THE ongoing effort to redevelop the older parts of Kuala Lumpur is taking on a new vigour with a number of government-owned land and assets being identified for redevelopment. This urban renewal programme, to revitalise the older and dilapidated parts of the city giving them a new lease of life, should be a holistic one.
The rationale for adopting redevelopment projects instead of taking on new ones on virgin areas is due to the growing scarcity of land in and around the capital city. Sometimes old buildings and structures need to be torn down to make way for new developments, or they can get facelifts that may involve the external or internal structures, or both.
To ensure functionality and relevance of the new projects, urban renewal initiatives should have the big picture where the newly redeveloped parts of the city blend in with the existing landscape.
Before the individual projects take off, it is important to ensure the different components complement each other to further enhance and add value to the property landscape.
It is also important to ensure heritage buildings and places are conserved and spared from having to make way for redevelopment. They are the living heritage of the people and is testimony of how our forefathershave came together and contributed to the building of this nation many centuries ago. Knowing and understanding the country's history has a way of bringing the people closer together towards greater unity.
To ensure these various needs are looked into when drawing up redevelopment plans, the whole initiative should involve a holistic master plan instead of an ad-hoc one.
Maintaining the big picture will ensure properly thought out projects, infrastructure and facilities for not only the present population but also to cater for the needs of generations to come.
Planning developments holistically with proper master planning to look into the long term needs of the people, works well for both brown field (already developed) and green field (yet to develop) developments.
Infrastructure and facilities, including road linkages and public transport system will also be better thought out and designed when this approach is used.
Hopefully these initiatives will steer the city into the league of global city.
Aiming for the much touted global city status when drawing up redevelopment plans for the capital city will be a worthwhile pursuit as this goal will ensure the massive initiative stays on the right course.
It is not just about putting up towering skyscrapers and gleaming new structures which make up the hardware, but more importantly will be the intangible software that make up the overall environment and quality of life of the people. This initiative should look into the city's heart and soul, its identity and heritage that can be maintained by promoting certain themes and designs in the redevelopment plans.
While identifying the right feasible projects to be undertaken, equally important will be the intangibles like the quality of the projects that include their functionality; and how they can add value to the living environment.
This should be the right time to also champion the green cause by having environment friendly concepts and designs in these redevelopment plans to reduce the carbon footprint of our urban populace.
Security and safety issues should also be made a top priority and it will be opportune to incorporate more street safe and people friendly features and measures.
The tendency to over emphasise on the bottomline by churning out more units and focusing on sales numbers should be kept at bay.
The ultimate goal should be for redevelopment projects to be a part of a greater effort towards uplifting the quality of the city's environment while injecting life into decaying and ageing townships and slum areas in the federal capital.
Among the much awaited projects will be the development plans for the 3,300 acres of Rubber Research Institute land in Sungei Buloh and the Sungai Besi military airport.
The redevelopment of the ageing low-cost apartments and homes in some parts of the city by the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry and City Hall will also be interesting as it involves many old low-cost housing projects identified for an upgrade of living conditions for the urban poor.
If done properly, these projects have the potential to champion more holistic living environment, and become the new residential and commercial hubs of the Klang Valley.
l Deputy news editor Angie Ng votes for quality holistic environment and user friendly projects over mere aesthetics and external facades.
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