Echoes of Colonial Logic in Re-Ordering “Public” Streets

From Colonial Rangoon to Postcolonial Yangon

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Beth E. NotarTrinity College beth.notar@trincoll.edu

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Kyaw San MinProximity Designs kyawsanmin95@gmail.com

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Raju GautamWilliam Penn University raju.gtm@gmail.com

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This article investigates three historical moments in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar) when the city has restricted certain forms of mobility. The first occurred in 1920, when British authorities restricted rickshaws pulled by Indian laborers. The second was in 1960, when the military “caretaker government” sought to sideline pedicabs and horse carts as part of an urban “cleanup” campaign. The third happened in 2017, when city authorities under a new democratic government sought to limit the number of taxis and allow digital ride-hailing services such as Uber and Grab to operate in the city. Despite three very different forms of government, the later discourses eerily echo the exclusionary logic that certain forms of migrant driven mobility need to be cleared away for more “modern” mobility.

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

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