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Voices from Yangon 
Community-led housing as a pathway to equality 

By Marina Kolovou Kouri

Against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, complex land regimes, homelessness, and the prioritisation of profitable development, this report looks at community-led approaches to housing in Yangon as a pathway to urban equality. Leaning on Fraser’s theories, we look at urban equality through the lenses of equitable distribution, reciprocal recognition, and parity of political participation. In the studied community-led housing practices, these concepts translate into access to income and services, the recognition of people’s diverse social identities, and their inclusion in decisions that affect them. Establishing a link between these housing models and inequality, rather than poverty, offers a more nuanced understanding of the potential of grassroots-driven systems to challenge the status quo. The analysis locates perceived and experienced changes in people’s lives since joining one of the housing schemes and draws comparisons between their different methodologies and outcomes. As Yangon’s pace and trajectory of urbanisation threaten to amplify existing inequalities, there is an imperative need to become more aware of those pressures and, in response, support approaches that lay the groundwork for a more equitable future.

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Suggested citation: 

Marina Kolovou Kouri (2021). Voices from Yangon: Community-led housing as a pathway to urban equality. Yangon: Women for the World.

Contact: Marina Kolovou Kouri <>

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