governments have addressed similar challenges and examining the possibility of transferring such policies to own country context. Though such policy transferability study could help reduce uncertainties in the new policies, it was under-discussed particularly in the context of comparative housing studies. This study aims to explore possible applications of public housing strategies for Myanmar by examining of other Asian countries. The study first took an overview of the public housing policies and issues in Myanmar and then in other Asian countries namely Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand which were selected according to the state of economies and housing provision approaches. The cases were reviewed on the policy environment and the success or failure factors in the delivery system. The potential direction for Myanmar was examined through exploring the compatibility of the political, governance, financial and urban contexts of the originating and the borrowing housing systems. It is learnt that the direct provision approach needed strong commitment from the government, along with adequate policies and funding. Absence of these conditions could lead to the corruptions and the failure to reach the targeted supplies and groups as found in Taiwan and Thailand. The current public housing strategies in these two countries had adopted a mix of direct provision, with private rental partnership approach in Taiwan and community-based approach in Thailand. Based on these lessons-learnt, Myanmar should adopt mixed-methods in delivery of housing for low-income households. Based on the context of cities in Myanmar, it would be difficult to apply Singapore’s public housing policy due to uncontrolled rural-urban migration that happened in Yangon while housing not being the priority issue of local government. Though Myanmar had land acquisition policy like Singapore did, the same results could not possibly be achieved due to the complex relations between local and central government. On the other hand, Myanmar could consider for Taiwan’s public private partnership approach in affordable rental housing provision since the cities in Myanmar, particularly Yangon already had the private rental market but this would require updating of the Urban Rent Control Act to protect the affordability for lower income families. The community-based housing programs in both Bangkok and Yangon had shown an effective impact in satisfying the needs of low-income households however the top-down administration that had been embedded in the Myanmar governance system for many years restricted the local government to adopt the whole bottom-up approach like Thailand’s Baan Makong program. It provided the ways to improve the current community-led housing practices of local government in terms of financial mobilization and subsidies provision to the NGO and communities. This study details different housing strategies in Asian countries and suggests the future direction for affordable public housing development in Yangon, Myanmar by considering the characteristics of political, governance, financial and urban contexts. It is also applicable to other similar countries to solve housing shortage problems and creating conditions of equity and affordability for low-income households. Keywords: Public housing; Low-income households; Policy transferability; Asia; Myanmar
Submission ID :
ISO132
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Submission Track
1: Inclusiveness and empowerment. Al-Majlis: planning with and for communities
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Student
,
Kyoto University
Student
,
Kyoto University
Kyoto University

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