BY Pavither Sidhu
The annual International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities (WCSC) has had an influential impact in shifting public perceptions to projects such as the Kuala Lumpur River of Life, the Curitiba experience in transforming the city’s buses and MRT, and pedestrianisation projects that include covered walkway systems.
This year, the 8th international conference will be held on Sept 8 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in KL with the theme “City Spaces, Public Places”. Its objective is to increase public spaces in the city of KL through alternate initiatives such as private-public partnerships that collaborate with and engages residents and end-users.
The line-up this year includes four eminent speakers from the United States, Australia, Shanghai and Singapore who will share their experiences on bringing vibrancy to their city’s public spaces. They are New York City commissioner Mitchell Silver, Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority chief executive officer Ng Lang, Melbourne City urban sustainability manager Ian Shears and a representative from Shanghai Gensler Architects.
WCSC organising chairman and Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) KL Branch secretary Chan Kin Meng said WCSC has attracted over 600 participants locally and from overseas every year since its inception in 2009.
Chan noted that WCSC can be an aspirational platform for city planners, developers, researchers, resident associations, students and academicians from urban planning and development, government agencies and private companies as the discussion topics could inspire new ideas which may lead to infrastructure developments that benefit the city.
Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) president Md Nazri Mohd Noordin said well-planned public spaces can improve public safety and create vibrancy, which can in turn attract local and foreign investors to Malaysia as safety levels are one of their main concerns.
In conjunction with WCSC 2016, photography and essay writing competitions based on the theme were launched to invite students and the public to share their thoughts of the city.
Meanwhile, there will also be a Young People’s Lab activity which engages youths to plan and design their dream city; and master level classes for smaller groups who are interested in learning more about city planning.
Endorsed and supported by KL City Hall, WCSC is jointly organised by Rehda, MIP and Malaysian Institute of Architects.