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Thursday, June 12, 2008

26 areas in the city to undergo regeneration

The Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 has identified 26 areas in the city for regeneration purposes. It aims to re-develop the city's older areas in order for the city to improve socially, economically and environmentally.

The 26 sites span a total area of 548 hectares in various parts of Kuala Lumpur.

This rejuvenation exercise called Brownfield development aims to regenerate older areas in the city as well as redevelop older housing and industrial areas, under-utilised land to improve the social, economic and environmental health of the city.

According to town planner Norliza Hashim, due to a shortage of vacant land in the city centre, it is increasingly difficult to look for alternative land for development and hence may stifle the capital city's ambition in becoming a world-class city by 2020.

Norliza is the main consultant engaged by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to draft the city plan.

Norliza said, however, that the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 had identified suitable Brownfield sites for regeneration and rejuvenation purposes.

The term “Brownfield” refers to abandoned or under-utilised industrial and commercial facilities which are no longer economically viable.

The city plan has identified areas like Sang Peng, Loke Yew, the former Pudu Jail, old shop houses along Jalan Bukit Bintang, former government quarters at Jalan Davis and many more that have been marked for redevelopment.

Facelift soon: The sites of the San Peng flats (above) and the former Pudu Jail (below) are among the 26 areas identified for rejuvenation.

“Different sites have different rejuvenation plans. For instance, areas with old overcrowded PPR units (public housing schemes) will be upgraded to bigger units balanced with public amenities to provide residents a more quality lifestyle while blighted housing, industrial areas and old shop houses in the city will be more commercial while the open space in front of the 113-year-old Pudu Jail has been earmarked for mixed use commercial,” Norliza said.

She said this project would provide the city with a more cleaner and orderly image.

According to Norliza, the draft plan promotes redevelopment of dilapidated sites, blighted buildings, development on infill sites, and also the regeneration of abandoned projects in the city.

By recycling land, cleaning up contaminated sites it is also encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle in the city and in turn reduces the pressure to develop on Greenfield land (green areas and open spaces).

Norliza said that the areas to be redeveloped would incorporate mixed-use development and high to medium density residential and will include public facilities, infrastructure, and urban parks with pedestrian friendly environment.

The KL branch of the Real Estate and Housing Developers Associa-tion (Rehda) has endorsed the move by issuing a statement saying that the draft plan’s redevelopment and regeneration of Brownfield sites in KL is a positive step.

Rehda said that this was in line with more cosmopolitan and mature global cities, where changing trends, shifting population and sophisticated urbanites necessitate city authorities and planners to initiate regeneration strategies to prevent slums and cities from decaying.

“With the move of the administrative offices to Putrajaya and abandoned project sites can be used for redevelopment or create more green space,” Rehda KL branch secretary Tan Ching Meng said.

Tan: Endorses the plan

“In Singapore, if a building is old and if one could get most of the owners to consent, the government can buy it back for redevelopment purposes,'' he said.

A beautiful and modern building like the Petronas Twin Towers has far reaching effects to the entire area.

“Purchasers are willing to pay big bucks just for a unit facing the KLCC and such buildings enhances the property value around the city,” Tan said.

He said that this is what KL should move towards in order to achieve world-class status.

By The Star

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