Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Think City extended their memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to promote and develop downtown Kuala Lumpur as a creative and cultural district.
Covering a three-year period (2018-2021), the MoU will see the implementation of various initiatives and joint projects involving planning, conservation, public realm improvement, space activation and capacity building.
Think City's collaboration with DBKL dates back to 2015, where both parties established a series of space activation projects culminating in the 2018 World Urban Forum. In that period, 10 events were organised attracting a total of more than 50,000 visitors making Downtown KL a focus for cultural activities.
In the last two years, Think City has been working closely with DBKL's Planning, Building and Landscape Department to improve the public realm. Both parties work with the private sector and local communities to catalyse community focused urban regeneration.
All these projects are based on the 2015 MOU's focus on "placemaking", which builds upon local community knowledge, aspirations and ideas to create public spaces that promote a more liveable city. Think City also supports DBKL's KUL Design Month, a flagship initiative to advocate for Kuala Lumpur as a cultural and creative city.
Kuala Lumpur Mayor, Dato' Nor Hisham bin Ahmad Dahlan, said even though DBKL and Think City have been working together on a number of projects since 2015, this MoU represents a new and deeper commitment towards strengthening the technical cooperation between both parties.
"We believe this agreement is the ideal expression of our mutual desire to enhance the vibrancy and liveability of Kuala Lumpur through functional and creative spaces. DBKL is happy to work with Think City as they have a long and positive track record in developing programmes and conservation in George Town, Butterworth and more recently, Johor Bahru," he said.
For Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Think City's managing director, the MoU was a significant milestone for Think City in recognising its efforts in the field of culture based urban regeneration.
"A great example of this form of collaboration is the launch of our Guide For Public Art Projects that outlines how artists are commissioned, the types of art that would be of interest to the public, parameters where such art will have the best possible visibility, and how artists, DBKL and the community can have more fruitful dialogues," he said.
The MoU was exchanged at a ceremony in conjunction with the completion of upgrading works for Lorong Bandar 13 as well as the unveiling of a demonstration laneway improvement programme at Lorong Sisi Jalan Yap Ah Loy (please see fact sheet for details). Improvements to pedestrian access, drainage and lighting at this lane was based on a consultative design process with local businesses and communities.
Hamdan said that community engagement was the cornerstone of the many programmes that both Think City and DBKL have worked on.
"Only by working together with corporate bodies, local councils, placemaking actors and local communities can we gain a deeper appreciation of what the community needs and wants.
"This partnership with DBKL forms the basis to 'crowd in' support from community partners and also the corporate sector. We would like to thank Citi Foundation, our first major corporate supporter of our public space activation projects and now for our social inclusion programme."
"The partnership with DBKL is based on a common purpose to drive urban transformation. Together we can ensure that Downtown KL will become the country's vibrant creative and cultural district, attracting new investments in the creative industries as well as a higher value of tourism. The foundation of which is our built heritage, vibrant public spaces and policies that promote diversity and inclusiveness."