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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 the Gyo Byu is owned by the government and considered unusable. However, over the last twenty-five years, these families have ingeniously expanded its original purpose, integrating the space into their daily lives through diverse activities like circulation, gathering, housework, farming, and dating. In Myanmar, slums often bear the perception of being places of social degradation, its residents face marginalization, and the burden of stigma tends to undermine their role in improving neighborhoods and cities. This story seeks to offer a different perspective on these issues, by illustrating how the Gyo Byu has evolved into a thriving 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

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