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Back in 1940, during the English colonial period in Burma, the British built an above-ground pipeline to distribute water processed from a reservoir situated to the north of what was then Rangoon (now Yangon), known as the Gyo Byu. Initially dividing the landscape, the water pipeline eventually became a refuge for informal settlers, evicted from previous parts of the city, who sought shelter along its course, and in some extreme cases, on the structure itself. The land stretching eight meters on each side of it is owned by the government and considered unusable. However, over the last twenty-five years, these families have ingeniously expanded the pipeline’s original purpose, integrating it into their daily routines for diverse activities, including circulation, gathering, housework, farming, and dating. While in Myanmar, slums (Kyuu Kyaw) often bear the perception of being places of social degradation, with local communities marginalized, and stigmatization tends to undermine their contribution to improving neighborhoods and cities. In contrast, the Gyo Byu has evolved into a community center, a landmark for the area, an opportunity to develop a micro economy, and a symbol of hope for a better future.

Gyo Byu​

2018 - 2019

“Yangon needs more public space for people like us, workers, decent people. It's us who create life in those areas and push away criminals. When there is light and life, people with bad intentions stop coming.”



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