Repurposed old buildings can help meet the challenge of bringing people back to live in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
For several decades, downtown Kuala Lumpur and its historic core has been hollowing out, with citizens commuting to work, but leaving the city to return to their homes in the suburbs.
According to a baseline study conducted by Think City, a community-based urban regeneration organisation, close to 55,000 people works within Kuala Lumpur’s historic core. However, only about 11,000 live there—a large percentage of who are migrant workers. This affects the balance of activities, communities and commerce within this core. Through working closely with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), we have discovered a number of issues affecting the vibrancy of downtown Kuala Lumpur. We have been conducting studies and a number of place making programmes to improve the accessibility and liveability of this core downtown area, focusing on the 1-kilometre radius surrounding Masjid Jamek. However, the issue remains that this area becomes deserted after business hours, and there is an imbalance in the types of communities that populate downtown Kuala Lumpur after dark.
At the same time, it has come to our attention that there are a number of commercial buildings in the area that are unoccupied. So, taking these factors into consideration, and with further research, DBKL and Think City, together with our project advisor Ng Seksan, have come up with a concept that could potentially address the issue of bringing people back to live in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
We need to find a solution to potentially create a different kind of life for those who commute to the city every day.