Social Resilience

In Malaysia, over 80% of the population live in urban areas. However, the city does not benefit all – with many left behind, excluded or falling into poverty. These vulnerable communities include the estimated 3 million people who are living in social housing, with over 5,000 homeless people in our cities, migrant workers congregating in underutilised downtown areas, and more. Covid-19 has exacerbated and highlighted the vulnerabilities of these communities.

Inclusive and diverse cities are also more resilient cities and therefore have been key drivers for Think City’s resilience work via two dedicated programmes: public housing and safe communities.

Although the issues are complex, these two workstreams complement each other to tackle the multidimensional aspects of poverty, including amenity upgrades, employment initiatives, digital solutions, advocacy and knowledge sharing. Think City’s data-driven and participatory approaches for excluded communities are constantly being refined and packaged for adoption on a wider scale so that Malaysian cities can be welcoming and inclusive to all.



Climate Resilience

Our climate resilience work centres on nature-based solutions to combat the effects of climate change such as flash floods or the Urban Heat Island effect, referring to urban or metropolitan areas which experience significantly warmer temperatures than surrounding rural areas due to human activities. 

Examples of solutions include greening to reduce temperature or improve air quality and plant-based methods of increasing water catchment to alleviate flooding.

The team has developed a Climate Adaptation Plan in collaboration with the Penang City Council in Malaysia, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage and UN-Habitat, to deal with effects of climate change on the island of Penang. The programme won the award for the best climate solutions plan in a global competition organised by European organisation, Climate-KIC in January 2020. 

Our work also covers education and advocacy on climate change, including the introduction of the first ever Climate Action Week in Malaysia and an annual Earth Week, a virtual calendar of events in celebration of Earth Day, with webinars, talks and film screenings.


Social Inclusion Projects


Environment & Climate Change Projects

Public Housing

The living conditions of the urban poor in public housing are declining, transforming housing blocks into vertical slums while the Covid-19 pandemic has made situations worse. Despite poverty reductions of over 90% over the past two decades, there are still almost 3 million people living in 4500 housing schemes nationwide. The current situation persists because of increasing costs of living, reduced standards of living, deteriorating amenities and weak management systems.

Think City’s public housing programme provides solutions with a three-pronged approach of systemic interventions in public housing, development of impact measurement tools, research on public housing and advocacy for policy change. Public housing solutions are tailored to specific needs and for maximum impact.

Safe Communities

Safety and feeling safe are basic human needs and key aspects of liveability and resilience. They are also deciding criteria for people to visit, work, or stay in an area; an important consideration in any rejuvenation effort. Think City’s research shows that over 60% of workers, visitors and residents in downtown KL were concerned about safety while only 25% felt safe at night. Similar sentiments are expressed in other urban areas and inform our three focus areas: safety for vulnerable communities (such as migrants or homeless people) women in cities and urban health.

Improving safety, safety perception and wellbeing makes cities more inclusive, diverse and healthy leading to stronger social resilience. Our programme includes research and advocacy, engagement and public outreach while our participatory approach is designed to ensure measurable and significant impacts at the community level.

Some of Our Resilience Projects