YOUR article, “Heed our town planners” (Citizen Nades, July 9) has touched on a very small section in town planning. Some two years ago I wrote in theSun under Fiabci Monthly Contribution on the development of Greater Kuala Lumpur.
It is never too late to make a survey of the present status and map out the development of Greater KL for the next 30 years. The writer is right in saying that the present development is unplanned and that is the reason why we are facing the problem of traffic jams, water rationing (which will recur) if we do not take stock and plan for the future. We have frequent diggings of the road to install additional utilities as these are not in the plan when a new development is approved.
Developers are the planners and they plan on their piece of land to fit into the existing system. Do you know why there is no gazetted plan of any of our cities or towns? This is because the politicians want to have the liberty to alter and amend at the requirement of the developers.
Many of the great cities in the world were planned in the early 1900 and these cities adhered to the plan and reviewed every five years of the city growth in terms of population, employment opportunity, transport, social needs, housing, water and waste management together with health and power requirement. The security and emergency crisis is part of a larger programme. We really do need to plan or else our development of the Greater KL will be an unliveable city like many of the large cities in India.
We always wonder how Singapore city is growing without the problems that we are facing in KL. I remember as an engineering student I went on a study trip to Singapore in 1965 to view road construction there.
The Urban Renewal Authority had a master plan of Singapore to which they adhered to with revision of their need every five years. The Singapore skyline was already defined then. Their road reserves and MRT reserve were acquired then. That is why when comparing our KL development and Singapore development the stark difference is noted.
I am fortunate to be able to visit Darwin, Australia, and Changchun in northern China and was briefed on the planning of these two cities. A master plan of Darwin for the next 50 years is in place even though they have a current population of 150,000. Changchun a city of 2 million is re-planned for the growth to 10 million over the next 30 years. The whole transport system is planned and under construction. The many public parks of 150-250 acres are already in place. You have to take your hat off to these administrators who have the people’s welfare at heart.
Urbanisation is ever growing and in 2007 the UN reported that 50% of the world’s population of 6.5 billion were living in urban areas and by 2050 the figure will balloon to 80% and 7 billion people are expected to be urban. This is one of the biggest challenges to mankind. There is no way to stop the rural-urban migration.
If like you say we do not plan for the growth we will be in big trouble which will be very costly to repair.
Fiabci Malaysian Chapter will be hosting the 66th Fiabci World Congress in May 2015 with the theme Urbanization: Peril and Opportunity.
Ir Yeow Thit Sang
Fiabci Malaysian Chapter
Master plans key to liveable cities