The city waiting for a population
Many cities struggle to deal with the growing pains of populace. As more people move to local cities, infrastructure reaches breaking point, affordability becomes a bigger issue and developers are forced to find new and creative ways of housing the population.
The newly created capital of Burma, Naypyidaw, is the exception to these rules. On November the 6th, 2005 at exactly 6:37AM, Burma's capital was moved from the cultural, historical and economic heartland of the country, Yangon, to a remote site 320 miles further north. This purpose-built city boasts, golf courses, 20-lane highways, fast WIFI and reliable electricity, something much of the country still lives without.
Despite all of this development, no one seems to be living there. Besides the civil servants forced to migrate, and the staff working in a string of tourist hotels, no one has chosen to settle in the city centre. The lack of demand means you won’t find any houses, restaurants or shops. Travelling around the cities large ring-road, you rarely glimpse another road user.
All of this development has naturally come at a significant cost to the country. It’s impossible to give an accurate figure, but experts estimate the project could have cost the country in excess of £25 billion. This figure is likely to grow further as the government continues to pour money into their new capital.
So what do the people think? It’s not surprising to hear that local people remain disenfranchised by this new city, as much of the funding was obtained through large loans secured from the Central Bank. With no real way to repay these loans, it’s likely future generations of Burmese people will have to carry the debt.
Naypyidaw, which translates to "Abode of Kings” seems a fitting name, as this city continues to further the countries class divide. And yet again, it’s the poor who pick up the tab.