The city rejuvenation marketing consultant has lined up varied tasks geared toward redefining KL’s panorama and enhancing its high quality of life
by SHAUQI WAHAB
THINK Metropolis Sdn Bhd is spearheading a trans-formative journey to breathe new life into the center of Kuala Lumpur (KL), fostering cultural preservation, neighborhood engagement and environmental sustainability.
The marketing consultant in city rejuvenation tasks has lined up varied tasks geared toward redefining the town’s panorama and enhancing the standard of life for its residents.
Assume Metropolis not too long ago revealed the progress of its Kuala Lumpur Inventive & Cultural District (KLCCD) strategic grasp plan programme throughout a media tour.
MD Hamdan Abdul Majeed mentioned there are inherent strengths that should be unlocked, whether or not it’s location, pure endowments or historic city material.
“That is represented by the buildings, the individuals, tradition and actions that, when mixed, create the soul of the place,” he mentioned in the course of the tour.
Assume Metropolis goals to deal with present challenges in downtown KL, starting from mitigating the danger of flash floods and visitors congestion, restoration of deserted buildings, addressing local weather points and extra.
KLCCD’s strategic grasp plan programme is anticipated to generate RM5.3 billion of potential financial advantages, whereas persevering with its work on rejuvenating downtown KL in 2024, the place RM20 million will probably be allotted by the federal government as introduced within the nationwide finances.
Excessive Avenue Studios
Positioned in entrance of Assume Metropolis’s workplace on the Dangle Lekiu block is Excessive Avenue Studios. As soon as a haven for backpackers, it’s present process a dynamic transformation.
City Mechanics director Daniel Lim mentioned the main target is on upgrading buildings and making a bustling hub for work because the city regeneration effort just isn’t merely about aesthetics; it’s a rethinking of how this house might be utilised.
“This hub additionally capsulises the encircling space, so it’s not concerning the shophouse per se,” he mentioned.
From the architectural transformation of former store lot homes to the creation of a pocket park — a small indoor inexperienced house for public use that promotes inclusivity — the world is changing into a melting pot of general-national companies, new shops and vibrant sub-communities.
The work hub space is crammed with outlets that obtain grants from Assume Metropolis, comparable to Mingle Block, Rumah Gambus and a bookshop owned by Engku Roestam Alias, known as Riwayat Bookstore.
Engku Roestam talked about that the identify “Riwayat Bookstore”, chosen after closing his first bookstore, “Kedai Buku Titiwangsa”, is impressed by the varied tales held inside every e book. Subsequently, the identify Riwayat Bookstore resonates effectively with this idea.
Working for greater than a 12 months at present location, Engku Roestam shared his expertise managing a bookstore that focuses on promoting Malaysian-themed books and his initiatives after receiving the grant from Assume Metropolis.
His mission is targeted on constructing communities that revolve across the tradition of studying informative books, whereas utilising grants to organise e book occasions and actions.
“We use the grant for brand spanking new e book launching occasions, e book discussions, poetry studying periods, e book festivals and residency, the place we host writers to do their work round Riwayat Bookstore, together with conducting writing workshop lessons,” he mentioned.
Moreover, he remarked on the optimistic facets of the development of HSS Pocket Park, launched on Malaysia Day, Sept 16, 2023, by Ng Tiang Plantation, the constructing’s proprietor.
“It helps with the gross sales and we really feel very grateful as a result of we’re surrounded by ecosystem of outlets across the space comparable to cafes, meals and the Gambus retailer, and it’s (additionally) near the practice station,” he mentioned.
Engku Roestam additionally applauded Assume Metropolis’s efforts to revitalise the empty store tons. “Assume Metropolis noticed that (components of) KL had turn out to be extra lifeless. To make the areas related once more, it has gazetted this location below the KLCCD,” he mentioned.
Facade Enhancements and City Challenges
Assume Metropolis acknowledges and tackles city challenges head-on, addressing points like broken sidewalks, potholes and the insufficiency of waste administration within the coronary heart of downtown KL.
There are additionally discussions about correct pedestrian crossings to reinforce accessibility by participating with the KL Metropolis Corridor (DBKL). The conservation efforts lengthen to the adaptive re-use of shophouses, drawing inspiration from Penang China Home, by making the perfect of their cultural structure and sustaining the road vista.
“We protect the road vista of the storehomes, sustaining their unique material whereas infusing them with new contents,” mentioned Lim.
Apart from that, collaborations with Prasarana (M) Bhd are additionally initiated to remodel the consumer expertise of the practice transit stations consumer.
Hamdan shared the progress alongside the route in direction of Masjid Jamek.
“There are much more new investments comparable to new espresso shops, amongst others, which function proof of how persons are wanting to see the potential of the world,” he commented.
River of Life Tour
The historic Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad (MJSAS) stands as a testomony to Assume Metropolis’s dedication to preserving cultural heritage.
Past a mere facelift, the organisation is deeply concerned within the rejuvenation of the mosque and its environment.
City Mechanics affiliate Rashidah Kamaluddin shared some insights about Assume Metropolis’s joint effort on this historic landmark.
“This 12 months, Assume Metropolis has been invited by Masjid Jamek’s administration to be a strategic accomplice,” she mentioned.
This strategic partnership has led each events to create a two-step initiative known as the MJSAS Enchancment Plan and Masjid Jamek Enclave Motion Plan.
Enhancing the heritage constructing, nevertheless, comes with complete normal working procedures (SOPs).
“Step one is at all times to grasp the repute of the constructing itself, and solely then can we all know what sort of enchancment might be completed,” she mentioned.
