31 July 2019

Discovery Cafe: Revitalisation of Klang Historic Core

Discovery Café 4.0: Revitalisation of Klang Historic Core: Challenges & Opportunities 

Klang: History Renewed

The Royal Town of Klang, once prided itself as the principal port of the state of Selangor. Besides that, Klang was the gateway to the Malayan peninsula as well as major agricultural centre. However, the historic core of Klang has gone through a major economic and demographic decline in recent decades. With a significant percentage of buildings in the area being vacant and run down, it’s common to see dilapidated buildings with poor walkability. The Klang Chamber of Commerce initiated the Klang City Rejuvenation project in 2017 to bring back the livability of Klang. Their main objective is to restore Klang’s identity and revitalise its economy and sense of place to reflect its history. Community engagement and multidisciplinary efforts are also necessary to ensure the success of urban revitalisation. Therefore, various place making activities and a street prototype for public space revitalisation were initiated and developed to improve the quality and sustainability of public space in downtown Klang. 

Dr. Camelia hopes that through this research, Malaysians would be able to appreciate the beauty of historical towns in Malaysia. Although modernisation is thriving, reflecting back on history would not stop growth. Its merely taking a step back to appreciate our past time.

Speaking at the Discovery Café, Dr. Camelia May Li Kusumo shared her findings on the urban revitalisation of Klang's historic core. With her focus to improve the walkability and quality of public space in Klang, the question solely asked is how do we ensure that streets in Klang historic core are living up to their potential?

Dr. Camelia expanded on her plans and strategies for Klang to reclaim its status as a vibrant and historically important city. Henceforth, the team is creating a The Prototype: Medan Gedung. Through this prototype, there are 4 important factors that they will highlight:

  • Make it recognisable; through creating landmarks and town square
  • Make it walkable; by creating more shaded walkway and plant more greenery for a more comfortable walking climate
  • Make it well connected, intelligible; with connectivity, there will be more networks between the people and the infrastructures.
  • Make it ‘sticky’; by providing behaviour setting for people to stay, rest and play in that designated area. 

The Medan Gedung Prototype was developed as a guide for the researchers to ensure that the progressive development of Klang's waterfront city is living up to their potential. By using this model, the researcher wants to make this place recognisable using landmarks or townsquare. Make it walkable by giving shaded walkaways with greenery for climate comfort. Make it well connected, intelligible and provide a behaviour setting for people to stay: to rest and to play.

Using the Medan Gedung Prototype, Dr. Camelia’s mission is to reclaim the street from cars, humanising the streets and creating pedestrian friendly plaza. By modifying a segment of the historic town, it can re-connect the broken street network and revitalise the kaki lima. Therefore, with every planning, there must be an action plan. The next step in the research is to be working closely to collaborate with Majlis Pebandaran Klang, KCR, state governments, residents, landowners, tenants and shop keeping. Not forgetting the stakeholders’ engagement and public participation as the extension of the project through the whole downtown, Klang is made with the people’s interest in mind and of the liveability of the people in this historic town. 

Dr. Camelia May Li Kusumo
Senior Lecturer: School of Architecture, Building and Design