New Yangon City: Chinese Investment, Urban Planning and ‘Suturing’ of the Political

Dr Tamas Wells1

1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

In the last decade, with progressive transition to the democratically elected National League for Democracy government, new public and private sector developments funded by international investors have mushroomed. This paper draws on the case of the NLD backed and Chinese funded New Yangon City development project in Myanmar. It explores the planning process for the new development and the ways that diffuse international, national and local coalitions of investors and governance actors have effectively depoliticised controversial dimensions of the project. These dynamics may partly be explained as a legacy of the authoritarian period, they are also embedded in the form of Myanmar’s new democracy and processes of development. Myanmar’s new democracy can be viewed through emerging theories of urban post-politics (Swyngedouw 2014). State and corporate power is expressed less through the open repression of the military past, and more through new consensual and technocratic forms of decision making.


Tamas Wells is a Research Fellow and civil society expert in the School of Social and Political Sciences


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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