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Govt pledges to safeguard Rangoon architecture

The former high court building in downtown Rangoon. (Photo: Colin Hinshelwood / DVB)

President’s Office Minister Soe Thane pledged government commitment to preserving Rangoon’s architectural heritage in a speech in Burma’s former capital on Sunday.

Speaking at the event entitled “Building the Future; The Role of Heritage in the Sustainable Development of Yangon” on 17 January, the minister said that the government requires cooperation from international organisations and private companies in implementing urban development.

He stressed that construction companies should follow official regulations in order to preserve buildings of cultural significance in Rangoon, such as the Shwedagon pagoda.

“There are different limitations laid out by the Rangoon authorities on how tall a building can be around the Shwedagon pagoda area, within one mile, two miles and three miles respectfully, and everyone must follow these regulations,” said Soe Thane.

The forum, jointly organised by the Yangon Heritage Trust and the World Monuments Fund, was hosted at the Strand Hotel from 15 to 17 January and attended by government officials, architects and more than 50 business delegations.

In a statement before the event, the partnership identified challenges to architectural protection in Burma as the weak regulatory framework, limited professional planning expertise, and mounting pressures for development, all of which leave Rangoon vulnerable to hasty decision making.

Watch the DVB debate: Is it too late to save Burma’s crumbling heritage?