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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Realising a dream city

Looking ahead: (From right) Saifuddin Ahmad from PAM, Tong, Norliza and C.M Chan from Rehda showing pamphlets on the conference.

AN INTERNATIONAL conference on sustainable cities will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 25 and city dwellers and other stakeholders are invited to take part.

The World Class Sustainable Cities 2012 (WCSC 2012) conference is appropriately themed ‘Cities for the People’.

It will be held at the JW Marriot Hotel Kuala Lumpur, with some 500 participants expected to attend.

It is being co-organised by the Real Estate & Housing Developers Association Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur branch (RehdaKL) , the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MPI) and the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM). The conference is endorsed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

N.K. Tong, the co-organising conference chairman for RehdaKL, said the conference hopes to connect with people that matter.

“This conference is unique because it brings together all the city’s stakeholders,” he said.

Tong noted that while WCSC’s past conferences had focused on various topics, including the transformation of Cheongyecheon River in Seoul, South Korea, the city transportation solutions for Curitiba, Brazil, and the metamorphosis of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from an industrial polluter to an ecological tourist hub, this year’s WCSC 2012 will focus on people as the theme suggests.

Norliza Hashim, the co-organising chairman for MIP also said:

“It will be exciting to see the outcome of this year’s conference on KL city’s development.

“In previous years, our conference speakers have had an influential impact in shifting public perception to the Kuala Lumpur projects that followed. The Cheongyecheon River restoration was a great prelude to our KL River of Life project, and the Curitiba experience, in transforming our city’s MRT and covered walkway systems.”

This year’s conference will feature two world-class speakers from two cities globally renowned for their livability and transformation — Copenhagen, Denmark and Bilbao, Spain.

Award-winning Danish architect Dr Jan Gehi, of Gehi Architects, will share his rich experience on his work in transforming cities such as New York, London, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Auckland and Christchurch.

Another world renowned architect, Alfonso Vegara of Fundacion Metropoli, will present a paper titled ‘Bilbao Next — Regenerating Cities’, illustrating the transformative work that the city of Bilbao has undertaken to bring it to its enviable status among global cities today.

“In line with the conference theme focusing on people, the two key speakers will help refocus our attention on creating streetcapes friendly to people living in urbanised areas,” added Norliza. “In the pursuit for a world-class city, we may sometimes forget about the basic needs of its citizens. In many cities today, people compete with vehicles; roads are too wide for people to cross, communities are divided by one-way traffic flows; public open spaces and green spaces where communities can meet and interact freely are few and scarce; access to affordable housing, clean water and cheap food become increasingly challenged,” she noted.

In conjunction with the conference, a photography competition and essay competition entitled “Cities for People” was launched at the press conference.

Attractive cash prizes will be given out to winners and their photographs would be featured during WCSC 2012, whereas the essays would be compiled in a book.

By The Star

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