Authorities should avoid heritage buildings in Yangon while implementing the Comprehensive Urban Transport Plan for Greater Yangon, an official from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said.
Shinji Yo Okusawoka, a representative of JICA, which is implementing the multi-billion dollar project, said the heritage buildings are major tourist attraction and bring much-needed foreign currency to the state coffers.
“When drawing up plans, we have to consider the environment and social surroundings. If the project does not cause any damage to heritage buildings and the environment people will welcome the plan and we can carry on with the project,” he said.
There are 189 historical heritage buildings in Yangon, according to the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).
The centre of downtown Yangon was selected last October for entry in the World Monuments Fund’s 2014 Watch List, a biannual list of heritage sites which are threatened or in need of preservation.
Non-profit NGO the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) has proposed to designate small zones within the city centre as heritage areas and envisions a joint public-private collaboration whereby private investors restore heritage buildings for commercial use while maintaining the character of the areas. In June, Philips announced a partnership with YHT to install 200 LED-lit blue plaques to highlight key cultural heritage sites in the city.