A city’s form is clearly linked to its identity and people. For downtown KL’s historic zone, this means that changes to historic buildings of the city impact its authenticity and traditional practices. As Greater KL is rapidly developing, long-term residents in the historic zone struggle as traditional businesses are driven out. This contributes to population loss and a hollowing-out of the area. Additional difficulties such as poor conservation and low local support also act to reduce KL’s vibrancy.
Recognising this, Think City and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) and Jabatan Warisan Negara collaborated on a proposed KL Creative and Cultural District (KLCCD) Strategic Master Plan (SMP). KLCCD’s vision is to create inclusive, creative, and viable cultural places within the existing historic structure of the area to enhance liveability and visitor attraction.
Covering an area just over 100 hectares, KLCCD extends from Little India (north) to the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (south), and from Dataran Merdeka (west) to Bukit Nanas schools (east). With many important sites under threat, there is an urgent need to develop a framework for future growth.
The master plan proposes several strategies to realise the KLCCD vision. These include: changing conservation standards, investing in new and creative industries, repopulating the area, public realm improvements, and creating a governance framework. Even though worldwide trends in rejuvenating dying-out city centres have seen mixed success, Think City hopes its holistic approach will facilitate significant social and economic benefits for downtown KL.