UN recognition for creating liveable urban spaces

(From left) Anwar, Hamdan, Maimunah and Chow at the presentation of the special citation at Wisma UAB in George Town, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THINK City managing director Hamdan Abdul Majeed received a special citation from the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for his contributions to urban regeneration and sustainable development in Penang and other places in Malaysia.

UN-Habitat executive director Datuk Seri Maimunah Mohd Sharif presented the award in a ceremony at Think City’s headquarters in Wisma UAB in George Town, Penang.

Maimunah, who is also UN undersecretary-general, said, “Hamdan embodies the essence of UN-Habitat’s mission to foster socially and environmentally sustainable cities and towns.

“This is embedded in the New Urban Agenda, which aims to optimise cities for sustainable development and outlines steps crucial in ensuring that such human settlements drive the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs).”

The special citation is awarded by UN-Habitat each year to recognise the outstanding efforts of individuals and organisations in creating better living environments for all.

Notable past recipients included the First Lady of Turkiye Emine Erdogan, and the United Cities for Local Governments, a global, umbrella organisation for cities as well as local and regional governments.

This year, the citation was also presented to the UN Secretary General’s special envoy on road safety Jean Todt, Union of Municipalities of Turkiye president Yucel Yilmaz, and Gambia‘s Banjul mayor Rohey Malick Lowe.

Think City was established in 2009 by Khazanah Nasional Bhd as an impact organisation focused on creating more liveable, resilient and people-friendly cities.

Under Hamdan’s leadership, the organisation has successfully completed over 250 projects including the restoration of historical buildings, the enhancement of public spaces and the development of programmes to support local businesses and communities.

In his speech, Penang-born Hamdan said, “Transitioning from an investment banker to a venture builder and now working at Think City has allowed me to further my commitment to shaping urban policies, fostering civil society development and advocating for impact investments.

“This achievement is not just a personal milestone.

“It embodies the collective dedication of Think City and our shared aspiration for sustainable urban development.

“Our journey has been one of collaboration – of people coming together to shape the future of our cities.

“Today is a tribute to every contributor across society who has played a role in enhancing our urban spaces, making them more liveable and sustainable, as well as fostering a sense of community.”

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who attended the event, described Hamdan as the driving force that breathed new life into George Town and turned it into a thriving and culturally rich hub.

“This progression has garnered acclaim, boosted tourism, revitalised the economy and influenced how people perceive and embrace the historic area.

“Besides reinvigorating the city, Think City’s initiatives have also set a benchmark for urban regeneration nationwide,” he said.

Successful projects in Penang include the George Town Transformation Programme, the rejuvenation of the Esplanade Seawall, the Fort Cornwallis Revitalisation Project and the Nature-based Climate Adaptation Programme for the Urban Areas of Penang Island (PNBCAP).

Also present for the ceremony were Penang infrastructure, transport and digital development committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, state local government, town and country planning committee chairman Jason H’ng Mooi Lye and Think City chairman Datuk Seri Dr Anwar Fazal.

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