White House has been moved from Washington DC to Alaska! Imagine this shocking news that will spread all
over the globe. This drastic movement would definitely stir a lot of controversies and debate on why the
government would ever think of doing that. This is the radical decision of the Burmese government when they
moved their capital from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw, a desolated city.
Nay Pyi Taw up-close
Nay Pyi Taw (Naypyidaw) the capital of Myanmar (Burma), in Burmese, meaning “royal capital city” or
“throne.” It was officially inducted as the administrative capital of Malaysia on June 11, 2005. From 1948 to
2005, the capital was in Yangon, also called Rangoon City.
The land area is 7,054 square kilometers which are bigger than the size of London or Berlin, situated in
between the Bago Yoma and Shan Yoma mountain ranges. It has a population of 924,608, became the
third-largest city in Myanmar.
Before the construction of the government buildings in the area, it was a scerubland. Fifty (50) different
construction companies were employed to revamp the swap areas to what Nay Pyi Taw is. The different
zones were planned carefully defining each area for residential, ministry, military, diplomatic, hotel, recreation
and landmark. The residential area has several apartment blocks where each building is color-coded
according to their rank and marital status. The roofs’ color represents the jobs of their residents; blue Ministry of Health and green for Ministry of Agriculture employees. Whilst the mansions are for thehigh-ranking officials.
The Radical Movement
The Burmese government says the movement is to allow further expansion of the government infrastructure.
Yangon is already densely populated. Although, there are other speculations as to why the government chose
to move from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw. Among of which is to avoid destabilization from nearby countries.
As strange as it is, this shows Myanmar’s intuition to look ahead in the future. One of the biggest challenges
for any country is de-urbanizing highly saturated places like Yangon. Burma has created a city from scratch
and one of the most beautiful cities as is, unfortunately, it has not been well perceived and accommodated by
Burmese people. For conservative countries such as Burma, changes can be daunting and overwhelming.
They’d rather live in shacks or bear the traffic than live in the comfort of their own houses. There is an entire
village in Nay Pyi Taw with minimal residents.
A huge place like this will create employment opportunities for the residents. Imagine if the government can
successfully move at least 5 to 10% of Yangon’s 9 million residents to this city. That would create a huge
impact on the livelinood and lifestyle in the city. There are great potentials ahead in the future for this city.
What Burmese fails to see is the vision that the king has when they started this city. The challenge for the
government is to create an effective de-urbanizing marketing plan that will lure visitors and residents to move
to this place. Otherwise, everything will just go to waste.