Transformation of Urban Management in Myanmar

Background and Objectives


This project is being implemented at a critical juncture in Training needs assessment in Pathein, February 2015Myanmar’s historic emergence from decades of isolation and inward focus. The country has to balance the need to make rapid immediate reforms while also taking into account the need for long-term, sustainable solutions to challenges of rapid development. The coming decade will be characterized by rapid urbanization and a transformation in terms of urban dynamics. Pressures on urban infrastructure and competition for land and resources will be critical in the coming years. The way in which towns and cities expand and grow and respond to economic growth and social developments will have a powerful effect on the way in which Myanmar’s reforms are felt by its citizens; and whether development is seen as equitable and sustainable or not.

The project offers a strategic approach to long-term urban development in Myanmar. It recognizes chronic under-investment in urban infrastructure and weak capacity in the management of urban services in Myanmar during past decades and it recognizes the need for an extensive program of basic urban infrastructure provision and capacity enhancement if Myanmar’s cities are to drive economic progress and human development. Government’s new policies on socio-economic and spatially balanced development will be putting increasing pressures and expectations on the administrations of cities and towns to be able to “manage urban development in a participatory and inclusive manner.” Cities in Myanmar will need to be able to effectively identify, prioritize, and find ways of sustainably financing and managing their urban development needs in ways that are transparent, efficient and create an equitable foundation for sustainable economic growth. This requires radically new ways of doing business and a new set of urban management skills and capacities at city and national level.


The Project aims to promote sustainable urban development in Myanmar towns by building institutional capacity of local authorities, leading to the prioritized needs-based provision of essential infrastructure. It is also aims to enhance the urban management capacity of the key cities especially in the areas of infrastructure planning and management. The Project aims to enhance the knowledge bank and training capacity in Urban Research and Development Institute with the objective of scaling up the best practices into other possible cities.


  • Development of training modules for city and national level capacity building
  • Implementation of training activities both at city level and national level
  • Formulation of urban services business operation plans for 6 cities
  • Institutionalization of capacity development actions
  • Consolidating lessons into URDI urban capacity development activities
  • Supporting urban policy development

Development Partner: Asian Development Bank

Project Partners: Ministry of Construction (Department of Urban and Housing Development), Urban Research and Development Institute (URDI), Yangon and Mandalay City Development Committees and Township Development Affairs Committees in Lashio, Mawlamyine, Monywa and Pathein.

Project Duration: October 2014 to September 2016

Project Locations: Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Pathein, Lashio and Monywa