Nine laneways within the historic core of Kuala Lumpur have been identified to be a part of an upgrading programme.
A collaboration between Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Think City, the main goal of the laneway improvement programme is to create safe, clean, functional and attractive laneways primarily for the benefit of local stakeholders and pedestrians.
The selected laneways are Lorong Bandar 13, Lorong Lebuh Ampang, Lorong Hang Lekiu, Lorong Tun HS Lee South, Lorong Yap Ah Loy, Lorong Pudu, Lorong Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Lorong Hang Kasturi South.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for Lorong Bandar 13, Dr. Neil Khor, Think City's Programme Director for Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru said "the laneways were selected based on the current condition of the space, connectivity and potential to improve existing uses by local stakeholders. This is ultimately to enhance the vibrancy of Kuala Lumpur through functional and creative spaces that facilitates pedestrian traffic, showcases good environmentally friendly practices and deters indecent behaviour through designâ€.
The permanent laneway improvements for Lorong Bandar 13 are expected to be completed in October 2018.
To validate how Kuala Lumpur's laneways can be improved for public use, in September 2017 Think City and DBKL collaborated to create a demonstrative laneway improvement programme at Lorong Bandar 13.
"To kickstart the programme, we initially undertook site observation and analysis as well as data collection with local stakeholders. By understanding the space, its uses and the people patronising it, we gain a deeper appreciation of what the community wantedâ€, said Khor.
Some of the issues identified by the community included random waste disposal, lack of lighting, uneven pavements and potholes as well as illegal parking. The Lorong Bandar 13 laneway was also used by drug addicts and homeless people as a place of refuge.
On September 3, 2017, Think City and DBKL led community stakeholders such as Alam Flora, Sin Sze Ya Temple, Citi Foundation, Geographer CafÃ©, Arenaa Star Hotel, Kopitiam Premium Bandar and Restoran Loong Huang in a gotong royong to kick start the improvement programme at Lorong Bandar 13.
A community engagement programme took place a week later to source for solutions and several were implemented, including fixed window periods for loading and unloading, tighter security through CCTV and lighting, repaving the back lane, assigning specific motorcycle bays, adding in street furniture and enhancing greenery through planter boxes.
The community also developed guidelines on how to use and care for the space. Their feedback led to the design brief for the detailed drawings by Linear Vista, the appointed architects for the projects.
Khor said "we discovered some additional areas that need improvement and after further planning, we are now prepared to deliver a permanent solution for Lorong Bandar 13. For the other eight laneways, we will continue to leverage meaningful community engagement to come up with customized solutions, drawing on the feedback and aspirations of local stakeholders for physical upgrading works coupled with social and economic improvementsâ€.
The demonstrative laneway improvement project for Lorong Bandar 13, done in a temporary pop up format, took approximately 6 weeks from concept to completion.