SEAC Seminar Series: Nalehmu Urbanism: The informal, intimate and relational economies of Yangon Street Vending

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre

Online Event


Dr Jayde Lin Roberts

Dr Jayde Lin Roberts

Senior Lecturer in Built Environment, University of New South Wales


Prof Hyun Bang Shin

Prof Hyun Bang Shin

Professor of Geography and Urban Studies and Director of Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, LSE

SEAC is hosting a research seminar chaired by SEAC Director Prof. Hyun Bang Shin on 17th November 2020. Dr Jayde Lin Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Built Environment, University of New South Wales) will be speaking on "Nalehmu Urbanism: The informal, intimate and relational economies of Yangon Street Vending"


Talk abstract

Street vending is a part of everyday life in Yangon. Even when private enterprise was forbidden during the socialist period (1962-1988), itinerant sellers and home-based informal shops operated with little concern because municipal officials did not actively police these businesses. Under military rule (1990-2011), the informal economy blossomed as the junta pursued accelerated economic growth. Self-organised and minimally regulated morning, afternoon and night markets were commonplace. This changed, however, in November 2016 when the municipal government announced that peddling was banned on the city’s arterial streets but a new night bazaar would be established on Strand Road in the middle of eight lanes of traffic. This presentation will focus on street vending as an integral part of Yangon’s urbanism and discuss how the informal, intimate and relational economy of these micro-businesses have not only improved individual livelihoods but also served as a means of community-building.



A video of this seminar is available to watch at Facebook.


Speaker and chair biographies

  • Dr Jayde Lin Roberts is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW Sydney and an interdisciplinary scholar of Urban Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. Her research in Myanmar focuses on informal urbanism, heritage-making, and the effects of transnational networks. During her 2016-2018 Fulbright US Scholar term, she worked with Myanmar’s universities and municipal departments to investigate discourses of urban development in Yangon. Her book, Mapping Chinese Rangoon: Place and Nation among the Sino-Burmese, was published by the University of Washington Press in June 2016.
  • Prof Hyun Bang Shin is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research centres on the critical analysis of the political economic dynamics of speculative urbanisation, the politics of redevelopment and displacement, gentrification, housing, the right to the city, and mega-events as urban spectacles, with particular attention to cities in Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Vietnam and Singapore. His recent projects on ‘circulating urbanism and (Asian) capital’ have also brought him to work on Quito, Manila, Iskandar Malaysia, Kuwait City and London. Prof Shin has published widely in major international journals and contributed to numerous books on the above themes. He has coauthored Planetary Gentrification (Polity, 2016), edited Anti-Gentrification: What Is to Be Done (Dongnyok, 2017),and co- edited Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Bristol University Press, 2015) and Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He is a board member (trustee) of the Urban Studies Foundation, and sits on the international advisory board of the journal Antipode as well as on the editorial board of the journals International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Urban Geography; CITY; City, Culture and Society; Space and Environment [in Korea]; China City Planning Review [in China].


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