Afterward, it must assess the present situation and landscaping of the constructing, decide areas to put wayfinding indicators and emphasise the interpretation of the constructing. Assume Metropolis goals to spotlight the historical past, tradition, faith and significance of the mosque in the course of KL.
The plans embrace not solely architectural assessments but in addition complete enchancment methods for the whole MJSAS enclave.
“This goes past the compound of the mosque; we’re trying in direction of the entire space, as effectively,” she added.
The areas throughout the MJSAS enclave motion plan embrace the encircling of Jalan Benteng, Jalan Melaka and Jalan Melayu.
Rashidah mentioned by elevating the Mild Speedy Transit (LRT) as an entry level to downtown KL, Assume Metropolis goals to reinforce public transport through collaboration with DBKL.
Alongside the River of Life, the pathway connects to the Masjid Jamek Pedestrian Bridge, providing a panoramic view of each the Gombak and Klang Rivers, given its location on the confluence of those two waterways.
Lim elaborated extra on community-building efforts completed by Assume Metropolis, comparable to Pentas Seni, a month-to-month cultural occasion in Dataran Merdeka, which exemplifies Assume Metropolis’s dedication to selling cultural heritage. The initiative additionally serves as a platform for content material creation.
He mentioned the federal government has given a mandate to have a look at the entire space, so Assume Metropolis is creating the Dataran Merdeka heritage precinct plan which is to have a look at the connection to Carcosa Seri Negara, Masjid Negara, Muzium Negara, the railway, all the best way to KL Sentral.
“It’s a lengthy hall, however we are attempting to go precinct by precinct to attain that as effectively,” he added.
Because the River of Life pathway unfolds, it connects Masjid Jamek and Pasar Seni, showcasing numerous cultural heritage websites and the continuing enchancment of Central Market.
Revival of Central Market
Central Market, now a thriving cultural arts hub, is a testomony to Assume Metropolis’s dedication to revitalising public areas.
Its restoration efforts lengthen past heritage websites to neighborhood areas like Lorong Bandar 11, which was previously occupied by homeless individuals, drug addicts and vandalism actions.
Collaborative initiatives with neighborhood efforts are completed to uplift the world and help the homeless inhabitants.
From the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple’s facade restoration to the adaptive reuse of Else Lodge as a pop-up exhibition house, Assume Metropolis showcases the facility of integration and adaptation.
Constructing a Sustainable Future
Assume Metropolis, in response to local weather change, has launched progressive options.
The Arts on the Transfer (AoTM) initiative not solely connects tradition and transit, but in addition fosters environmental consciousness by means of artwork installations.
AoTM is the results of the collaboration with Prasarana and supported by Yayasan Hasanah.
Its 2023 version is presently anchored at mass fast transit (MRT) Pasar Seni, showcasing 4 artwork installations named Oculus, Prism, The Forest and Sunnyside Up.
With every bit of artwork conveying its messages to be interpreted by MRT commuters, Assume Metropolis hopes that this effort might encourage extra individuals to stroll whereas having fun with the great thing about the artwork installations.
Assume Metropolis manufacturers and communications govt Nisshanthan Dhanapalan mentioned it has a database known as The Atlas of Local weather Resilient Tree Species (ACResT), which highlights the significance of resorting to nature-based options by planting timber immune to pure disasters.
“We purpose for it to be a platform for metropolis councils to make use of and to plant timber which are warmth and flood-resistant,” he mentioned.
Nisshanthan added that it’s working carefully with Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) communities, including that its Kita-untuk-Kita (K2K) programme, which is backed by a authorities fund of RM35 million in 2023, is created to handle social fairness points across the space.
This programme focuses on enhancing vitamin, growing job alternatives and enhancing total neighborhood wellbeing, with a selected emphasis on Individuals’s Housing Programme (PPR) communities.
“At present, there may be numerous cultural mapping, numerous work on establishing a baseline earlier than any interventions happen,” he mentioned.
The tour ended with a efficiency by Sean Ghazi, Ida Mariana, and their Retro Glam Malaysian band, Tarakucha!, at MRT Pasar Seni.
The ensemble wore outfits from Batik Boutique, which is one in every of Assume Metropolis’s grantees. The Batik Boutique showcases Malaysia’s cultural trend, elevating it to new heights whereas empowering artisans from marginalised communities to provide honest trend, residence items and equipment constructed from traditional batik material.
Proprietor Amy Blair mentioned she needed to broaden batik manufacturing whereas competing with different gamers within the trade, as a few of them promote non-authentic batik by utilizing machines to digitally print the designs on clothes.
“We needed to open our personal manufacturing home for batik, and this was when Assume Metropolis got here into the image,” she mentioned.
She introduced in youthful individuals who studied about batik in universities, who wish to preserve the tradition alive and thriving for the subsequent generations, specializing in employment for the marginalised inhabitants residing in poverty.
“Our undertaking goals to broaden our batik manufacturing in-house and practice at the very least 10 batik artists,” she added.
Blair added that 5 out of 11 batik artists below its coaching programme are actually working as workers for the boutique, which displays the potential to create extra job alternatives.
Batik Boutique can also be utilizing the grant to host free occasions to coach the plenty about batik by inviting potential company shoppers to take part in batik manufacturing workshops.
Because the immersive tour with Assume Metropolis absolutely unfolded, it grew to become obvious that the organisation just isn’t merely remodeling bodily areas however nurturing a imaginative and prescient for a dynamic and resilient KL.
It echoed a story of transformation, inclusivity and sustainability, serving as an inspiration for cities globally, a blueprint for these searching for to marry the richness of their previous with the promise of a resilient and vibrant future.
- This text first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print version