KUALA LUMPUR: The rapid urbanisation of our cities certainly requires a range of city stakeholders to occasionally pause to take stock of what has been achieved so far while keeping one eye towards the future.
With one of the highest urbanisation rates in Asia, Malaysia is certainly a worthy subject of study by urbanists, given its ranking of 54 out of 194 countries surveyed recently, where its urbanisation was rated at 77.2%, with room to grow to 88% by 2050.
For citizens and planners alike, increasing urbanisation brings with it a host of challenges, such as environmental degradation, rising inequality, unsatisfactory public hygiene, other than governance structures resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes caused by overlaps or gaps.
This year is a good time to look at where Malaysia is now, and more so since this is the 100th year since formal town planning was introduced to then Malaya. For history buffs, Charles Compton Reade was appointed the first Government Town Planner for the Federated Malay States in 1921.
Relooking Town Planning
Modern town planning is no mere feat, given the large number of stakeholders involved in city planning, design, development and management. For example, there are multiple government agencies working on smart cities, with each city or municipality having different priorities, budgets, and capabilities.
To bring everyone closer to the same page, the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and Nextdor Property Communications, together with the support of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT), PLANMalaysia (Federal Department of Town and Country Planning), and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) will jointly present and celebrate our past, recognise current challenges facing our cities and prepare for the future at City Expo Malaysia 2021.
It is an expo that will draw attention to the importance of best city planning and give our visitors and exhibitors the platform to share ideas and solutions to solve the most pressing issues facing our cities to showcase good planning practices and solutions for sustainable development.
As a fully online event with a single entry point, CEM 2021 will bring together multiple stakeholders to share ideas and solutions for city challenges in the first and largest virtual expo on town planning and development in Malaysia.
The virtual event activities will be month-long, starting from the World Town Planning Day on Nov 8, followed by five days of talks and conferences.
This packed programme includes events such as the National Planning Congress, Young Planners Forum, Commonwealth Association of Planners Awards, Placemaker Awards Asean 2021, and Mayor’s Forum.
Open to entire world
According to MIP president Datin Noraida Saludin, everyone can join in a meaningful way through a public exhibition that seeks to educate and inform Malaysians and a wider global audience on the importance of town planning and development.
“This inaugural event is timely as we hope to draw the public’s attention to the importance of good town planning and its impact on urban development, the progress we have made through the years since 1921 as well as the challenges confronting our cities today and what we can expect in the future,” said Noraida.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, while affecting lives and livelihood, has also impacted cities and has caused many to rethink the usage of urban spaces in future planning and development,” added Imran Clyde, director of Nextdor Property Communications, the co-organiser of CEM 2021.
On a deeper level, as the first locally organised expo on town planning and development, CEM 2021 provides an opportunity for participants from Malaysia and the world to share their concerns and ideas and engage with stakeholders across various industries related to our cities.
The expo comprises 16 urbanism themes, namely Smart City, Compact City, Walkable City, People Orientated City, Transit-Oriented Development, Green City, Healthy City, Liveable City, Dynamic City, Smart/Green Mobility, Low Carbon City, Eco City, Resilient City, Smart/Green Infrastructure, Mixed-Use Development, and Placemaking. These themes are currently being adopted in various forms or styles by city managers across the country. This is the ideal space to explain what these concepts are and how they impact our citizens and businesses.
“The exhibition component showcases solutions, be it from a technological perspective or otherwise, related to sustainable urban development and new urban concepts in line with the New Urban Agenda and the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning,” said Noraida.
The exhibition, themed 100 Years Advancing Our Cities, explores current policies and issues in urban planning and large-scale urbanisation, infrastructure development, and strategies to address rapid urbanisation without neglecting the preservation of heritage and culture.
Call for participation
These include an international conference which will see participation from leading professionals from a cross-section of professions related to urban management and development from both the public and private sectors from Malaysia and the region, said Clyde.
The invitation to participate is open to government agencies, private corporations, urbanists, developers, technology companies, and not-for-profit organisations to procure virtual booths at CEM 2021 to share how their products, services, ideas and solutions can contribute to better cities for all.
“In this spirit, we call on companies to come on board and showcase their solutions on urban development against the backdrop of presentations that will look at best practices, inclusivity and sustainable development to improve the resilience of our cities,” Clyde added.
Further details of the event are obtainable at www.cityexpomalaysia.com.